‘1883’: Tim McGraw Talks ‘Going Toe to Toe’ with Sam Elliott

by Leanne Stahulak
Pictured: Sam Elliott as Shea of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ (C) 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Few people can look “1883” star Sam Elliott in the eye and not tremble. But Tim McGraw had to shove his awe deep down in order to butt heads with the legend as James Dutton.

The country icon recently sat down with Outsider at a roundtable for the upcoming “Yellowstone” prequel series. “1883” drops this Sunday, Dec. 19, on Paramount Plus, and we can’t wait to see McGraw and Elliott hash it out on screen.

At one point, McGraw talked about what it was like “going toe to toe” with the legendary cowboy and actor. And McGraw, just like a true Outsider, could not help singing Elliott’s praises.

“First off, when we read the script, [Faith Hill and I] knew we wanted to do it. And we knew we wanted to do it together,” the “1883” star begins. “And then when we found out that Sam Elliott was gonna be involved… I would’ve crawled over hot coals to play opposite of Sam Elliott.”

Luckily there was no disfigurement involved, just good ol’ fashioned paperwork. Sheridan immediately signed on both Tim and his wife, Faith Hill, to play James and Margaret Dutton. The married couple and their family are heading west to seek a new life, and Elliott’s character Shea Brennan just so happens to be the one to guide them on their way.

Though McGraw knew that playing opposite Elliott would be the chance of a lifetime, the “1883” star also told Outsider all about the challenges that came with it.

‘1883’ Star Tim McGraw Opens Up About ‘Toughest Part’ of Starring With Sam Elliott

Meeting your role model or favorite celebrity is one thing. Acting with them in a brutal Western drama like “1883” is something else entirely. Tim McGraw didn’t hold back when talking to Outsider about the challenges of acting with an icon like Sam Elliott.

“The toughest part is my character and Sam’s character sort of butt heads the whole time,” McGraw revealed. “We sort of have this antagonistic relationship. But we realize this early on, there’s also a really deep mutual respect that we have for each other.”

Using respect as the foundation for their scenes likely helped a lot in keeping both of them grounded. But McGraw faced an even tougher obstacle when he had to stare the cowboy down, shootout-style.

“The toughest thing sometimes is to stand up and have a confrontation with Sam Elliott’s character,” McGraw said. “And to have to look him in the eye and defy him. It sort of makes your knees go weak a bit because all you want to do is go, ‘Yes sir, yes sir. Whatever you say, yes sir.’

“And so that’s the toughest part is to stay in character and really stand your ground,” the “1883” star concluded. “Because Sam is such an intimidating figure. But at the same time, Sam himself is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, the most generous people I’ve ever met.”

We have no doubt that’s true. Don’t miss the “1883” premiere this Sunday on Paramount Plus.