I Directed Peter Fonda in a Western, and It Was a Privilege

IndieWire | 8/17/2019 | Staff
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We asked Jared Moshe, who directed Peter Fonda in the 2017 A24 Western “The Ballad of Lefty Brown,” to share his memories of working with the late actor.

It was our first day of shooting on “The Ballad of Lefty Brown.” The sun had just dipped behind the mountains. As darkness descended, we raced to get our final shot. Despite the rush, the crew was buzzing with excitement. I wish I could say it was because of stunning image or a powerful moment of performance. No. Word had spread that Peter Fonda had landed in Montana.

Actor - Space - History - Cinema - Hand

I can’t think of another actor who occupies such a unique space in the history of cinema. On the one hand, Peter is a counterculture icon. Half of “Easy Rider.” The star of “The Wild Angels.” “The Trip.” On the other hand, he’s Hollywood royalty. Son of Henry. Brother of Jane. Father of Bridget. The man who followed up a landmark, generation-defining film with a Western, “The Hired Hand,” might have been a commercial flop, but today it is regarded as a genre classic, a beautiful, evocative portrait of frontier life. He’s an iconoclast. I wanted him for the role of legendary frontier rancher Edward Johnson because he’s a talented and creative actor. But also because of the history he brought to the role — the connection to an older Hollywood that doesn’t really exist anymore.

Peter and I met for the first time at the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. We sat at a table in the back of the bar. I drank coffee. He sipped water from a Nalgene bottle. Of course, he wore tinted sunglasses. He was a storyteller. He told me the story of his 82-foot sailboat Tatoosh, which he lived on for almost a decade. The story of his love...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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