You may not recognize Robert Taylor as anyone other than the title character he plays on the crime drama “Longmire.” But he’s no newcomer.
“I’ve been working pretty solidly for a long time,” said Taylor. “Not that anyone would notice, you know what I mean?”
But not that he appears to be complaining.
“It’s been my goal to work as much as possible, and be as unknown as possible,” he said.
Unknown-ness for the 50-year-old actor may be threatened as “Longmire” begins its second season at 10 tonight on A&E, where he stars alongside Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Lou Diamond Phillips.
Taylor impressed viewers last summer as Sheriff Walt Longmire, who polices the Big Sky sprawl of Absaroka County, Wyo., with a devotion that’s steadfast, laconic and sadder-but-wiser (he mourns the recent death of his wife).
He is rangy and grizzled at an age where he can still whip most opponents in a fight, but knows to spare himself that kind of strain whenever he can.
“With young people, it’s how brassy and flashy can you be,” said Taylor, explaining his portrayal. “But you get a bit older, it’s about how restrained can you be. You have to feel it all, think it all, but you don’t have to play it — it’s just gotta be there, and if the story’s good and the script’s good, people will see it.”
They’ll see it on “Longmire.” Then again, they may not know it’s acting.
The portrayal of Sheriff Longmire yields an enormously appealing and relatable character, while Taylor disappears into the role.
“I’ve always loved the (American) West,” said Taylor. who is Australian. “I grew up in wide-open spaces, but they didn’t have the romantic history of the West. It was more just misery.”
Among his credits: He was Agent Jones in “The Matrix” and appeared in the 2000 thriller “Vertical Limit,” as well as NBC’s 2005 “Hercules” film and the BBC series “Ballykissangel.”