1923 and Joining the Dutton Dynasty | Daily News Byte

1923 and Joining the Dutton Dynasty

 | Daily News Byte

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From the creator and executive producer Taylor SheridanParamount+ series 1923 is a prequel that builds more on the Dutton dynasty that was first established on-screen in Yellowstone. The show takes place after the events of the previous prequel, 1883starring Tim McGraw as James Dutton and Faith Hill as Margaret Dutton, who chronicles the family’s journey West to settle in Montana and build the beginnings of what would become Yellowstone Ranch. When 1923 began, a new generation of the Dutton family owned Yellowstone — led by James’ brother Jacob (Harrison Ford), his wife Cara (Helen Mirren), and James’ surviving children, who now run the ranch in his stead. That’s before they face the hardships of events like Prohibition and the Great Depression — as well as competitors who are constantly looking to take over the land on which the Duttons have firmly staked their claim. Also starring in the series Darren Mann, Michelle Randolph, James Badge Dale, Marley Shelton, Brian Geraghty, Aminah Nieves, Brandon Sklenar, Robert Patrick, Jerome Flynn, Jennifer Ehle, Sebastian Rocheand Timothy Dalton.


Ahead of the series’ premiere on December 18 on Paramount+, Collider was given the opportunity to speak with the couple 1923The cast – including Ford himself – about being a part of Yellowstone franchise. Throughout the roundtable interview, which you can read below, Ford discussed why he wanted to make the crossover from film to television, why 1923 was the project that particularly appealed to him, and how Jacob Dutton compared it to past roles he played such as Han Solo and Indiana Jones. He also talked about his on-screen reunion with Helen Mirren, what he wanted to explore in terms of his character’s journey, and more.

QUESTION: Most of your work has been in film, obviously, with this being your first starring role in a television series. What made you make the crossover from film to TV? And how was the filming done 1923 compare to the production of your previous films, particularly blockbusters Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchise?

HARRISON FORD: Well, that’s a big question. For me, for an actor, there is not much difference between shooting for television and shooting for a feature film. There may actually be more time to develop a character in many different episodes than you would have in a two-hour movie. But it’s really the only difference these days, I believe.

We used to think that television had less ambition, perhaps, than feature films. This is no longer the case at all. This is one of the most ambitious tasks I’ve ever done, and I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far. Because we’re in post-production on most of it, but the first couple of episodes are locked in, and I’m happy with what I’m seeing. I enjoy working with very high quality actors and actresses, and we have the technical capacity and ambition to shoot it in the way that it is a feature film. It’s quite nice to look at. I am very happy with the whole project.

How it compares to Star Wars o Indiana Jones, we spend more time outside in real places, rather than on sets that have to be built to create reality. So there is a sense of reality there. The moment you walk into that cold in your 1923 costume, you will begin to understand what the real life of a cowboy is like.

harrison ford as jacob dutton in 1923
Image via Paramount+

RELATED: ‘Yellowstone: 1923’s Jennifer Ehle Says Watch for This Breakout Star

QUESTION: What do you remember that kept you on track to give your best, especially with the elements and everything that could go wrong?

FORD: Well, I want the character to serve and the characters to serve the story. I’m looking to alloy the character with the story because they support each other. Taylor Sheridan has written a dense and complex character, and it’s both an honor and a challenge to take it on, and I’m enjoying it immensely.

QUESTION: Joining the series as part of a franchise, have you had a chance to catch up on any of the previous shows, if 1883 o Yellowstone?

FORD: I’m working and busy, and I don’t have much time to catch up, but I thought it was more important that I see everyone 1883which I did, because that was the closest to the time and story-wise of what was developed Yellowstone elements. Yellowstonewhich takes place in contemporary times… I love the work Kevin does and I love the show, but 1883 was more important to me to focus on, and it was very useful in helping me understand the way they were telling their stories.

Collider: What drew you to this particular project in terms of knowing you wanted to be involved? I wonder when that moment will come. Was it built into the show? Is it reading scripts from Taylor? When did you have a moment of, “This is the project, this.”

