Longmire’s Bailey Chase Talks Season 3 [INTERVIEW + “Reports of My Death” Preview]
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Season 3 started off with a bang and with every passing week it continues to get more complicated and intriguing.Â We’ve got the central mystery of finding out who really killed Walt Longmire’s wife, which gets even more complicated. As Walt investigates, more suspects come out of the woodwork. We’ve also got Branch’s near-death at the beginning of the season. The number one suspect in this attack – David Ridges – has been presumed dead, but he isn’t and, in fact, killed the one person who could’ve cleared Henry’s name. Mathias, now out of jail on parole, is a thorn in the side of both Henry and Walt. Vic’s dealing with her stalker Ed Gorski, struggling with whether to turn Branch in, the possible breakup of her marriage and some unresolved sexual tension with Walt. Every single character has a lot to lose this season and I couldn’t be enjoying it more.
TV Goodness participated in a press call with Branch Connally’sÂ Bailey Chase. He talked aboutÂ what drew him to the role initially, what’s coming up in his search for Ridges and whether or not he has any sort of future with Cassidy Freeman‘s Cady Longmire.
Before you were cast on the show what was it about the project that made you want to do it?
Bailey Chase: “I really love the story. I originally read for Walt Longmire. He is obviously a very dynamic, strong, manly man that almost any dude would want to play. Once I got in the room and met with everybody the feedback [was], ‘We love Bailey.’ They were familiar with me from Saving Grace but [I]Â just [didn’t] have the age, if you will. Then they brought up the idea of Branch. In the pilot he just wasnâ€™t that interesting, but once they explained the vision I really bought into it. Everything that Walt did, I would try to do the exact opposite. He would talk slow and then I would try to pick up the pace a little bit. He would grow out his beard and his hair and then I would go clean-shaven and get a haircut. He wears baggier clothes, obviously my uniform got a little tighter. So, I just saw him as the anti-Walt but at the same time theyâ€™re both really good guys, just Branch is surrounded by darker influences.”
What’s itÂ like working with Robert Taylor? Is he a lot like the character he plays?
Bailey: “He kind of is. Yes, he is very old school. He is not one that says more than he has to. Heâ€™ll do it with a look or aÂ pause. For me, itâ€™s been great to work across from him. I find myself doing less and less and a really cool thing the DPs and the directors have figured out [is]Â the lens getting tighter and tighter and tighter as Rob and I do less and less. So you never stop learning in this business and itâ€™s been really enjoyable for me to see that and to do less and feel even better after work.”
When did the producers let you know what they had in store for you this season?
Bailey: “We met back in January, just as everyone was getting back from the holidays. They actually had started story boarding back in the fall and at this point had pretty much laid out the first half of the season. Then we put our heads together. [They] wanted to see where I was and what I was thinking. They shared where they were coming from and basically that we would pick up season 3 right where we left off at the end of season 2Â -Â in this precarious state. Then it was more about crafting where Branch is going to go at the end of the season. I was definitely excited because creatively itâ€™s been a pretty eventful ride. Itâ€™s different than anything Iâ€™ve done in my career before.”
What can you tell us about what’s coming up?
Bailey: “I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m allowed to tell you. There is a lot thatâ€™s going to happen between episodes 305 [“Wanted Man”] and 310, a continuation down this path that started in 301 [“The White Warrior.”] Iâ€™m obsessed with finding the guy who shot me, David Ridges. That will continue through the rest of the season.
How far do you think Branch will go to find the truth? He’s already kidnapped someone.
Bailey: “Yes, I think heâ€™ll stop at nothing. He is definitely out there, he just crossed the line and that kidnapping will specifically be dealt with in [“Wanted Man.”]”
I’ve enjoyed the evolution of your relationship with Sheriff Longmire. What’s coming up for the two of you and how will your relationship continue to evolve?
Bailey: “Yes. Where we left off in “[In the Pines,”] it seems like we got to a better place post-election and then I get shot and he literally saves my life. But as I start recovering, Iâ€™m on the mission again to find David Ridges and bring him in. So, youâ€™re starting to see that conflict. Itâ€™s starting to boil and that will continue on.”
Can you expand on your relationship a little bit more this season?
Bailey: “My relationship with Walt in terms of character, it starts out actually in a very sweet place because Branch is obviously in critical condition and Walt just does everything he can at every turn to be there for me, to give me the benefit of the doubt. Iâ€™m obviously hallucinating and suffering from PTSD or whatever else that will come out over the last half of the season. So Branch is just not quite all there, but at every turn Walt gives me the benefit of the doubt until that moment, in [“In the Pines”]Â where enough is enough and thatâ€™s where you will start to see us really go in separate directions and obviously that episode ends with me kidnapping someone. For a cop, obviously thatâ€™s not OK.”
Will there be any major Â repercussions with any of Branch’s relationships as heÂ goes looking for his shooter?
Bailey: “Absolutely. There is cause and effect. Â As you saw at the end of Â [“In the Pines,”] Branch definitely crossed the line and he is going to stay on that path for the remainder of the season. Yes, he is going to suffer some consequences for sure.”
As Branch’s obsession with Ridges unfolds are there characteristics you’ve built on that will help you play this out?
Bailey: “Thatâ€™s a great question. Branch [is] the one major character that was not already established in the books. Our writers had free range to create whatever they wanted. I would say they probably saw something over the course of the first two seasons, in particular the second season – Â that scene out at the driving range [when Cady]Â dumped me and I feel betrayed by Walt. I go all in at that point. I think they probably saw something around that time and then that light bulb went off and they started thinking about Branch in season 3 going in this darker direction.”
Has there been an aspect of your character that’s surprised you?
