When our own Mike Ryan spoke with Tim Blake Nelson (about The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs) a year ago, his role in creator Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen continuation was completely unknown to the public. HBO has since strategically revealed more about the TV series, which bears very little physical resemblance (although the themes largely remain the same) to Alan Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel or the 2009 Zack Snyder movie, both set in 1980s New York City. That new-ness includes Nelson’s character and an updated setting — Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2019 — and given that Nelson was born in Tulsa and spent his formative years in the area, he was bound to bring his own local flavor to the production.
Nelson, as you’re probably aware, has appeared in over 50 movies and more than a handful of TV series, although he’s perhaps regarded most fondly for his multiple Coen Brothers’ projects. That’s what happens when you embody a singing cowboy like Buster or wade into heavy drawl territory as Delmar O’Donnell in O Brother, Where Art Thou? So, my curiosity ran high to see how Nelson would play an Oklahoman called Looking Glass, who spends much of his onscreen time as a heavily-masked law enforcement interrogator. Nelson was nice enough to dig into his character with us, including his specific dialect. We also chatted about what local history adds to Lindelof’s Watchmen and touched on some of Nelson’s other upcoming projects.
Guess where I happen to be right now?
Well, because you’re asking in that way. You’re in … Oklahoma.
Yes, I’m actually in Tulsa right now.
Oh, fantastic! Are you downtown in the Brady district right now?
I’m near the fairgrounds as we speak, and it’s that time of year, so it’s bonkers.
Why, are you going to a BMX competition? Or are you … going to show a pig?
You kid, but there was a cow running through a neighborhood, not too long ago. I’m not even remotely joking, as you must know.