Tim McGraw and Marc Rissmann arrive at the world premiere of "1883"Tim McGraw and Marc Rissmann arrive at the world premiere of "1883"
Tim McGraw and Marc Rissmann arrive at the world premiere of "1883" at Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

'1883': Who Plays Immigrant Leader Josef? Meet Marc Rissmann


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If we're learning anything from the first season of Yellowstone's prequel series 1883, it's that times were tough, especially for those traveling across the country for a better life. While it's been fun watching Tim McGraw and Sam Elliott's characters, who were both Civil War veterans, on the Paramount Plus series, Josef has definitely been one to watch. The de facto leader of the wagon train of immigrants has his own backstory as actor Marc Rissmann recently explained on 1883's Twitter.

"Josef is a German immigrant," Rissman begins. "He is an ex-soldier, and he wants to leave his demons behind and create a new home with his wife Risa."

Read More: A Complete Breakdown of The 'Yellowstone' and '1883' Dutton Family Tree

So Josef actually has a lot more in common with Shea (Elliott) and James Dutton (McGraw) than it initially appeared. We've already seen a couple of flashbacks that show the trauma that Shea and James experienced while fighting in the Civil War. Perhaps we'll get to see some of Josef's past as well before he traveled to America.

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"I think the leadership role... he took it because I think he's a natural leader," Rissman explains in the video. "And because he cares about his people. But it creates conflict for him."

Marc Rissman as Josef of the Paramount+ original series 1883

Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The German people are quickly met with unexpected terrors on their journey ranging from bandits to poisonous snakes and dirty river water that can make you sick. The group has already decreased in half since they first left Texas on the road to Oregon and their struggles are just beginning. They started with so much hope as they embarked on the road to their new lives but sadly had no idea how difficult it would actually be. We can only hope that some of them actually make it and are able to live their dream.

"You do this journey with a certain image. I think they expected heaven and that image slowly fades," Rissmann concludes.

Ana Ularu and Marc Rissmann attend the world premiere of "1883"

Ana Ularu (L) and Marc Rissmann attend the world premiere of "1883" at Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)

Similar to Josef, Rissman is from Germany. He studied acting and appeared in local theater in Berlin before he started landing roles in German TV series including Letzte Spur Berlin and Reiff für die Insel. He also played Markus Meyer in Binny and the Ghost and Olaf Spieß in Tatort. The German actor soon moved over to international roles and appeared as Tekil in Netflix's The Last Kingdom, the captain of the Golden Company Harry Strickland in Game of Thrones season 8, Wilhelm Goertzmann in The Man in the High Castle, Nos in Into the Badlands, and Scherzer in Overlord. His filmography even includes a few directing gigs including the "Please Tell Rosie" music video for German DJ Alle Farben, Supergirl, and a commercial campaign for the German National Lotto.

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