Brett Haley has a thing for older actors. A Sundance regular, his feature debut, “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” starred Blythe Danner as a widow and former singer seeking a new lease on life. The ubiquitous character actor Sam Elliott (“The Big Lebowski”) played Danner’s love interest, but hers was not the only interest he piqued. Haley quickly set his sights on writing a project for Elliott to lead, and “The Hero” is the result.
Elliott plays fading Western star Lee Hayden, whose resume of cowboy films and commercial voiceover work loosely mirrors Elliott’s. When Hayden learns that he is receiving a lifetime achievement award, it sets off an existential crisis that leads him to a relationship with a younger woman (Laura Prepon) and an attempted reconciliation with his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter), all encouraged by his stoner best friend (Nick Offerman).
In the trailer, it is clear that Elliott has always had more to offer than his deep Southern drawl and signature mustache. One of those actors you see in everything but can never quite place, Elliott is finally getting a much deserved star turn in a drama with broad appeal.
Check out the trailer below: