The adventures of Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire and his friends and family comes to the end of the trail with Longmire’s sixth and final season, launching on Netflix Friday, November 17.
In a phone interview, while he was driving around and exploring California, Australian actor Robert Taylor, who plays the title character, reflected with TV Insider on his time in this modern-day Western, which began life on A&E in 2012 before Netflix picked up the revival in 2014. Taylor also discussed why he felt at home on the range, and how we might yet be able to see Walt again on our screens someday.
Are you sorry to say goodbye to Walt Longmire?
Robert Taylor: Sorry? Yeah, but it hasn’t sunk in yet. I guess when we get to March, when we are usually heading back to Santa Fe to get the band back together, that will be weird. I love this show so much, and I love the people I work with. But you never know, you never say never. There have been formal talks about doing some Longmire movies; I know that all of us would like to do it.
That’s great news for your fans. Do you feel like an honorary American cowboy now, with sagebrush in your veins?
I would be very honored to think that, and I guess I do. Growing up in Australia, the similarities between the American West and the Outback are amazing. People speak a little differently, but that’s about it. I was so happy when the role showed up. I remember thinking, “Oh, I know how to do this.”
What are some of your favorite Longmire scenes or moments?
I must have done 3,000 scenes, and I found the most affecting and powerful were when ordinary people are trying to survive and do the right thing when circumstances are piling up against them. There is great tragedy in little stories. People look for the big overarching dramatic flourish, and sometimes it is just a quiet guy in a corner. And you want to know, "What’s his story? What has he dealt with?"
What is it about the role that speaks to so many viewers?
People have a hard time putting it into words, which is the perfect description of the character. But there is something that that is deeply felt that resonates with a lot of viewers. It is quietness and reserve, with so much going on internally.
And an innate decency?
There is that. That’s what we did well. We were about the quiet people, and I love that. I wouldn’t do stuff that didn’t seem true. Pretty early on I was left alone to do that. I let everyone know, that I know how to play this guy, and I’m going to do it my way. You can come along for the ride or not, I don’t care. And everybody did.
Let’s talk about the final season. In last season’s finale, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) was kidnapped. Can you set the stage for what happens?
Henry is my best friend, and Walt is the kind of guy who sticks by his friends even if they are annoying him. You know that he is going to go after him, and he does it in a big way.
So this is when Walt finally has it out with Malachi (Graham Greene), the corrupt former tribal police chief who has taken Henry?
Well, you wouldn’t have to be Nostradamus to figure out that there is going to be some kind of confrontation. He and I need to have a discussion. Except for one self-contained episode, everything this season is leading to the same place, ultimately. It’s not just Malachi, but he’s a big part of it.
There’s also another storyline hinted at. We know that your deputy Vic (Katee Sackhoff) is pregnant. Do we know who the father is as the season opens?
Will Walt and Vic finally get together? Walt has tried other girlfriends and that hasn’t worked out.
[Laughs] There were only two! But there’s certainly a long history between Walt and Vic that’s getting harder and harder to ignore.
You used to say that Walt is too old for Vic. Seems that’s changed.
Well, she’s gotten older. [Laughs] Don’t worry; Katee says that, too.
What can you say to fans who want Walt and Vic to give love a chance?
I’ll say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I would tell you everything, but I can’t. But it’s been coming for a long time. I just really like Katee Sackhoff, she’s amazing.
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Is Walt considering hanging up his badge for a quiet retirement?
He’s always been considering that. I think he could walk away and still be the same guy. He doesn’t need reassurance. He just felt like there was a job that needed to be done and wasn’t sure there was anybody else who could do it.
And he doesn’t feel that way anymore?
There may be someone else that’s always been there.
One of your faithful deputies—Vic or Fergie (Adam Bartley)?
Stranger things have happened.
Would he stubbornly stay, though, if some higher-up wants him out?
If he felt that he wasn’t doing the job good anymore he’d be fine with that, but if he found out it was some pencilneck trying to get him out of there, then he would fight like hell.
What’s next for you?
The movie The Meg that I did with Jason Statham should be ready to go in a few months [Note: The film hits U.S. theaters Aug. 10, 2018]. That movie’s going to be huge because everyone likes shark movies, and this shark is like a dinosaur.
Sounds like a crossover between Jaws and Jurassic Park.
That’s exactly what it is. It’s a shark movie, but the shark is as big as four city buses. It’s crazy.
Any U.S. TV possibilities?
I’m having meetings about projects, but there’s not many shows like Longmire.
Longmire Season 6, available Friday, Nov. 17, on Netflix