Country superstar Tim McGraw was made to play James Dutton in the new Yellowstone prequel 1883. The Paramount Network's new series stars McGraw, his wife Faith Hill, Sam Elliott, and newcomer Isabel May in a Dutton family origin story that will have you mesmerized. McGraw is perfect as Yellowstone's John Dutton's (Kevin Costner) ancestor who, along with his wife, Margaret Dutton, and their two children, travel across the country to eventually settle down in Montana. If you've been impressed with McGraw's acting skills in the past, get ready because none of that compares to the performance he gives in 1883.
This is the first time McGraw has ever acted opposite his real-life wife and, as expected, they have some amazing chemistry. Anyone who's ever listened to the country music they've made together knows that, after 25 years of marriage, these two have a connection that's as strong as ever. When we discussed the new project with McGraw he explained that the main thing that surprised him about working with his wife is how insanely talented she is. We'd have to agree...together the two of them have done an incredible job of showcasing the strong lineage of the Dutton family.
"I always knew she [Faith Hill] was talented, I always knew she could do anything," McGraw told Wide Open Country and other media outlets. "But watching her work on this...I discovered a whole new side of just how talented she is and just how professional she is, what she brings to the table, and how she elevates everyone around her...she's the perfect woman."
Just like us, McGraw was a big fan of Yellowstone when creator Taylor Sheridan first sent him the script for 1883. McGraw was immediately blown away and wanted to get involved.
This show really gives fans a chance to see the country star like they never have before. He's out there slinging guns and riding horses like some of your favorite western movie stars and honestly? He's a natural.
"I've always been a big fan of Yellowstone and Taylor [Sheridan] first came on my radar after Wind River...when he started sending Faith and I the scripts for 1883, it was literally the best stuff that I'd ever read. All the scripts I've read throughout my career...it's one of the best things I'd ever read."
In the series, McGraw is a Civil War veteran who partners up with two more veterans, Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) and Thomas (LaMonica Garrett) who are leading a wagon trail of immigrants from Texas through the Great Plains. While the series is definitely full of gunfights, drama, and the perils of living during the time period, McGraw explains that he thinks people will really love the heart that is the center of the series and the story.
"I think the heart of the show is what people are going to be most surprised by," McGraw says. "You've got all the action, and there's all the drama, there's all the struggle and the fight against nature...but I think at the end of the day...there's such a heart to this show. Such a determination to do good and be a good person."
As the father of three girls himself, McGraw says that he and his wife had an immediate connection with Isabel May when she was cast as their teenage daughter Elsa. While he was certainly able to channel his own experiences as a father into his role, he says that May "makes it easy because of how good she is." They must have really formed a sweet bond offscreen because on the show, James and Elsa really feel like they could be father and daughter.
James Dutton is one tough character. He'd have to be in order to lead his family out West despite the unexpected perils that they'll face along the road. According to McGraw, starring opposite Oscar nominee Sam Elliott was pretty tough at times as well which is understandable...it's Sam Elliott!
"To be in character and have to challenge Sam Elliott...sometimes my knees turn to jello but I have to stand my ground," McGraw says. "James' knees don't turn to jello but Tim McGraw's do when he has to confront Sam Elliott."
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