‘1883’ Star Isabel May Was Auditioning for Another Show When She Landed Role

by Leanne Stahulak

While Isabel May met Taylor Sheridan while auditioning for one of his shows, it was not while auditioning for “1883.”

The 21-year-old actress was interested in another role of Sheridan’s that wasn’t quite a fit for her. May sat down with Fox 5 Washington DC earlier this week to discuss getting on “1883” while auditioning for “Mayor of Kingstown.”

“I actually auditioned for a different project that he has called ‘Mayor of Kingstown,'” May explained. “And I was not right for the role. But I suppose that he just saw something in me that was Elsa Dutton. [He] brought me onto the project before he’d written it, which was a very odd and surreal experience.”

There’s a lot to unpack from that small confession. First off, it’s interesting to see May go for a role in “Mayor of Kingstown,” which is just as gritty as “1883” but for different reasons. But also, can we acknowledge the fact that Sheridan wrote the role of Elsa Dutton around May? The actress essentially inspired the character, from the sound of it. Or maybe Sheridan had the idea of Elsa in his head already and saw how May could bring her to life.

Either way, there’s no question that May excels at her role as Elsa. She balances innocence and wonder at the world around her with a get-her-done attitude. Elsa might seem whimsical at times, but she can be quite tough when she wants to be. And a lot of that is due to May’s complex performance.

But the “1883” star also had a chance to learn from the best of the best. AKA, her fellow cast members.

‘1883’ Star Isabel May Opens Up About Working With Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw

During her interview with Fox, “1883” star Isabel May also discussed her fellow co-stars. And specifically, what it is she picked up from legends such as Sam Elliott, Billy Bob Thornton, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and LaMonica Garrett. From the sound of it, May learned several life lessons that she’ll carry with her inside and outside of the industry.

“[I learned] just what it’s like to be a good person and carry yourself with such grace,” the “1883” star told Fox. “And how thoughtful they all are. I was really blown away by people of that caliber interacting with the crew in the manner that they did. It was really a lovely thing to observe.”

May added, “And they’re obviously just the most talented individuals you could possibly come across in this industry. So that was really a remarkable experience.”

“1883” has certainly proven to be a remarkable show. And now we finally get to catch the latest episode this coming Sunday, Jan. 30, on Paramount Plus.