Sam Rockwell Believes Dad Defended 'Three Billboards' in New York Times Comment Section

On 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' the Oscar-nominated actor said he shared Internet users' suspicions about a comment from "Pete Rockwell."
Courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live

For weeks, Internet users have wondered whether a defensive comment by "Pete Rockwell" on a New York Times story on Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri came from the dad of one of the film's stars, Sam Rockwell. On Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night, Rockwell says he believes it is.

When Kimmel brought up the mysterious comment on Wesley Morris' Jan. 18 story, "Does ‘Three Billboards’ Say Anything About America? Well …," on Tuesday's show, Rockwell laughed and said, "I think that's him, I think that's my old man."

In the story, Morris argues that the Martin McDonagh-directed film belongs to a class of Oscar movie for which, for many viewers, the praise "doesn't make any sense" and the movie itself is "contentious." "The reason to do any barking — well, the reason for me — is that 'Three Billboards' feels so off about so many things," Morris writes. "It’s one of those movies that really do think they’re saying something profound about human nature and injustice."

While Morris doesn't actually take shots at Rockwell's character or performance in the piece (in fact, he writes that Rockwell "studiously" plays a racist-cop character), the comment from "Pete Rockwell" served as a kind of defense of the movie. “I loved this movie, and intend to see it again. My son, Sam, won a Golden Globe for playing Jason Dixon. I think I would still love the movie if another actor had played Dixon…. But not quite as much,” the commenter wrote.

The remark was picked up in a story in Slate and amused many on Twitter. "Can't stop laughing at this comment Sam Rockwell's dad left on a NYT essay about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," an NPR producer and editor wrote. "Three Billboards is bad but Sam Rockwell's dad, Pete Rockwell, is good," an Entertainment Weekly correspondent wrote.

The actor then told Kimmel about his Culver City-based father's recent wedding, which was interrupted by drunk wedding crashers. "We had to get the bodyguards," he said, referring to his own.

Rockwell also said that he organized his father's bachelor party, which consisted of himself, his friends, his father and his father's cousin. He says that his father and the cousin had some pot "and went to bed by 8:30 p.m."

Rockwell has been nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar and won a best supporting actor Golden Globe for his role in Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri.