In an interview for CBR.com, Boyd talked about playing Ty Shaw, what surprised him and being directed by B.J. Novak. Read the full interview below:
B.J. Novak’s new film Vengeance, for which he served as the director, writer, and star, follows a New York City-based writer as he makes the journey to rural Texas to pay tribute to an ex-hookup who has passed away. While there, though, he meets her brother Ty, played by Boyd Holbrook (The Sandman) with a mix of Texan charm and earnest naïveté.
As the film quietly peels back the layers of the seemingly one-note Texan family, Ty proves to be one of Blumhouse Productions Vengeance’s secret weapons, with Hollbrook’s sweet-natured performance highlighting how good intentions don’t always end in good results. During an exclusive interview with CBR ahead of Vengeance’s theatrical premiere on July 29, Boyd Holbrook delved into what makes his character Ty tick, what stood out about working with B.J. Novak on the project, and what surprised him the most about the character across the production of the film.
CBR: Ty means so well in the film — he’s trying to do right by his sister and trying to watch over his family. He’s got such bravado, he’s a little rash, and he wears his emotions on his sleeves. What was it like to bring that “Don’t Mess With Texas” energy to the big screen?
Boyd Holbrook: Yeah, I think B.J. had written a really complex and beautiful character with Ty. It definitely was something that I hadn’t had the privilege to play yet. It was really refreshing to come to a character that was so vulnerable, so selfless for his family, and really putting himself in the backseat to make his family the priority because he has taken on the role of the patriarch and his family. He just really, as you said, he means so well in his naïveté to find out what’s happened to his sister.
You get a lot of one-on-one time with B.J.’s Ben in the film, but he’s the director of the film. Did that have any kind of impact on the experience of filming?
Sometimes, when you are working on a film, there are so many cooks in the kitchen, so to say. With this, knowing that B.J. conceptualized the story from scratch, he was going to be producing this story, he was going to be the lead actor in the story, and on top of that, he was also going to be directing this story, I knew that there would undoubtedly be a singular voice telling the story. So with that, there is more of a guarantee, I guess you could say, that this story would be authentic as the script that he had written.
Over the course of production, what would you say surprised you the most about Ty as a character?
Well, a lot of actors will probably tell you that they have everything figured out before they go in. You really do try to, but really, the beautiful process of making a film is that you do get to physically understand those moments throughout shooting the script, throughout the process of developing the character, because you can rehearse him and prep as much as you like, but there’s nothing like the physical causation on the day, in the moment, and finding that out. It just was an overwhelming confirmation, over and over again, of [Ty’s] selflessness and his willingness to lay himself on the line for his family. That was surprising to me, how never once was there a different motivation for the character.