In Season 3 of the A&E series Longmire, Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) has had to deal with a series of devastating traumas, from his best friend, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), going to prison on murder charges to Deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) being shot by a mysterious “white warrior” to Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) being unsure if she has shaken a stalker from her past. As Walt unravels the dark, mysterious secrets of Absaroka County, he will get closer to uncovering who is really behind his wife’s murder.
During this recent interview to talk about where the series is head in the remainder of Season 3 and to reflect back on the journey thus far, actor Bailey Chase talked about how he found out about where his character would be going this season, how much is still to come, his favorite part of Season 3, getting to see Branch outside of work more, just how far Branch will go for answers, and working with this cast of actors. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
BAILEY CHASE: 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 that point, they had pretty much laid out the first half of the season. And then, we just put our heads together. They wanted to see where my head was at and what I was thinking, and then they shared where they were coming from. I knew that we would basically pick up Season 3, right where we left off, at the end of Season 2, and that I’d be in this precarious state. And then, it was more about crafting where Branch is going to go, at the end of the season. I was definitely excited because, creatively, it’s been a pretty eventful ride. It’s different than anything I’ve done in my career before.
What can you say to tease what’s coming up for you?
CHASE: I don’t know what I’m allowed to tell you. There is a lot that’s going to happen between now and Episode 310. It will continue down this path that was started in Episode 301. Branch is obsessed with finding the guy who shot him, David Ridges, and that will continue through the rest of the season.
What was your favorite scene or moment to shoot, this season?
CHASE: I’ve gotta say it was pretty cool, just a couple of episodes into the season, to see Branch start going out on his own. Branch is doing his own thing. I’ve been wearing those tight wranglers and boots for three years now, so it’s nice to get out of them for a bit and put on a flannel shirt and cargo pants, pick up a rifle, and just go do my thing. When Branch is not working, he is out there in the woods, hunting and riding around in his truck.
Will we see more of Branch away from the job?
CHASE: Yes, you can definitely anticipate seeing a lot more of that, and a bit of a change in Branch’s appearance, physically.
CHASE: We have some really cool stuff coming up, with guns out on the shooting range. I can’t say specifically what we did, but it was a lot of fun. He is one of my favorite actors to work with.
What’s coming up for Branch and Sheriff Longmire, and how will their relationship continue to evolve?
CHASE: We had gotten to a better place, post-election. And then Branch got shot, and it literally saved his life. But, Branch is on the mission again to find David Ridges and bring him in, so you’ll see that conflict. It was starting to boil in the last episode, and that will continue on. Branch just can’t help himself.
What’s it like to work with Robert Taylor?
CHASE: He is very old school. He is not one to say more than he has to. He’ll do it with a look. It’s been great to work across from him. I find myself doing less and less, which is a really cool thing. You never stop learning, in this business. It’s been really enjoyable for me to do less and feel even better after work.
How far will Branch go to get to the truth about who shot him?
CHASE: I think that he’ll stop at nothing. He’s already crossed the line.
Will there be any like major negative repercussions with any of his relationships, as he continues looking for his shooter?
CHASE: Absolutely. There is cause and effect. Branch definitely crossed the line by kidnapping a guy, and he is going to stay on that path for the remainder of the season. He is going to suffer some consequences, for sure.
Are Branch and Cady (Cassidy Freeman) a thing of the past, or are there any other romantic aspects on the horizon?
CHASE: That has been on the sidelines for this season because she’s off trying to save Henry, and I’m off trying to find Ridges. But, we will have some stuff for the end of the season. And then, as far as other romantic interests, he just doesn’t have time for that right now.
CHASE: First and foremost, my hats off to our directors and camera department. That is something I will miss after Longmire. I can’t imagine working on another show that looks like this. We’ll get the whole crew out on location and have a hundred people standing around, waiting for about 40 minutes, so that sun is just a little bit further in the sky and the light is hitting the cloud, in the perfect way. Then, we’ll start shooting when the sun is at the perfect height. That’s never happened before. The last show that I was a regular on, Saving Grace, shot in L.A., even though it was in Oklahoma. We were constantly shooting away from the mountains because it’s flat in Oklahoma. For Longmire, New Mexico doubles very well for Wyoming. We get up in the mountains and we go across the range.
What has most surprised you about your character, over three seasons?
CHASE: When I sat down with the creators of the show, back when we were 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 took the whole first season to flesh him out. Towards the end of Season 1, Walt Longmire threw down in the middle of the road. And then, it was game on for Season 2, with the election. So, I pretty much knew about Season 1 and 2, going in, but I did not know about Season 3. I don’t think they did either. It’s been very unexpected for me and for them, and probably for the audience, but at the same time, it’s been a pleasant surprise because, creatively, it’s just not very often that you’re given this gift and they trust you to just go have fun. It’s been a really interesting journey. I can’t wait for people to see the back half of the episodes.
What was it that originally interested you in this project?
CHASE: I really loved 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 came back that they loved me, but that I didn’t have the age. And then, they brought up the idea of Branch, who wasn’t that interesting on the page in the pilot, but once they explained the vision, I really bought into it.
Longmire airs on Monday nights on A&E.