In “Friday Night Lights,” you had to let go as an actor, whereas in "Flicka," you had to keep it all under control.
Well, he’s a more reserved guy. 

I assume then, but I could be wrong, that maybe this movie was a little more challenging.
Absolutely.  It’s a lot easier if you don’t have to think and just let things go than to be withdrawn, which is pretty much what he was.  It’s easier to do that.  Probably any actor I’ll tell you that I’ve talked to will tell you that playing heavy is a little easier. You don’t have to get in your head too much.

Right.
Which, there’s plenty of room in there, anyway!

The children in this film treat you as a heavy.  They’re constantly, almost, dreading you.
He’s just a stern dad.  You think about the lifestyle that this family leads – trying to make a big ranch work on minimal money. They’re not making the money they need to make and the pressures that go along with that. It’s been in Rob’s family for years and years and years and generations, and to know that that way of life is slowly going away.  It’s gotta be heavy.

I really appreciated those scenes with you and Maria, where you were dancing – the fact that it wasn’t just a stern character.
Right.  Well, he had to be a dad and he had to run a ranch at the same time, and it was a difficult place to be in.  Plus, as anybody knows, with somebody that’s just like you, it can be a tough relationship.  My oldest daughter’s like that.  Most mothers when they get mad will say your first and middle name, and you know you’re in trouble.  When my wife gets mad, she says “McGraw,” and both me and my oldest daughter, we’re both in trouble.

What was it like working with Maria?
Oh, gosh.  You learn so much – from everybody on the set.  Dallas Robertson – he’s a great actor.  I got to hang out with him a lot.  I learned so much.  I learned from the director of photography.  I learned from the lighting guys.  I wanted to know how they did it – how they lit this or that.  Same thing as onstage.  I like to get involved in all that stuff and learn.  It’s fun for me.  You’ve got some of the greatest actors that are in this business, and you sit back and watch ‘em do their thing and you go, “Oh, now I see how I need to cut it there.”

Will you be doing any other films?
I just finished filming a role in a film called “The Kingdom” which comes out in May, with Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper.  I play a husband whose wife has been killed in a suicide bombing attack.

Whoa.  Serious stuff.
Yeah, it was pretty intense.  I only had a couple of scenes in there, because I was working.  I had to fit it in, but it was pretty intense.

Do you want to do more drama?
I like heavier stuff.  I do.  I like doing heavy.  I can’t see me doing a romantic comedy or anything like that.

Why are you drawn to the darker roles?
I’m just dark!  I’m a dark guy!  Yeah, brooding!  (Laughs.)

Hey, I heard somewhere that you used to listen to Petra.
Oh, I love Petra, yeah.  Imperials, too.

What’s your religious background?
I grew up Southern Baptist.

Do you still go to church?
Uh, not as much as we’d like to.  (Laughs.)  Or need to, for the kids.  Because we’re not home a lot.  But yeah, I grew up with a strong Southern Baptist background.