EXCLUSIVE: 'Westworld' Star Luke Hemsworth Finally Gets to Play the Cowboy in 'Hickok'
By Jennifer Drysdale
Luke Hemsworth is finally getting to play the cowboy.
The 36-year-old actor stars in his first leading role in a feature film as the titular character in Hickok. It's a career milestone for the older brother of Chris and Liam Hemsworth, but it seems the allure of the project had less to do with a transition to leading man, and more with childhood dreams left unfulfilled by his character on HBO’s Westworld.
"I never get to play the cowboy with guns in Westworld!" Hemsworth jokingly complains to ET. On the sci-fi drama, the actor plays security guard Ashley Stubbs, who gets to wield a gun but not like the guests living out their Wild West dreams in the park do. "So [Hickok] was a good chance for me to live the boyhood dream of gunslinging."
Hemsworth, who found himself “in limbo” after wrapping the first season of Westworld, says accepting the role as the legendary "Wild Bill" Hickok was an "easy decision" to make. "It came at the right time, and I've always been a fan of Westerns, so to get a chance to play the iconic and famous real-life person was a chance I jumped at," he explains. "[Plus] you've got Kris Kristofferson, Trace Adkins and all these guys."
While Hemsworth was quick to name-drop Adkins, he later admits that coming from Australia, he knew very little about how big a star the 6-foot-6 singer is in the country world. He was impressed, however, by his "incredible" voice.
"We all sound like high-pitched little kids next to him. He would do this thing before the take, he would just drop his voice and rumble," Hemsworth says before performing his best imitation of the literal country giant. "It's beautiful! I could listen to it all day!"
Like Adkins, Hemsworth's foray into American cinema is relatively new. The blue-eyed blond has a collection of Australian TV credits to his name, but shifted his focus to starting a family (he has four children with his wife, Samantha) and a flooring business. He finally made the decision to come to the U.S. at the suggestion of his famous brothers.
"It never really left me," Hemsworth says of the desire to act. "It was a tough journey for my wife and the kids, in terms of leaving all of our support and family back home. But luckily, we had Chris and Liam here at the time. They're both very supportive, and it made it much easier." That includes sending each other scripts. “[But] most of the time, we'll discuss things afterward in terms of what decisions we should've made," he laughs.
Something Hemsworth doesn't discuss with his brothers, however, is Westworld -- but not because he doesn't want to.
"It's easy to keep secrets when you know nothing! That's the nature of the show, and I think that's the strength of the show, is the less people know, the better," he says while admitting it’s not always easy on the actors, “But, hey, at least we can't give anything away.”
That even extends to Samantha. “I made sure to keep my wife in the dark so that she could experience it as it unfolded on the TV," he reveals. "She loved it! She's a tough cookie to crack, so we did something right.”
As for what happened to his character, Stubbs, who was mysteriously lured into the park in season one and never seen again, Hemsworth says we'll find out when he starts shooting season two later this month.
“I actually have no idea [what happened to Stubbs]," he confesses. "I am under the same black veil, this veil of secrecy that we've had straight from the beginning. I know nothing: where he is, what he's doing... I'm sure he's living the good life out there, doing a little bit of Dances With Wolves, but who knows!”
Watch an exclusive clip from Hickok, which is in theaters on July 7, below: