From a professional standpoint, the last few months have been the best of times for Sam Elliott, who earned an Oscar nomination for playing Bradley Cooper’s brother in A Star is Born and portrays the titular character in the just-released The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot.

“It’s an amazing time right now, after fifty years of being in this game,” says the actor, 74. “I’m completely blown away by all of it, the success of it.”

This has also proven a personally testing period for Elliott whose house is in Malibu — which he shares with his wife, actress Katharine Ross — was almost destroyed at the end of last year by the forest fire which swept through the area.

Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

“At the same time, all this stuff was going on with A Star is Born, all the screenings, all the Q&As, all the awards shows, that f—ing fire came over the top of us in Malibu,” the actor tells EW. “We stayed, and poured the water on, and watched the guy next door burn to the ground. And then the floods came, or the rains came, and the s— came on the highways. You know, there were times right after the fire, when the coast highway was shut down, and I was trying to get through the roadblocks with a f—ing tuxedo on, coming back from some event in town. The two juxtaposing each other was a weird thing. It’s still very present out there.”

While the area is bouncing back, Elliot is haunted by the effects of the disaster that still linger.

“A lot of it is very green now, it’s coming back, and eventually, it will all come back, but it’s going to be a long time,” he shares. “A lot of people lost everything. We know people who lost everything. You know, a thousand homes burned or whatever. Think [about] all the wildlife that went up with it. It’s a horrific thing.”

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