1923, the dark and dramatic prequel to Yellowstone, left fans on the edge of their seats with the first season's explosive finale. Now, fans are eagerly awaiting the second installment of this neo-Western universe on Paramount Plus.
This prequel stars a totally new cast of Duttons and their painstaking efforts to keep control of their ranch in Montana. This is nearly a century before the original Yellowstone series, and 40 years after the OTHER Yellowstone prequel, 1883.
This set of Duttons must deal with disease, drought, the Great Depression and the end of Prohibition while holding tightly onto their massive ranch. Though it's a different cast of characters, each show in series creator Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone universe captures the raw grit of Western life and is full of jaw-dropping shocks and sweet romances.
In this latest installment, Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford), the patriarch, and his wife, Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren), had to raise their nephews, John and Spencer, as their own after Jacob's brother, James (Tim McGraw), and his wife, Margaret (Faith Hill), died after 1883.
Now, in the 1920s, John has a grown child, Jack, played by Darren Mann, who is trying to learn how to manage the massive stretch of land while finding his place in the Dutton family tree (which we know eventually leads down to the Duttons from the Yellowstone series).
Hot-headed and wild, Jack is a dedicated rancher and comes to understand the significance of maintaining his family's legacy. In the first season, viewers meet Jack as a young, relatively unblemished man who is still coming into his own. Throughout the eight episodes, Jack's entire world is completely turned on its head, and he must adapt and fight for his family.
And since 1923 is scheduled for another season, we're expecting to get an even greater understanding of Jack's growth and how his story eventually leads to the modern-day Dutton clan.
But the man who portrays Jack is mostly known for his roles in indie films. Mann has quickly become one of the brightest emerging stars, making waves in the feature film and television world.
Outside of his work, Mann has been married to an actress, Jesi Dee Mann -- mostly known for her role in the television series, 20 Something -- since 2021.
Here's what else we know about him:
Finding Himself Through Hockey
Mann is a Canadian hockey player who transitioned into the acting, writing and producing world as an adult. He was born in East Vancouver to a single mother, actress and director Lenore Mann.
Though he later ditched acting for hockey, Mann actually began his career when he was just 8 years old, largely inspired by his mother, according to a 2020 interview with Wonderland Magazine.
"My mom had worked in multiple facets of the industry for years, and she thought acting would be the perfect thing for me to get out of my shell -- so to speak," Mann said. "I was a very shy kid, it really was a great way for me to get comfortable being uncomfortable."
Mann loved being on stage and completely falling into his characters. But he took a break from his blossoming acting career to play hockey. After all, he's Canadian, so hockey was in his DNA.
Mann's natural athleticism first turned him into a junior-level star and then into a professional with the Indiana Blizzard in the now-defunct All American Hockey League. However, an injury cut his career short, so he retired his hockey sticks.
He told 1883 Magazine that he was at peace with letting hockey go.
"I don't like to give up on things unless I have to and I've stretched every limit possible," Mann said. "But trying it and going for as long as I did gave me the freedom to say I gave it my all and be okay with moving on. I knew I'd switch back to film at that moment."
Though he can't compete professionally anymore, Mann said he doesn't know where he'd be without those hockey-playing seasons. He believes those years established his work ethic as well as built his character and integrity.
Taking on the Silver Screen
Since returning to the silver screen, Mann has grabbed a number of roles in indie and mainstream films as well as a few television roles you may recognize.
His breakout role was playing a closeted gay teenager, Ballas Kohl, in the acclaimed indie film Giant Little Ones (2018). The film debuted during the 2018 Toronto Film Festival, exploring how toxic masculinity can poison relationships, families and even an entire town. Mann went on to receive his first Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Motion Picture for that role.
He then transitioned to television by securing a recurring role as Luke Chalfant, a warlock, in the hit Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for two seasons.
And Mann kept himself busy with back-to-back roles. The award-winning actor then grabbed roles as draft dodger Travis Hunter in the show Fortunate Son as well as MMA prodigy Jett Boykins in the sports film Embattled (2020) -- both of which earned him Leo Awards.
Embattled, in particular, let Mann tap into his athletic background while facing those toxic dynamics that are alive and well both in the sports world and between father-son relationships. Mann didn't have a great relationship with his own father growing up and was able to use his experiences while he prepared for the role.
He told 1883 Magazine that toxic masculinity can be found everywhere.
"It's not something that's just in sports, but it's all over. We've all dealt with somebody who clearly struggles with toxic masculinity or we have someone in our family like that, so I think it all comes down to relatability," Mann said. "Showing it in films will hopefully show everyone how deep it runs and hopefully it'll make people on both ends think about it in their daily lives."
Landing 1923 -- 'A dream come true'
Amid his ever-growing success, Mann said landing the role of Jack in 1923 -- taking on cowboy camp to prepare for the role and encapsulating such a dynamic character -- was a dream.
"It's every young man's dream -- riding horses, shooting guns and chasing your beautiful fiance," Mann told CBR. "It's a fun ride with Jack. It's fun playing a character who isn't set in his ways like a lot of the older characters are, especially in these Western, traditional series."
Mann has long had a goal to work with Sheridan, the creator of the Yellowstone universe. He said Sheridan writes compelling characters and that he was excited to take the creator's 1923 outline and make the character his own.
"I've been itching to work with Taylor for years," Mann told ScreenRant. "He does such a good job of writing these in-depth characters. I love his writing and everything he does, so it's a dream come true to be here."
Mann is also uniquely positioned in the Dutton family because he's not only playing the ancestor of actor Kevin Costner, but he's also playing the great nephew of actor Harrison Ford -- two entertainment industry legends.
He told ComingSoon that Ford was his idol and discovering he got to work with him was one of the best moments of his life.
"It's unreal. It's a dream come true. Really, you know, growing up watching him and being such a fan of him and his work, idolizing him, really," Mann said. "I had to slap myself multiple times on set being like, 'Holy cow, I'm doing this for real. I'm here with Harrison Ford.'"
With the first season wrapped, Mann is already anticipating what moves Jack might make in the second. He told Insider his character showed a lot of growth in the season finale when facing his enemies and in revealing his sensitive side to his wife, Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph).
"Jack is just waiting to get his sweet revenge," Mann said. "I would love to see Jack take over, I'd love to see Jack be the man, and I'd like to see things turn out good for Yellowstone."
Though he stressed he has no idea what Sheridan has in store for the second season, he thinks Jack and Elizabeth may become the new Dutton family leaders.
"He and Elizabeth, they love the Yellowstone more than anybody," Mann told Insider. "He loves being a cowboy, he loves taking care of his family and you know, he doesn't want to let that go and he'll do anything he can to protect that."
READ MORE: Drink Like a Dutton With These Delicious 'Yellowstone' and '1923' Inspired Cocktails
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