1923: Harrison Ford & Helen Mirren watched Yellowstone’s “Some.”

“I admire it… but that’s a different time period, so it’s a very different feeling,” Ford tells IndieWire of “Yellowstone” comparisons.

The Yellowstone universe continues to expand.

It began in 2021 as the Dutton family tree stretched back in time to ‘1883’ starring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and now we’re moving 40 years forward of that series with the arrival of ‘1923’. The Duttons of 1923 find themselves caught between the wild, untamed world of 1883 and the mechanized urban landscape being built around them. This new generation of Duttons is struggling with immigration issues and a world where ranching is a thing of the past.

Having legendary actor Harrison Ford host this series is a major selling point, and a lot of what brought him to the project was how episodic television has changed. “The old model of episodic television doesn’t really fit this project,” Ford told IndieWire via Zoom. “It’s not designed to be a TV [show].” Given the size of the filming locations, Ford said he could easily envision this extensively written series getting a theatrical release.

This juxtaposition and embrace of natural land was what drew Ford, who plays this story’s Dutton patriarch, Jacob. “I love the great outdoors,” said Ford. “I came to see the changes in the West and this story… You’ll see that a lot of the elements of change start here.” Viewers get a taste of it in the first episode alone of what’s to come, including a drought, a competition for weed, and a little thing called the Great Depression.

The depression marks a small change for the “Yellowstone” universe. If you watch Yellowstone, the Duttons aren’t usually touched by national changes, but here the characters are influenced by the Depression. “The Duttons may seem protected by their wealth, but their wealth is their land. It’s not cash. So you’re living at the limit from season to season,” Ford said.

This difference in feeling may be why Ford admitted he hadn’t seen “Yellowstone” in its entirety. “I’ve seen a lot of it,” he said. “I admire it… and that [is] developed by the same people, so it shares a lot of the same ambitions. But that’s a different time, so it’s a very different feeling.”

This desire to keep the various “Yellowstone”-inspired worlds separate was aided by Helen Mirren, who plays Jacob’s Irish wife, Cara. Mirren said she’s watched some of the series but can’t confirm that she’s a “rabid fan” who knows everything about the series. What struck Mirren was how the various shows viewed the West, a time period both actors are interested in. “I’ve always been fascinated with the West and how the West was created, which in a way was the creation of the mythology of America,” Mirren said.

And there’s no denying that 1923 hopes to keep the same operatic elements of great storytelling. “I kind of see it that way [Tolstoy’s] ‘War and Peace,'” Mirren said. “You can’t avoid that with this landscape. Landscape creates the operatic element of it.”

There’s also an intriguing culture clash that doesn’t necessarily feature in Yellowstone. “1923” doesn’t just focus on the Duttons and the Indigenous characters who spend this season being forcibly Anglicized. There are also tensions with Irish immigration. That’s one of the main reasons Mirren chose to use an Irish accent for her character.

“We’re shooting in a town called Butte, Montana. Butte was an old mining town and the miners came from Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Moldova and Serbia,” Mirren said. Mirren points out that in old-school Westerns, everyone has an American accent, so she gave her character an enhanced backstory that would require an accent. “She probably came to America during this early migration of Irish people coming from the famine in Ireland in the late 19th century, met the character of Harrison Ford in her youth, and then created that life together.”

“1923” premieres Sunday on Paramount+.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/12/1923-harrison-ford-helen-mirren-yellowstone-1234791622/ 1923: Harrison Ford & Helen Mirren watched Yellowstone’s “Some.”

Lindsay Lowe

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