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Walker Independence's Mark Sheppard Was A 'Bucket Of Tears' For His Goodbye Scene With Katie Findlay - Exclusive

Mark Sheppard has been in the acting business since the early '90s, but few goodbyes have left him as devastated as his "Walker Independence" farewell. The actor took on the role of Hagan, a bar owner who's quite the showman. Hagan's is home to Independence's White Dove shows, so naturally, Sheppard had more than a few scenes with Katie Findlay's character Kate.

At first, Hagan seems like a typical unfeeling boss who tries to take advantage of the Doves, but as his layers peel back, fans get to see a deeper side to him. In the fourth episode of the series, Hagan makes the decision to sell Hagan's to the Davidsons in order to protect Kate from their ire. However, she has no idea about the sacrifice he made. All in all, it's a pretty big tearjerker — and Sheppard wasn't immune.

Looper spoke to Sheppard during an exclusive interview, where he recalled filming his goodbye scene with Findlay that left him with a bucket of tears.

A bucket of tears

On filming the episode, Sheppard told Looper, "I'll tell you a little story [about this episode] with Kate and Hagan. Hagan decides to sell to the Davidsons because they're going to kill Kate. Hagan has been there for 35 years, and he built this town with the founding fathers, and it's the central post." 

He expounded on the story, saying, "While Teresa Davidson's poisoning me, Kate is doing this incredible dance number. The show [with Kate] in drag as Tom Davidson, the new Sheriff, is incredible. Shel did an amazing job shooting that." If you haven't seen that epic number yet, go do the thing.

"Kate [had] enthusiasm to come upstairs and share that moment with me, and there's Tom Davidson with feet on the desk. 'He's sold. He's done. He's gone.' Kate's betrayed, and we could not rehearse that scene," Sheppard continued. "It was impossible to rehearse. Sheelin [Choksey], the wonderful director, is a brilliant man. He said, 'Do you want to shoot your close-up first?' I could barely get the words out. I was in buckets of tears." Ouch. 

How many passes to get to perfection?

Sometimes, you have to start at the end to get through a tough filming sequence. "We shot the close-up first, and we did three passes. The first two passes, I couldn't breathe. I genuinely couldn't breathe," Sheppard explained. "It was huge to have somebody who loves [Hagan] and cares about [him] feel that betrayed, and [he's] lying, and cannot tell the truth. If [he tells] the truth, [he] can't protect her. The lie is the most painful, awful, tragic thing I ever had to do."

With a career as expansive as Sheppard's, it's pretty significant for the sequence to have such a visceral impact on the actor. He noted, "It's both one of the highest and lowest spots in what I'd like to call my career. It was devastating to do. On one of the takes, he turned and looked at me and says, 'May you die on a bed of white feathers.'"

On whether or not that line was scripted, he said, "It's a version of what's scripted. I was looking at the crew, [and] everybody was in tears. We were done. We could not do more. [There's] this incredible piece of the end where Kate goes into the room and the hat is on the end of the bed with the note." 

Sheppard further praised the series, adding, "There [are] some great Western series: 'Justified' and 'Deadwood,' and this is a very different thing — not because it's on The CW, but because of who created and who's done it." It's safe to say that the show has had a massive impact on the entire cast.

"Walker Independence" airs Thursdays on The CW, with new episodes streaming for free on the website and app the following day.