FORD: I based my decision on personal meetings with Taylor. There was no script when we agreed. One of the real draws for me was the opportunity to work with Helen again to play my wife, Helen Mirren, who was first on board. When Taylor and I met, it was probably at least three or four weeks ahead of the script, and so he talked to me about what his ideas were. I was impressed by his eloquence, his ambition, and his honesty. And when I got the script, I was very gratified.

I think it is very interesting. It’s ambitious, again, but it’s a character that’s very different from anyone I’ve played so far, and that interests me. I’m always interested in doing new things, and I don’t think there’s a huge difference between movies and an ambitious television project.

Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton and Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton in 1923
Image via Paramount+

QUESTION: You mentioned working with Helen Mirren. I wonder what it was like developing your on-screen relationship with him for this.

FORD: Well, we’ve known each other, although we haven’t been together much in the last 40 years. He played with my wife Mosquito coast. But of course, I know his career and I’ve seen his work over the years, and we keep in touch from time to time. She’s such a nice person and such a talented artist, and it was one of the big draws, the chance to work with Helen again.

QUESTION: What would you say is the secret to your long and incredible career? And the follow-up to that is, you’ve played so many iconic characters, how does Jacob Dutton compare to other characters you’ve played?

FORD: Another person, another person. Working with people who are competent in their areas. The range of directors I’ve had the opportunity to work with is certainly extraordinary. I am very lucky. I started in the business when the film business was so closely connected to the culture, and we had such an influence on the culture. It really is a very good time for the movie business. Some of the giants of the movie business are still working, and I had the opportunity to work with people like Coppola and Sydney Pollack and Peter Weir, and many others, at a time when movies were booming. That might be enough.

But I still enjoy working, I still enjoy telling stories. Taylor Sheridan is definitely one of those people who is the rarest talent of our time. And I’m really happy doing it.

QUESTION: What is it about this character’s journey that you are most excited to learn about?

FORD: Well, the character finds himself in very difficult circumstances, the pressures of the ranch, which represent the future for his family. The pressures are intense. They are in the middle of a drought. The Depression is coming. Economic support collapsed. Loans are not easy to get for cattle. There is competition for grass from sheep. There are pressures on the land itself from extractive industries, and it’s a complicated time. Many of those complications and pressures land on Jacob Dutton’s shoulders, and the way he deals with them is different. Taylor wrote me a matrix for a character that I feel very confident in and feel lucky to have the opportunity to express. Thank you

QUESTION: I wonder what you think, that I watched 1883was it within Jacob Dutton that allowed him to succeed, where his younger brother James, played by Tim McGraw, failed in creating that vast Dutton empire?

FORD: I can’t imagine Tim McGraw’s character failing. I would say that the circumstances overwhelmed him, but it’s not a flaw of his character. The same Dutton steel is in Jacob that Tim has in the character.

1923-episode-1-harrison-ford
Image via Paramount+

QUESTION: In terms of creating the character of Jacob, what was your preparation once you had the script in hand, and what was the most important part of creating the character?

FORD: There are many important aspects to creating a character. The first thing that comes to you when you agree to play a character is the physical expression of his characteristics, the costume. Once I find the costume, I’m part of the way to find the man. I was helped in choosing my outfit by great people. So there are the first costumes, this is the appearance of the character.

In the way the character was written, I began to see that Taylor had created an architecture, that once I recognized the architecture of things, I could see that the story was built on hinged moments in the character’s life. Knowing where the hinge turns and where we’re going, I can see that Taylor is doing a lot of development for me. The routine of an actor, trying to express himself through a story, is nailed down tightly. That’s really, really, I can just be there and be as real in that situation as possible, and it will do the job.

Performance is not so much… This is not a context where performance per se is very important. Cowboys are determined, and they’re tough, and they’re tough. We know that about cowboys. But Taylor gave me the opportunity to express it in contexts that we don’t see much, and it’s very well written, really … The challenge is living the character.

QUESTION: What you said about Taylor’s writing, I want to hear you talk about what makes it unique. What does he discover about America and the West through this series?

FORD: I think he puts mythology, cowboy legend, and American history under the tension of reality. There is a degree of distance between what America represents and how it acts. While we may be ambitious for representation, we live in reality. Jacob Dutton has hard choices, and he makes those hard choices like an animal with its back against a wall. This is very interesting, to me.

1923 premieres Sunday, December 18 on Paramount+.

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