1883‘s Ennis, Eric Nelsen, is “so, so grateful every second” of his experience on and the resulting success of the Yellowstone prequel.
Becoming a working actor is a triumph all its own. But landing a role in a franchise as prolific and successful as Yellowstone is a whole other deal. When it comes to prequel 1883, the feeling is doubled. The show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, has poured his entire self into crafting a Western epoch for the ages. And it shows. 1883 is one of the most brilliantly written, shot, and executed shows in modern television.
But don’t just take our word for it. Aside from the first season’s near-immediate awards recognition and stellar viewership ratings, the cast is also singing high praises of anything and everything 1883.
Nelsen, who many are seeing on-screen for the first time as wily Texas cowboy Ennis, “knew the show was going to be big because we were teed up for it because of Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan doesn’t touch anything that isn’t successful. So, we had an idea coming into it,” he adds. “But to see what it’s done, as far as ratings and viewership, and the fan reactions that I hear, it’s just been through the roof. I mean, truly. It’s been such a wild ride—and I’m so, so grateful every second of it.”
Eric Nelsen on ‘1883’: ‘How could it get any better than this?’
The feeling isn’t a new one for Nelsen, either. All throughout filming the Western on location, he and James Landry Hebert – who plays Ennis’ partner in crime and big brother of sorts, Wade – couldn’t get over the gig they’d landed.
“Oftentimes, we’d wrap a day and look at each other and say, “How could it get any better than this?'” Nelsen continues. “This particular day was just another beautiful Texas sunset,” he says of a photo he snapped with Hebert during filming. “And we happened to have had a big scene right before that, where we were pushing cattle. And we’re out there working through this really, really tall grass that your horses can’t even see over it’s so tall.”
Filming the Yellowstone prequel quickly became “blazing our own trails through this really tall grass,” Nelsen says. He and Hebert were “Finding cattle, trying to herd them in and cutting them through this field. It was one of those days where you don’t feel like an actor at all, because you’re actually living as a cowboy,” the 1883 star says.
How could it get any better, indeed. As for that actor side of Eric Nelsen, he told Outsider that he’s “never worked on a project like 1883” ahead of his stirring turn in Episode 5. “The arc and the storyline I get to tell—especially in Episode 5—is such a bold one. As an actor, it was so much fun to tackle something like that.”