Harrison Ford joins ‘Yellowstone’ universe in gritty Western ‘1923’ | Daily News Byte

Harrison Ford joins ‘Yellowstone’ universe in gritty Western ‘1923’

 | Daily News Byte


‘It’s useful to know history,’ the actor, now 80, says of his new TV drama

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Harrison Ford has never seen a script for 1923 — the latest installment of Taylor Sheridan Yellowstone universe — but just hearing the pitch from the Oscar-nominated creator was enough to get him to sign on for the prequel series, which debuts Sunday night on Paramount+.

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“It was a definite plan that Taylor had in mind for the story,” Ford, 80, said in a Zoom interview from Las Vegas. “Although there was no script, and I had just met him, I felt secure. I saw 1883 and I’m impressed with the storytelling there and I’m eager for the opportunity.”

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In the origin story, Ford stars alongside Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton, ancestors of Yellowstone character John Dutton III (played by Kevin Costner). The action follows the couple as they manage a family farm in 1920s Montana as they face hardships as the West develops amid a historic drought, pandemics, the end of prohibition and the Great Depression.

The drama follows Sheridan 1883last year’s earlier spinoff revolved around a generation of Duttons (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) who fled poverty in Texas to seek a better future in Montana.

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Set a century before the action seen in the contemporary Yellowstone series, which is one of the most popular shows on TV, Ford isn’t sure how to categorize the Duttons we meet in this incarnation.

“I never think of a character as a hero or a coward,” Ford said. “There’s complexity in every character I play … And I look for that as a stepping stone in my performance.”

In addition to Ford and Mirren, the ensemble cast also features former James Bond Timothy Dalton, Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), Brandon Sklenar (The Offer), Darren Mann (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Michelle Randolph (The Resort), James Badge Dale (The Pacific), Marley Shelton (Scream), Sebastian Roche (A Walk among the Tombstones) and Julia Schlaepfer (The Politician).

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Secondary storylines center on a young Indigenous girl (Aminah Nieves), and her experience at a government-run boarding school, as well as a Scottish sheep herder (Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn) fighting for his safety.

While he will soon play a man struggling to protect his family’s legacy and land, Ford is particularly happy to be reunited with Mirren, who he first worked with in 1986 on Peter Weir’s The Mosquito Coast.

“Helen has already signed on for the project and we have known each other for 40 years. It’s a great opportunity to work with him again.”

Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren star in the new Yellowstone prequel series, 1923.
Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren star in the new Yellowstone prequel series, 1923. Photo by Paramount+

No stranger to Westerns, the Oscar-nominated actor called the genre a “foundation of American mythology” and said Sheridan’s 16-episode arc will provide a useful lesson in understanding the brutal, and sometimes is America’s unforgiving history.

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“It’s interesting to develop a more robust and complex understanding of what that mythology is based on,” Ford said. “History is useful to know. It is important to know how things got to where they are today. We have many trials to face. These stories help us understand how we can acquit ourselves to face those challenges.”

Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton in 1923.
Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton in 1923. Photo by Paramount+

But he suggests that the brutal lawlessness of Jacob Dutton’s time will force viewers to consider the brutal personality traits that helped build America.

“This is a time where we are on the edge of developing real laws and rules of conduct,” Ford said. “When we first came to the West, there were no rules and if there were rules, we broke them all.”

Ford’s foray into television will continue next month Shrinkinga new 10-episode comedy from Apple TV+ that follows a grieving therapist (Jason Segal) who starts breaking all the rules when he tells his clients exactly what he’s thinking.

The octogenarian will also age to fight Nazis in the upcoming fifth and final Indiana Jones film — Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

“It was fun. It’s a lot of fun,” Ford said of his return as Henry Jones Jr., the archeologist he first played in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. “We have a great new story and a new cast of characters. I am very happy with the movie. I hope you enjoy it.”

1923 premieres December 18 on Paramount+.


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