Bailey: “Yes. Season 3 in particular. When I sat down with the creators of the show back when weâ€™re first starting to do the pilot, Branch was not that interesting on the page. What really sold me on the show and the character was their vision for him. It does take the whole first season to flesh him out. Itâ€™s game on for season 2 with the election. So, I pretty much knew about season 1 and 2 going in. I did not know about season 3. I donâ€™t think they did either. Itâ€™s been very unexpected for me and for them and probably for the audience, but at the same time itâ€™s been a really pleasant surprise because creatively itâ€™s just not very often that youâ€™re given this gift and they trust you to just have fun. Itâ€™s been a really interesting journey. I canâ€™t wait for people to see the back half.”
The evolution of your character feels surprising but also inevitable.
Bailey: “One of our avid fans thatâ€™s on Twitter [said]Â after the last episode how she has really appreciated the evolution of Branch. He was kind of a cardboard cowboy season 1 to this thing that I donâ€™t understand in season 3, but I canâ€™t wait to see whatâ€™s next.”
Branch’s relationship with his father is complicated, to put it mildly. How has it been to work with Gerald McRaney and will we see him again soon?
Bailey: “We do, we do. We actually have a lot. I just wrapped the finale, but McRaney and I had a lot to do, just some really cool stuff with guns out on the shooting range. I canâ€™t say specifically what all we did but it was a lot of fun and he is one of my favorite actors to work with.”
Are Branch and Cady a thing of the past and, if so, are there any other romantic prospects on the horizon for your character?
Bailey: “Itâ€™s one of those [things] thatâ€™s been on the sidelines for this season because sheâ€™s off trying to save Henry and Iâ€™m off trying to find Ridges. But we will have some stuff for the end of the season. As far as other romantic interest for me, no I just donâ€™t have time for that right now.”
How are you hoping your relationship with Cady will evolve this season?
Bailey: “In [“Miss Cheyenne”]Â you have that scene where she is talking to another guy and that doesnâ€™t sit very well with me. Then later on, we finally do catch up for a drink and I write her that check to get Henry out on bail. So, the feelings are absolutely still there. I want to be with Cady but itâ€™s just such a crazy season and she goes off to the left and Iâ€™m off to the right and weâ€™re kind of these two ships in the night. There is just no real time for us to be together until very late in the season. We do finally reunite to basically figure stuff out.”
Can you expand on what’s in store for Henry?
Bailey: “Itâ€™s funny this season. Weâ€™ve never had a lot to do together. So, it was cool last season when Walt was off in the mountains and after I lost the election I went to Henry Standing Bear to go find [him.]Â That was great, they at least have that. But then this season he is off with Cady. Iâ€™m [in]Â my own world.”
What’s been your favorite moment or scene to shoot this season?
Bailey: “It was pretty cool – just a couple of episodes into the season – I start going out on my own. Branch is doing his own thing. In [“In the Pines”] I get out hunting and cut myself and making this fire, that was great. Iâ€™ve been wearing those tight wranglers and boots for three years now. So itâ€™s kind of nice to get out of them for a bit and put on a flannel shirt and cargo and pick up a rifle and just kind of go do my thing. I think thatâ€™s what Branch does in his down time when he is not working, he is out there in the woods, hunting, riding around in his truck.”
What’s been fun for you to film for the show this season?
Bailey: “I love getting on horseback. Weâ€™ve had that in a couple of episodes. Unfortunately we havenâ€™t been able to do it this season, but I would definitely say the rodeo stuff, the stuff I did with McRaney riding up in the mountains, that was a lot of fun for me. McRaney and I got to go out and shoot skeet.. So, it was definitely cool to shoot live rounds and try and act the scene, that was pretty interesting. Then the one other thing that stands out was playing golf in season 1. Thatâ€™s my passion outside of work. I know itâ€™s not something you normally get to do in television if youâ€™re on a sound stage back in L.A. So thatâ€™s [something]Â almost unique to the show that I will always cherish.”
Would you like to see more action sequences for Branch in the future?
Bailey: “Yes, exactly what you said. I would love to see more action sequences. If we could do it on a horse, that would be even better. I love getting out in the elements and shooting and chasing bad guys or trying to find Walt in that episode where he was off in the snow. Thatâ€™s my favorite stuff. So more of that would be great.”
Do you think the show would let you do it or will the stuntmen take those risks?
Bailey: “Weâ€™ve already done it. I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s a way of saving money, but we donâ€™t always have something out here on the set of Longmire. The guys who were here are great but I find myself doing most of the fight sequences and even Robert rappelling from that cliff, that was all him.”
One of the characters on the show is the setting. Does that help with playing this character and telling these stories?
Bailey: “Absolutely. First and foremost, my hats off to our DPs, directors and camera department. That is something I will miss after Longmire. I canâ€™t imagine working on another show that looks like this. Last week we got the whole crew out on this location – hundred people standing around waiting for about forty minutes – so that sun is just that a little bit further in the sky, the light was hitting the cloud in the perfect way. We thought it was almost like recess. It was like we got forty minutes, go do whatever and then weâ€™re going to start shooting when the sun is at the perfect height. Thatâ€™s never happened before. The last show I was a regular on, Saving Grace, shot back in L.A. even though fictionally it was that in Oklahoma. But we were constantly shooting away from the mountains because itâ€™s flat in Oklahoma. Here in New Mexico does double very well for Wyoming. So we get up there in the mountains and we go just across the range here to a little town which is much greener. ItÂ is absolutely another character on the show.”
Edited for space and content.
Longmire airs Mondays at 10/9c on A&E.
“Reports of My Death” Synopsis: Walt contends with a media frenzy when a long-lost heir who went missing 30 years earlier is found dead; Henry makes a risky devision on his own.
“Reports of My Death” Preview:
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