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Peter Fonda on 3:10 to Yuma

Published September 5, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate
3:10 to Yuma 3:10 to Yuma

Peter Fonda seems like such a tough cookie. He plays bikers and cowboys, but on the set of 3:10 to Yuma, he led a little uprising. In some of the colder night shoots, he voiced his protests to the crew.

Peter Fonda Finds 3:10 to Yuma a Bit Nippy

"We had serious weather problems, very, very cold days, below zero days," said Fonda. "It had its hardships, which also gave us something to play with as actors but I thought I had a lock on it because I took my surf top, you know my surf suit top thinking these fools don't know what it gets to be like in Sante Fe, New Mexico. No chance did that help me at all. My hands were about to drop off, my feet were about to drop off. We had hand warmers. I said this is a joke and I'd bitch at them. I would go, 'Oh, you idiots. Take your North Face downy jackets off. Take your caps off, take those big downy mitts, you'll find how fast you get this shot.' And then it would take them forever loading up a Panavision Camera."

Fonda plays a new character, Byron McElroy, in James Mangold's remake of 3:10. "The original meant a lot to me because I happen to like character driven stories especially dealing with something that's supposed to be shoot them up and kill. This journey gave us a chance to develop character, to discuss each other and to learn and for the audience to get into each other's character. For my character, this is where you come out and learn more about me and Ben Wade and that we have some background together, because my character wasn't in the original film nor in Elmore Leonard's story. This is a way for Ben Wade to play off the same side of a different coin. We're both stone cold killers, but Ben's at the moment in his life thinking, 'What am I doing? This is a journey I might not want to be on.' My character is, 'I'm on this journey for the whole long run. I'm going to get this SOB to Yuma.'"

Preferring motorcycles, Fonda still knows his way around a saddle. "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. That's part of the western, I understand and I embrace that. As I say I can ride like the wind, but if I don't get paid a lot of dough for it, I'm not so sure."

Fonda's father Henry was the real screen cowboy, but Peter did not take much from the family business. "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. And 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. 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."

3:10 to Yuma has a wide release on September 7th.

For the trailer, posters, stills and more movie info, go the 3:10 to Yuma Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate

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