Set during the hardscrabble early days of the American West, Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow is a sweet and gentle tale of friendship, a sort of “minimalist buddy comedy” as our own A.A. Dowd put it. One half of this Western bromance is the genial, enterprising King-Lu, a Chinese immigrant who has learned rather quickly that, in America’s “land of opportunity,” you often have to create those opportunities for yourself. As King-Lu, Orion Lee gives an alluring breakthrough performance—though you may have caught him in small parts in films like Skyfall and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this is the kind of role that portends big things for his future. We were lucky enough to spend some time with Lee at the A24 offices last week, where he told us all about his once-in-a-lifetime experience filming with Reichardt, a sweet cow named Evie, and plenty of delicious baked goods. The actor also weighed in on First Cow’s views on the dangers of capitalism, and opened up about Reichardt’s refreshingly well-rounded approach to her characters.
First Cow opens in select theater on March 6.