Ryan Phillippe was down at South By Southwest last weekend to promote “MacGruber,” in which he plays a relatively straight role to Will Forte’s MacGyver-like running joke. While chatting MTV’s Josh Horowitz up with fellow star Kristen Wiig about the film, Phillippe mentioned another project that he’ll soon get started on.
“I think I’m doing a Western in May, with Susan Sarandon, Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Dreyfuss [and] Bruce Dern,” he said. “It’s called ’The Big Valley,’ which was a [television] series in the ’60s, and so it’s sort of based on that.”
Of the director, Phillippe said, “He’s a young guy and this is his first film, so you wouldn’t know him yet.” This is at odds with the movie’s IMDb listing, which as Daniel Adams down as the writer and director of “Big Valley.” While he’s only directed a handful of films, his first was 1989’s “A Fool and His Money,” which featured an early starring role from Sandra Bullock.
The original “Big Valley” was a TV series that ran for four season, from 1965 to 1969. The show starred Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Peter Breck, Linda Evans and Lee Majors. It was set on a ranch loosely based on the real-life Hill Ranch, in California. As IMDB describes the film, “Heath, the illegitimate son of murdered millionaire rancher Tom Barkley, arrives in Stockton, California in 1876 to assert his claim on the Barkley family fortune.”
Josh also asked Phillippe if we’ll ever see him return to daytime television — one of his early roles was a multi-episode run on “One Life to Live” — just as James Franco recently did on “General Hospital.” The actor seems okay with his mantle having been passed to the former “Spider-Man” star.
“I don’t think [I’ll be going back to daytime TV]. I think [Franco] did it, you know, he owned that. I’m gonna let him have it,” Phillippe explained. “Actually, that was my first job. I was 17 years old, and it was kind of the best training you could have in a lot of ways. Getting a new script every day and having to learn it… yeah, it was good training.”