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Season 10

Elkhorn Interview: The Honesty and Honour of William Sewell with Elijha Mahar

Chris May 25, 2024

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I am joined by actor Elijha Mahar who discusses his character William Sewell in the TV show ‘Roosevelt’, as well as the dynamics between Sewell and Roosevelt. We talk about the importance of Sewell’s stabilizing presence in Roosevelt’s life and how Sewell guides him without telling him what to do. We also discuss the close-knit cast and the authenticity of the costumes and makeup. Elijha shares his takeaways from playing Sewell and encourages viewers to enjoy the show’s wholesome and historically accurate retelling of one of America’s greatest presidents.

Sound Bites
“I walk up to him, I look him right in the eyes like, that’s it. I hold my axe up. No one carries an axe pull out his axe like, what’s this guy got to do with an axe?”
“He misses his wife. He misses Mary. He wants, he starts to see people, you know, creating families and creating, you know, relationships here. And, you know, he, she’s, she’s like his rock, you know?”
“If you want my advice, I’ll give it to you, but I’m not going to tell you what to do.”
“Enjoy it, sit down, watch it. You can watch it with your kids. You can watch it with your grandparents. And, you know, it’s going to be really fun.”

00:00 Introduction and Setting the Stage
01:52 Sewell’s Backstory and Relationship with Roosevelt
05:46 Sewell’s Reaction to the Wild West
06:36 Sewell’s Role in the Divide Between the Working Class and the Affluent
07:55 Sewell’s Physical Presence and Intimidation
08:51 Describing Sewell in Three Words
09:35 Sewell’s Relationship with Other Characters
10:40 Challenges in Portraying Sewell
11:38 Researching Sewell’s Background
12:35 Creating Sewell’s Physical Presence
14:00 Sewell’s Loneliness and Missing His Wife
16:21 Sewell’s Strengths and Weaknesses
17:12 Sewell’s Loneliness and Missing His Wife
18:08 Sewell’s Relationship with Roosevelt
19:18 The Role of Sewell in Guiding Roosevelt
20:56 The Close-Knit Cast and Crew of ‘Roosevelt’
22:52 Challenges of Filming in Heavy Costumes and Hot Weather
36:13 The Influence of Playing Sewell on Parenting
38:38 An Old-Style TV Western Feel with Historical Accuracy
39:55 New Chapter
39:55 New Chapter 2

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