‘Hell On Wheels’: Anson Mount Showcases His Southern Heritage On Hit Show

Hell on Wheels star Anson Mount showcases his authentic Southern accent and rugged heritage on the hit AMC series. The Tennessee native said that before he was cast in the television western focused upon the building of the railroad, he had suffered a multitude of rejections for movies and shows set in the American past.

Anson Mount, 41, told the Canadian Press that directors of the period pieces appeared not to like his looks. Such a statement likely shocks millions of female Hell on Wheels fans.

Mount had this to say about becoming Cullen Bohannon, the central figure on Hell on Wheels:

“I just got lucky I routinely did not get hired in period pieces because casting directors always told me I was too contemporary, whatever that means. I’m not sure how someone can look too contemporary. They still had two nostrils in the 19th Century, I think.

The man behind emerging Western icon Cullen Bohannon added that he has always been interested in action and western roles, but sadly discovered the casting directors were routinely looking outside of America for actors to fill such positions. “These days, if you’ve got a role that involves any amount of testosterone whatsoever, they immediately start looking at Australians,” Anson Mount said. “In the last two or three decades, there’s been a feminization of the man in popular media that I’ve never really understood,” the television star is also quoted as saying.

Actors Sam Worthingotn, Chris Hemsworth, and Aden Young being cast in roles depicting strong men and Southerners appear to support the observations of the Hell on Wheels star. The rugged leading man of AMC most popular series, The Walking Dead, is not American either. Andrew Lincoln, who plays Daryl Dixon’s (Norman Reedus) best friend, Rick Grimes, is English.

Tony and Joy Gayton, the brothers who created the AMC hit series, were determined to find an American to fill the role of Cullen Bohannon. In a nation which gave birth to John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Audie Murphy, Tommy Lee Jones, Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, Robert Mitchum, and scores of other iconic manly men, it is both difficult to understand and saddening to realize that directors feel forced to look outside of the United States to find modern counterparts to rival popular leading men of the past.

The Hell on Wheels star also had this to say about being chosen to play Cullen Bohannon:

“They wanted not just an American but they wanted ideally to find a southern American who had a genuine accent. I was available at the right time and the casting directors, Amana Mackey Johnson and Cathy Sandrich really got behind me, and I got the role.”

When asked about the specific postures, attitude, and colloquialisms, which come with being a true Southern man, Mount said, “H**; there’s a d**n way you spit. I could demonstrate it for you or I could coach somebody to try to do it but it’s just in the DNA. I couldn’t do it without having grown up in the South.”

IMDb Anson Mount biography excerpts:

“I have a great-great-great-grandfather who was a Confederate cavalry colonel, and I still have his military composite photo on my wall. The chemicals in the photo tint have changed over the years to the point that he looks green. One of my family members apparently still has the piece of paper that listed every thing in his pocket when he got shot. I grew up hunting with shotguns and rifles, and we had a gun in every corner of the living room.”

“I grew up in the South, so a huge part of our American History education revolved around the Civil War,” the Hell on Wheels star is quoted as saying by IMDb. While he does not consider himself and expert, Anson did grow up riding horses. “I love getting paid to ride a horse,” the modern Western hero added.

What do you think will happen to Anson Mount’s Cullen Bohannon in the next episode of Hell on Wheels?

[Image Via: AMC/Hell on Wheels]