One Outer Range Star Breaks Down An ‘Uncomfortable’ Direction Josh Brolin Gave Him, And Why It Worked

 From left to right: Josh Brolin directing Outer Range and Shaun Sipos as Luke Tillerson looking scared in Outer Range.
From left to right: Josh Brolin directing Outer Range and Shaun Sipos as Luke Tillerson looking scared in Outer Range.

Spoilers for Season 2 of Outer Range are ahead! All the episodes were released at once on the 2024 TV schedule, and you can stream them now with an Amazon Prime subscription

Read More Of Our Exclusive Outer Range Coverage

Cecilia Abbott and Royal Abbott looking into the hole with horses standing behind them in Outer Range.
Cecilia Abbott and Royal Abbott looking into the hole with horses standing behind them in Outer Range.

How Does Outer Range's Time Travel Work? I Asked Josh Brolin And The Showrunner About It, And Their Answers Are Super Helpful

In Episode 6 of Outer Range’s second season, Josh Brolin took a seat in the director's chair and worked with actors like Shaun Sipos and Noah Reid to create the incredibly intense and pivotal penultimate episode. When I interviewed the cast about the show, I asked about working with the Sicario star as a director, and the aforementioned actors who play the Tillerson brothers told me about their intense scene together, and the notes Brolin gave them.

For Sipos, the scene carried a heavy weight, because it involved his character Luke killing his brother Billy, who is played by Reid. As the two brothers fight, Luke picks up a fireplace poker and hits Billy. While seemingly not intentionally trying to kill him, the hit is lethal, and as Billy bleeds from the head, Luke is saying his brother's name over and over. Sipos gets louder and louder as he yells “Billy!” and that was based on a note Brolin gave him.

During an interview with CinemaBlend about the thought-provoking sci-fi Western, Shaun Sipos told me about this scene and the direction, saying:

I don't know if it's in the cut, I haven't seen it. But he had me stand in one place and just say Billy, over and over, remember that?

Noah Reid immediately chimed in, saying “He had you screaming, man,” after Sipos recalled the direction.

In the episode of Outer Range that is what happened. You can hear Sipos saying “Billy” over and over. As Reid’s character slowly dies, Luke’s voice gets louder, ending in a scream. It’s haunting and incredibly effective, and while it was uncomfortable to shoot, the actor understood why Brolin asked him to do it. The Reacher actor said:

So it was really uncomfortable. Every part of me wanted to move from that spot. But then I thought, ‘Well, the character’s got to be so uncomfortable right now and not know what to do and feel misplaced and feel like he wants to run but can't and wants to turn back time, but can't.’ So, you know, I felt like it might actually fit. And that's where you go, ‘Well, I guess I just gotta trust Josh here, and he's got great taste.’

That trust was important to have, and all three of them were able to work together to create one of the most intense scenes in Season 2 of Outer Range. Noah Reid told me that because Brolin is such a “spectacular actor,” he understands the way his co-stars think, and he knows exactly where the scene needs to go and what the actors need to perform. To that point, the Schitt’s Creek star told me:

Also, he was able to extend us a lot of trust. I think through the filming of that sequence, where he knew from being on the inside of that, that you kind of need to have the gloves off and just, you know, be able to kind of go to town and trust in your other actor and just really kind of like, you know, take it to each other.

It’s nice to hear how much they all trusted each other. It allowed Sipos to try the direction that was understandably uncomfortable because it involved him harnessing sadness in a way that is not something you do causally. Ultimately, it led to a haunting scene that really drove home the intensity of the situation between the  Tillerson brothers.

Both actors’ performances really were incredible, and Brolin's direction was great too. As Noah Reid said, they were able to be “no reserves, no holds barred” in the moment and they could really go for it. While intense, creating this scene was “liberating” for them.

So, clearly, that direction worked, and the two were able to collaborate with Josh Brolin in an open and honest way where they could try lots of different things, some of which made them uncomfortable.

To go back and see the scene Shaun Sipos and Noah Reid were talking about, you can stream Outer Range on Amazon Prime. When you are done with that, make sure to check out other shows like the Josh Brolin-led Western, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more coverage of the show.