Shane has always been a favorite of mine. I especially enjoy the way Ben Johnson played that bad guy who got redeemed.
I liked making the 1991 movie Conager because I learned how to drive a six-up stagecoach. The producers thought I knew how, but I had to learn in about three days. The stunt coordinator R.L. Tolbert taught me. He must have done a good job, ’cause I didn’t wreck anything.
My mama always told me to mind your own business and don’t get a big head. She was a West Texas girl. One of her least favorite things in the world was the movie Giant, because she said it made West Texans into a bunch of hedonistic idiots.
I still do “Charlie Goodnight’s Last Night.” It takes place on the night that he dies. Andy Wilkinson wrote the play, and I’ve been performing it since 1998. The first time I did it was at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. It’s me, playin’ Charlie Goodnight at 93. I’m pretty much sitting in a rockin’ chair until I die, then I become young again. Charlie was a rough talkin’ ol’ boy. The play starts out kind of rough and then moves toward poetry, until it’s practically Shakespeare at the end. But don’t be put off by that, because you’ll understand this.
I’ve written a play called “Sucker Rod Smith & the Cisco Kid.” It’s been done in L.A. I got that name from the rod that goes down the middle of a windmill that draws the water out of the ground.
I just finished reading Empire of the Summer Noon (history of the Comanche civilization). Those kinds of things are timeless and equate to what is happening now. You’ve got the frontier raiders, the Comanches. Now you’ve got the drug dealers on the border, and they’re just as dangerous as the Comanche ever was. The world don’t change much.
My grandfather had a subscription to True West, and I read it faithfully. In fact, I had an apartment in New York that was covered with images from True West. I put them on the walls in the kitchen, and, I’ve got to say, that magazine got me through living in New York City.
The most fun I’ve ever had was training and riding cutting horses in the eighties and nineties. My old horse died in November, and I’ve been horseless now for the first time in 30 years.
I’ve been tryin’ to get Elmer Kelton’s The Time It Rained made into a movie, but I can’t get anybody to make it. I believe it would have an audience. But it’s always an uphill battle.
I did this movie, The Man Who Loved Women. I played an oil man married to Kim Basinger, who was sleeping with Burt Reynolds’ character. I took my dad to see the movie. Afterwards we went home, and he never said anything. He turned on the TV and was watchin’ it, and I finally asked him what he thought of the movie. He said, “You were good, as always. But for the rest of it, I’d just as soon sat on the top rail of a bleedin’ pen for two hours. At least I wouldn’t have been embarrassed by my own species behavin’ that a way.”
The most underrated place in the West, scenery wise, is the Big Bend Country of Texas. It’s remote, but, cinematically, it’s about the best. It rivals Monument Valley for scope and vista.
Barry Corbin, Actor
Premiering this year at the Sedona Film Festival in Arizona, the drama Sedona stars Barry Corbin as the garage mechanic Les. You best know the actor for his role as the uncle of John Travolta’s character in Urban Cowboy, July Johnson’s deputy in Lonesome Dove, Ellis in No Country for Old Men and Clay Johnson in TNT’s The Closer. Corbin currently resides with his daughter Shannon on a cattle ranch near Fort Worth, Texas.