Check out the five movies “in no particular order” Boyd Holbrook chose as his favorite in a new talk with A.frame, as well as how he found his love for acting:
Boyd Holbrook’s dream was to become a basketball player. “I tried to get a basketball scholarship to go to college, and that failed,” he chuckles. Still, he left his hometown of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, to enroll in college in Louisville, though eventually, he dropped out. “I really didn’t know who I was in the world or what I wanted to do with my life,” Holbrook reflects.
He got a summer job working as a carpenter at a theater company back in Prestonsburg, and it was there that he discovered a love of acting. “I really felt like, ‘Man, these are my people,'” he says. “I knew I wasn’t going to work in an office, and I would probably fail at a lot of things. I just felt like, ‘This is my tribe.'”
Holbrook made his film debut with a small role in 2008’s Milk. Since then, he’s been directed by filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh (2013’s Behind The Candelabra), David Fincher (2014’s Gone Girl), and James Mangold (2017’s Logan). When Mangold was hired to helm Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, he enlisted Holbrook to play a villain to Harrison Ford’s hero.
“I’m pretty proud of that,” Holbrook says. “It’s a pretty cool thing to be a part of.” That’s what matters to the actor these days: Finding projects that he can be proud of. “I want it to matter. And I want to do things that my son will be proud of, and it won’t be the sins of his father.” He wants to deliver performances he can take pride in too. As he’s said, he is always striving to give “the perfect performance.”
“And, just to clarify, being sloppy is perfect too, but I feel like I have to set that bar. I haven’t had it yet. There’s not been a film that I’ve done that I feel were like the films that I grew up on. You know, one of the performances that Gene Hackman has given; I’m striving to that. And I think I’m pretty close. I’m really happy with what I’ve done — I don’t mean to make any qualm about it — but I just want everything to come together perfectly.”
Below, Holbrook shares with A.frame five films that inspired him to become the actor he is today. “In no particular order,” he adds.
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Directed by: Michael Mann | Written by: Christopher Crowe and Michael Mann
Last of the Mohicans is one of my all-time favorite films. I’ve seen it hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times. Why? I grew up in Kentucky, in East Appalachia, where the film mostly takes place. The Trail of Tears went through in my area, and there’s a lot of Native American history where I grew up. There’s something about pioneering films and, historically, what happened there. That was a film that really dawned on me the unforgiving nature that human existence can be, and it’s such an authentic expression of that.
Days of Heaven (1978)
Written and Directed by: Terrence Malick
When I started getting into movies, I discovered this film. When you’re in that phase, it’s like really getting into particular types of movies and stuff like that. And this movie is probably the most poetic of all. It’s Terrence Malick’s second movie, with Sam Shepard. It’s the most surreal in its beauty. Again, it is about pioneering the West in a way, but it’s done in a fantastical way that really has adventure in it, and unknown characters that I felt like I’d never seen before.
Directed by: Marc Levin | Written by: Sonja Sohn, Marc Levin, Bonz Malone, Saul Williams, and Richard Stratton
I really didn’t know I wanted to be an actor until I was into my 20s, but this film called Slam, that was the first time that I saw somebody just express themselves. Saul Williams is the main actor and writer, and he was a poet. That was at the time of slam poetry, and Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam was my jam in high school.
I don’t know how a person knows they want to be a doctor — maybe they just feel intelligent — but watching those performances, I just knew, ‘That’s what I’m going to do. That’s who I am. That’s what I have inside me. That’s what must come out of me. That’s how I will relate to people more.’ I really didn’t know that would turn into acting, but that particle of it was being born there.
Directed by: George P. Cosmatos | Written by: Kevin Jarre
I could repeat verbatim that film from start to finish. I was living with my friend in high school, and we watched Tombstone, like Last of the Mohicans, probably in the hundreds of times. These old-time characters, they’re definitively masculine. They’re all rocks. And I just love that. I just love that story. I love the performances, from Val Kilmer, to Kurt Russell, to Billy Bob Thornton. ‘Hanging out with you is like playing cards with my damn sister’s kids.‘
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Directed by: John Schlesinger | Written by: Waldo Salt
I started studying acting at this point, and Dustin Hoffman was becoming my favorite actor. I was noticing like, ‘Wow, this guy is so versatile.’ Like, you see in John Wayne movies and all those where this guy’s doing a one-note thing. And, in comparison, this actor is doing a lot of notes. He’s playing a lot of different styles. [Jon] Voight is in the movie too, and just the stark differences in their characters, I thought, was incredible.
And also the lifestyle, getting turned on to, ‘Wow, that type of thing in the world happens,’ and discovering living in New York at the same time, and waking up to the world of what really goes on out there. But definitely, the performances in that are some of the best ever.