ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with 1923 stars Darren Mann and Michelle Randolph about their respective roles in the Yellowstone prequel as Jack Dutton and Elizabeth Strafford. The series premieres December 18 on Paramount+.
“1923, the next installment of the Dutton family origin story, will introduce a new generation of Duttons led by patriarch Jacob (Ford) and matriarch Cara (Mirren),” says the synopsis. “The series will explore the early twentieth century when pandemics, historic drought, the end of Prohibition, and the Great Depression all plague the mountain west, and the Duttons who call it home.”
Tyler Treese: Darren, you and Michelle are getting married in the show. How is it sort of nailing that family dynamic? Because as it’s said throughout, the herd comes first, so it’s not as simple as just loving one another. There are a lot of problems that can arise.
Darren Mann: Definitely. And I think Jack’s unaware maybe of a lady’s feelings or wants. He doesn’t realize that how crushing that’s gonna be to her, because of course, you know, if we don’t have the cattle, we don’t have our livelihood. We can’t even afford a house or a wedding. But, it’s not quite how it goes for the lady sometimes.
Michelle Randolph: Definitely not.
Michelle, how rewarding was it just getting to share scenes with Helen Mirren and getting to see how she works firsthand?
Randolph: It was really special, kind of surreal and, at first, I was really intimidated, but Helen is so kind and, she makes you feel really comfortable on set, and so I think that’s something that’s a gift about her.
Darren, what was your favorite aspect of working on a period piece? Because it had to be wild to walk on set and just suddenly be transported a hundred years in the past.
Mann: It’s really awesome, because they don’t spare any expenses around here. So when we went uptown Butte, and it’s all decked out looking like the 1920s and we’ve got Model T’s driving around, and I’m in this horse navigating through the traffic and you know, they got the peanut guys on the side. It just feels so real. It just feels like you’re then getting to react, as opposed to having to come up with something and fake it. And even the clothes, as soon as you slip those on-
Randolph: Yeah, the hair, and the hats.
Mann: Everything is so authentic, it helps a lot. So that’s, it’s really fun to get to do that and to learn about your past while you get to work too.
Michelle, Yellowstone’s become an institution at this point. It’s so huge. What did it mean for you to have such an important role and tell this great story set in the 1920s?
Randolph: Kind of like I said when I found out I was working with Helen, it was just very surreal, and I think it’s so cool that Yellowstone has such a large fanbase and so many people are so, like, obsessed with these characters. So to enter into a universe like that, I just think there was pressure, but I was just excited and I felt really grateful for the opportunity that I was given.
Darren, working with Harrison Ford, that’s a living legend. How great was it getting to share scenes with him and seeing how he works on and off-screen?
Mann: 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. 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. This is Han Solo. This is Indiana Jones.” He’s such a cool guy too. The other day we were sitting, waiting to film. We were in his SUV and he’s just cranking blues and jazz, and he’s grooving in the front seat getting ready, and I’m in the back watching him just like, “I’m never gonna forget this moment. This is a dream come true. It’s so cool.”