If one Super Bowl ad caught your eye in 2020, it might’ve been the Sam Elliott vs. Lil Nas X cowboy dance-off to the rapper’s song “Old Town Road” over a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.
The smooth dance moves in the TV ad were assisted a little with the magic of CGI. But cowboy character actor Elliott (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Big Lebowski”) also spent extra time rehearsing so he could do as much of the dancing as possible.
“I tell ya, at my age, I was a little concerned about it,” Elliott told AdAge. “Thanks to the technical world we’re in, with CGI and all of that, initially it was proposed to me that I wouldn’t have to do anything but shake my hips a little bit. Once I was working with the choreographer and speaking to the director about it, I knew it was going to be more than that. That’s why I went out of my way to spend as much time in the rehearsals as possible, because I wanted to do as much as I could.”
Access Hollywood got a look into the making of the commercial and recently released a behind-the-scenes segment shot on set during filming. You can see how some of the dancing was shot with a blue screen behind Elliott. He has markers on his clothing as well and you can hear a choreographer giving him directions.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Cool Ranch Doritos commercial was the best and perhaps only memorable ad of this Super Bowl, among a slate of offerings that even included a couple of political commercials ahead of the presidential elections later this year.
“The Cool Ranch Doritos dance-off between Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott showed the rapper and actor as a formidable pair — making a strong case for sharing their own ticket in November,” the newspaper wrote.
Sports Illustrated, Time and several other news sites cited the commercial as a top pick among this year’s Super Bowl ads.
Here’s the extended version of the Doritos ad below, as posted by the brand to Twitter, with even more dance moves that didn’t air during the Super Bowl:
A 60-second teaser for the Super Bowl ad was released in mid-January as well. It includes a monologue from Elliott quoting “Old Town Road.”
Which Super Bowl ad was your favorite this year?