‘1883’ Star Isabel May Details Falling Ill During Home Stretch of Filming

by Courtney Blackann

We’ve seen the scenery that surrounds “1883’s” actors. And while it’s stunning and a focal point of the series, it was also brutal at times to endure. Set mainly in the outdoors, the actors had to face extreme weather. And though she made it through nearly all of filming, actress Isabel May says she fell ill towards the end of her scenes.

Speaking in an interview with Yahoo!, May recalls feeling grateful she never got sick from being so openly exposed to the elements. But during her final weeks of filming, that all changed when she learned she came down with bronchitis.

“Yeah, I just finished about a week and a half ago. So I need a little break from 1883, but I can’t wait to check it out in due time. I got bronchitis the last week of shooting, which is just my luck. So that was a nice way to wrap it up. But I lasted five months in extreme weather without getting sick, because I refused to. So at least I made it the five months.”

The “1883” star continues to explain that she was not going to let the illness slow her down, however. When asked about recording her final voiceovers with bronchitis, May says she definitely did not take that risk.

“Unfortunately not. That would’ve been really great,” she jokes. “It would’ve been terrible, guttural coughs in between lines, but man, that would’ve been really amusing. I’m actually going back to Texas today to record some of the last bits of voiceover. So I’m not quite done yet, but I don’t have to be on camera at least.”

“1883” Character Learns to Carry Ennis’ Love With Her

Isabel May’s performance as Elsa Dutton serves as a center point, tying everything and everyone together. Her innocence and perpetual optimism carried her through a curious world of the unknown. That is until she learns her great love has died at the hands of unflinching bandits.

It’s at this point during the first season’s fifth episode that her innocence is lost. And because we finally got to witness episode six of “1883” last night, we see how she’s dealing with the aftermath of her death. If there were any hopes that Elsa may be carrying Ennis’ child, that was put to bed within the first few minutes.

However, while Elsa may be a little more hardened to love, she shows her resilience after a talk with Capt. Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott). The two bond over their mutual loss – and Shea offers her a bit of advice. He tells Elsa that when you love someone so purely, you trade a little piece of your soul with theirs. So when they die, a small piece of you dies along with them. But the wise cowboy also tells her that means she’s still carrying a piece of Ennis with her as well. And she should live with that small comfort.

It’s an achingly beautiful moment between the two. And Elsa is able to continue and “get back to work” as she says. It’s here that we’re introduced to a new cowboy who plans to take over for Ennis. And Elsa has definitely caught his eye. But the “1883” character isn’t going to move on so quickly, though we do see a glimpse of flirtation between the two as she uses Ennis’ line on the newcomer: “You’re too pretty for me,” she tells him.

We can only imagine what Taylor Sheridan has in store for us fans next!