Helen Mirren Says She Took ‘1923’ Gig Without Even Seeing The Script

Helen Mirren 1923

If you’re familiar with Taylor Sheridan’s work, do you even need to see the script?

For A-list actress and Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, the answer is no.

Starring alongside longtime friend and colleague Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren took the role of Cara Dutton in the upcoming Yellowstone prequel series, 1923.

A hard-nosed Irish immigrant married to Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford), the brother of James Dutton (Tim McGraw in 1883), Jacob and Cara find themselves in modern-day Montana, along with James and Margaret’s kids, John and Spencer.

Here’s the brief synopsis:

“1923 focuses on the Dutton family’s next two generations as they struggle to build and maintain the Dutton ranch, survive historic drought, lawlessness and Prohibition, and an epidemic of cattle theft; all battled beneath the cloud of Montana’s great depression, which preceded the nation by almost a decade.” 

And while Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are superstars in their own right, at least in country music they are, how did Taylor Sheridan get Hollywood legends like Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren on board?

It turns out, he didn’t have to do much.

In an interview with Variety, Helen admits that neither her, nor Harrison, really even read the script:

“I wasn’t hugely familiar with the whole thing.

What interested me about I did see ‘1883,’ and that era of American history has always really fascinated me. The fact that Harrison was going to be involved was very important for me.

Both of us committed to it without really reading any scripts. We didn’t really know what we were signing up for… the specifics of what we were signing up for.

We had trust in Taylor’s extraordinary abilities as a writer and we took a leap of faith.”

For Helen, the trust was there based on his previous work, especially with strong female roles like Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill):

“Taylor writes great women. He doesn’t have any prejudices when he writes his women characters, and there are really strong women characters in our piece.”

Needless to say, Yellowstone fans are PUMPED to see the next chapter of the saga.

1923 premieres on Sunday, December 18th on Paramount+.

In the mean time, let’s take a look at the upcoming stars for the show:

The 1923 Cast

James Badge Dale will play John Dutton Sr., the oldest nephew and right-hand man of Jacob. He’s the son of James Dutton (Tim McGraw) and the great grandfather of John Dutton (Kevin Costner).

Marley Shelton will play Emma Dutton, the wife of John Dutton Sr. and the mother of Jack Dutton.

Darren Mann will play Jack Dutton, the son of John Sr. and Emma, and the great nephew of Jacob Dutton. He’s a hardworking rancher and dedicated to the Dutton name.

Additional Characters:

Michelle Randolph will play Elizabeth Strafford, a feisty woman who is willing to do anything to marry into the Dutton family.

Brian Geraghty will play a loyal ranch foreman in the show.

Aminah Nieves will play Teonna Rainwater, a young woman who lives at a government residential boarding school. Judging by the last name, she’s probably related to Thomas Rainwater from Yellowstone.

Julia Schlaepfer will play Alexandra, a British woman who meets one of the Duttons while abroad.

Based on the family tree and the timeline we’re given, it sounds like James and Margaret Dutton of 1883 are no longer around (they’ve would’ve been around 80 years old and the average lifespan back then was about 50 years old).

And while Harrison Ford will play presumably the younger brother of James Dutton, you have to imagine that much of the story will focus on John Sr. and Jack (much like 1883 focused on Elsa), as they are the line that drives us towards a modern day Yellowstone.

The Dutton Family Tree

In that 1893 flashback from Yellowstone Season 4, we see that James has two sons with him, John Sr. and Spencer (who will be a major characters in 1923)… Generation Two.

They should be in their forties or so by the time 1923 rolls around and will have children of their own, Jack Dutton (Generation Three), and we may even see the birth of Generation 4 if Jack has kids.

Now, here’s where it get’s interesting… John Dutton III (born sometime in the 1950s) of Yellowstone would be Generation Five, which means Kayce, Jamie (adopted), the late Lee Dutton, and Beth Dutton would all be Generation Six, and young Tate would be Generation 7.

And that’s exactly what Tim McGraw himself has confirmed.

Tim says he plays the great-great-grandfather of John Dutton in the bonus Blu-ray content:

“I play John Dutton’s great-great-grandfather. Our family is the first to discover Yellowstone and settle it. And in doing that, we are the first to really defend it and fight people off, and try to establish it and then survive.

J.D.’s the patriarch of the family. He’s the guy that had the balls, I guess, to set out and take his family across the country and head up to Montana, and sorta settle this unknown land, this untamed land up there, and turn it into something.”

Of course, which generation of Dutton has implications for the show because in the Season Finale of 1883, Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) is on the verge of death and her father, James Dutton (Tim McGraw) needs to find a place to bury her because wherever they bury her body is where the Dutton family is going to settle.

So Spotted Eagle, a Crow elder, recommends a spot called the Paradise Valley.

But, there’s a catch… the Duttons can’t have it forever.

“Yes, Paradise. Good name. But you know this: that in seven generations, my people will rise up and take it back from you.”

To which James says:

“In seven generations, you can have it.”

Doesn’t bode well for the Dutton family in Yellowstone Season 5, does it?

Shop the Yellowstone Collection from Whiskey Riff Shop

If you’re looking for the entire Yellowstone soundtrack, complete through every episode of Season 4, then look no further.

Our Yellowstone: The Soundtrack Playlist, featuring every song from every episode, updated in real time, every Sunday night.


Apple Music

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock