‘1883’ Star Tim McGraw Reveals How He Prepared for the Role of James Dutton

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

Portraying John Dutton’s ancestor is no easy feat. Yet somehow Tim McGraw seems like the perfect person to take on the role. However, the country icon didn’t just fall into the part. He definitely researched for the role. He recently opened up about filming “1883” and how he got into the part of James Dutton.

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, McGraw shared how he prepared to take on the Dutton name. Kevin Costner and the rest of the “Yellowstone” gang have set a high standard when it comes to their land and being ruthless.

However, McGraw explains how he delved into the role, fully understanding what it means to be a Dutton.

“I read some western stuff of course, watched some westerns. More importantly, I read the script a lot and tried to dig through and put together what I thought James’ backstory was and why he was doing what he was doing. And why he was headed to where he was headed,” McGraw says.

He goes on to add:

“What drove him to do that. A lot of it to me was his experience during the Civil War and his experience in prison during the Civil War and probably what went on in the South after reconstruction – probably a lot of that is what drove him out of there and I think he was looking for an untainted place to take his family to.”

“1883” Set to Premier This Month

“1883” stars both Tim McGraw and his real-life wife Faith Hill. The two portray both the patriarchy and matriarchy of the Dutton family as they head west in the year 1883. The western drama is an original by Taylor Sheridan and will explore traveling in a covered wagon as they hunt for a settlement in Montana.

Further, McGraw says that the heavy days of filming could be tough. He attempted to lighten the mood on set by singing. And who could blame him? Singing is in his soul. And we’re sure that it helped lift spirits while filming.

“Somebody says something, and it reminds me of a song, so I start singing,” McGraw explained. “I’m sure [the cast and crew are] pretty tired of it by now, but you know, there’s gotta be a little levity on set. Because everything is so dramatic on this show, and there’s a lotta heavy stuff going on. So, you know, every chance I get to sort of lighten it up a bit, I try to.”

The drama is set to air on December 19 on Paramount Plus. This means there are mere days left before the wait is over. And as “Yellowstone” season 4 continues to heat up, we know fans are super stoked about this prequel.