Did you or Jim Mangold come up with any sort of backstory as to why he loves Russell Crowe's character so much?
Ben Foster: “We didn't. We talked around it and I did my own work.”
How was it be back in the saddle and riding and just feeling that cowboy thing?
Peter Fonda: “The cowboy thing? Not a problem for me. The riding, mmm. I can ride like the wind. I can control a horse. I ride motorcycles for a reason. They don't bite when you've not been on them for six months. They don't decide to go green and buck you off. But I have a certain respect for horses.
It's very difficult when we're doing our work on horseback because it's very hard to make a horse hit marks, so you have to be able to hit the mark and if the horse is moving just make that part of that entity. Ben talks about the guns being extensions of his hands and therefore his heart, the horse has to be kind of an extension to the rider, connects the rider to the ground. And that part of the Western, I understand and I embrace that.”
What do you think the relationship is with horses?
Ben Foster: “The relationship? I think it's made me a better actor. Absolutely, yeah, because you can't fake it. You can't lie to a horse. It goes from your head to your knees and if you're nervous, it's in the horse and he goes. So the first month of shooting, there's always going to be an adrenaline rush before doing a scene. There's always going to be a refocusing, and during that refocusing it goes right to the knees. I'd be the one guy on the horse and the horse was like this [moving around and it's hard to look like a bad ass when…'Okay, okay, okay. Calm down. Relax.'
…Russell was really great about this. He spent a lot of time with me off set and on, on horseback just getting used to it and just saying it's got to be from a place of calm. And if you can live in that space, I think the work benefits.”
Peter, your father was in so many iconic Westerns. Did you take anything from looking at those films or anything he told you about being in those films into this one?
Peter Fonda: “He never talked to us. He didn't talk to us about his work especially. The most I got to see him work, really rather than just being on the set, which he didn't really like, was on stage and then I got to see him do his stuff. That's where we, as actors, that's the sex of what we do because we have intercourse with the audience right away. We feel the feedback, that feeds us energy. We get that. When Ben and I are on camera, there's not an audience. We have to find that energy coming out of the people behind the camera and what we found ourselves bringing to the set.”
Ben Foster: “I was f**king you on the date.”
Peter Fonda: “I understand it because after you did that terrible thing to me, you did say to me before we started shooting, 'No, no, put your head up. Get that light in the sun in your eyes. That's great. They really go blue.' How nice. That is so sweet because my eyes do go blue [in the sun]. I like working with this guy. So round it out, 3:10 to Yuma for me was a great chance to get back into doing stuff that's into my heart and that's a Western, an American Western in particular, and so that was a thrill. Ben?”
Ben Foster: “Word.”
Peter Fonda: “Dude, peace out.”
Peter, have they tapped you for another Ghost Rider?
Peter Fonda: “I wish they did. It'd be a hell of a payday for me, huh? This is me moving on except one last question.”
Have you been injured riding motorcycles?
Peter Fonda: “Oh I have been injured with motorcycles twice.”
But you still love it?
Peter Fonda: “Yes. Well, it forces focus. I ride an MV Agusta. This is an Italian racing motorcycle. It forces focus. You have to be focused and in my life, in this business, focus is hard to find sometimes. So I need to force focus and that's great. The bike takes you on a free road. There's no fences on the roads I ride and I don't ride freeways. That's as much as I can tell you because there are more lands waiting for this little Christian boy. That's not true. I'm an atheist, but what the heck.”
Can you quickly talk about your character in 30 Days of Night?
Ben Foster: “Yeah. He's like a Cajun swamp rat who dismantles a town to make room for the vampires.”
Did you have a good time on that?
Ben Foster: “Yeah I love David Slade who directed it. He's an old friend so getting to play with him was a blast. I dug the graphic novel.”
What are you doing now? What are you working on in the foreseeable future?
Ben Foster: “I'm going to Belfast to shoot a film called 50 Dead Men Walking, which is a true story about a kid that got caught between the IRA and the British.”
Do you think that your character will ever come back in any of the X-Men spin-offs?
Ben Foster: “I don't know. I mean, I think it's a very expensive movie to make now with all the celebrities.”
Would you want to come back?
Ben Foster: “If it's a good script and the director knows what he's doing, sure.”