‘1883’ Star Isabel May Opens Up About ‘Fully Immersive’ Experience Working on Show

by Courtney Blackann
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(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“1883” breakout star Isabel May is a force to be reckoned with in Taylor Sheridan’s new western drama. The actress is not only starring in one of Paramount Network’s biggest hits, but she’s diving headfirst into the role. In a recent interview, May opened up about her fully immersive experience playing Elsa Dutton.

Speaking with Jefferson White on the Yellowstone Official Podcast, May shared some insight into what it’s like working on the “Yellowstone” prequel. White asks the “1883” actress about her immersive experience of playing Elsa Dutton.

“FULLY immersive. Yeah, When Taylor says he wants to be authentic – he means it. And that’s why I currently have underarm hair. That’s not going away anytime soon. I’m actually kind of proud of it. I want to show it off because it took a while, ” May laughs.

Isabel May on “1883′ Character

She further adds:

“But backing away from the armpit hair to the terrain, yeah. It’s been pretty remarkable. You know, we were in Montana maybe three weeks ago. And we were there for three weeks, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life. And there was virtually no one there and it was just mountain peaks and beautiful skies and stars. Um, and then you come here to Vegas and it’s just really disorienting, to say the least.”

While Tim McGraw and Faith Hill along with Sam Elliott also star in “1883,” May acts as the narrator of the show. Her character of Elsa is discovering a new world around her. She’s also coming into her own as a woman and as a cowboy. Breaking a traditional gender role, Elsa is assisting her father and several other cowboys drive a herd of cattle across the west.

And May recently spoke about her role and how Elsa is showcasing a different side of the western journey.

“I think Elsa is someone that can’t be dishonest,” the actress said. “She is this pure… in the beginning naive… The way that she views the world, she’s so alive. And she appreciates everything so much, to such a degree.”

She further said:

“I think a young woman at that time, that age, is just a perspective we’ve never seen in a Western,” May explained. “So, it makes it all the more interesting when she’s just so in love with her surroundings. And then the backdrop to that is how difficult that experience was. So it’s this interesting contrast between the beauty of the world that she sees. And the hardship, the reality of it. I think that brings the series to life in a unique way.”

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