How ‘Billy the Kid’ star Tom Blyth played a ‘charismatic killer’

Tom Blyth, who stars within the Epix origin-story sequence “Billy the Child,” is British — however he knew all concerning the well-known Wild West outlaw/gunslinger earlier than touchdown the position.

“I used to be a giant Western fan rising up. I knew his legend, I had seen his image. I knew him as an iconic identify. However I hadn’t performed deep studying,” stated Blyth, 27, who’s primarily based in Brooklyn.

“Billy the Child,” premiering Sunday (April 24) on Epix, was created by Michael Hirst (“Vikings“). It’s an journey sequence set principally within the 1870s and depicts a dramatized model of Billy’s life, ranging from his humble roots because the son of Irish immigrants dwelling in New York who determine to seek for extra alternatives out West. 

“Whenever you get informed you’re enjoying this historic character, you type of really feel a accountability to do proper by them and inform their complete reality,” stated Blyth, who’s additionally identified for HBO’s “The Gilded Age.”

Tom Blyth as Billy the Child in “Billy the Child.”
Chris Massive/Epix
Tom Blyth sits out in a pasture looking pensive.
Billy the Child “Tom Blyth” isn’t only a killer on the Epix sequence about his life.
Chris Massive/Epix

“However for somebody like Billy, there’s no video footage of him, no recordings, I can’t go and be taught his voice. However what I can do is learn as a lot about him as I can, after which interpret and construct one thing from the bottom up as he speaks to me from past the grave, so to talk.”  

Within the sequence, Billy’s household finds that life out West isn’t the land of alternative because it was marketed to them in New York. Billy endures years of hardships, together with dropping his household to consumption after grueling work for low pay and harsh dwelling situations. 

“A lot of who we expect he’s relies on him being an outlaw and a killer,” stated Blyth. “However within the script, he’s a fully-formed human being who performs music and is a flirt and a charismatic particular person. I used to be like, ‘I believed he was this rugged outlaw?’ However, you dig deeper into historical past, and all of the accounts of him describe him as a mess of issues, in addition to being a killer, finally. However he began out as a younger boy who was raised by an excellent girl with unbelievable values, at a time when it was onerous to be morally sound, as a result of most individuals had been simply preventing for his or her survival.” 

Billy (Tom Blyth) in jail in "Billy the Kid."
Billy (Tom Blyth) earlier than one in every of his many escapes from jail in “Billy the Child.”
Chris Massive/Epix
Tom Blyth riding a horse.
Tom Blyth as Billy on horeseback in “Billy the Child.”
Chris Massive/Epix

Billy (who reportedly killed at the least eight folks, escaped from jail a number of instances, and was fatally shot at age 21 in 1881) liked his religious Catholic mom, Kathleen McCarty (Eileen O’Higgins). On the present, circumstances push him to show away from a lawful life; as he encounters corrupt authorities, he sees that attempting to make an trustworthy dwelling sends the remainder of his household into distress and early graves, and he befriends the robber and gang chief Jesse Evans (Daniel Webber, “The Punisher”).

“I had two weeks of quarantine once I first acquired to Calgary [where the series was filmed], so I spent that point with a apply pistol on Zoom with my stunt double, working towards [drawing and twirling the gun],” Blyth stated. “On set, you need to have the ability to not give it some thought and simply pull it out, prefer it’s second nature.

“However the fantastic thing about it’s that within the present, we see Billy studying these abilities in actual time. We get to see him rising as an individual and as an outlaw, and I acquired to develop with him. As I used to be studying to twirl the gun, Billy was studying to twirl the gun. As I used to be studying to experience [horses], Billy was studying to experience. It provides it this grittiness and authenticity.”

Tom Blyth riding a horse through a field.
Tom Blyth realized to experience horses for his starring position in “Billy the Child.”
Chris Massive/Epix

Along with studying historical past books, Blyth stated he additionally took a street journey to New Mexico and Arizona, visiting areas that had been a part of Billy’s life, together with Silver Metropolis and Fort Sumner.

“I simply tried to stroll in his footsteps as finest I may,” he stated. “As a lot as I informed myself it was about analysis, I believe a bit a part of that for me was really nearly like asking permission from his spirit, his legend, his fable – no matter you need to name it. Simply type of saying, ‘Okay, I’m doing this.’ It was a pilgrimage, nearly — to cement that I used to be honoring him, and to make it tangible.”

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