HomeEntertainmentTVYellowstone‘1923’s Harrison Ford Praises ‘Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner & ‘1883’s Tim McGraw While Revealing Relation to Their Characters (Outsider Exclusive)

‘1923’s Harrison Ford Praises ‘Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner & ‘1883’s Tim McGraw While Revealing Relation to Their Characters (Outsider Exclusive)

by Jon D. B.
Tim McGraw as James Dutton in 1883, Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton in 1923, Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone. (Photo credits: Paramount Plus Press, Paramount Network Press, Viacom)

From Yellowstone‘s Kevin Costner to 1883‘s Tim McGraw, Harrison Ford is a fan of the Dutton patriarchs that came before his 1923. Yet it wouldn’t be entirely foolish to assume that a Hollywood icon responsible for multiple timeless characters and dozens of box office rockets wouldn’t have the time to dive into the universe he’s joining. But this is not the case for Harrison Ford. He’s busy, yes, but as the icon told me during our sit down ahead of 1923‘s premiere, he made the time to properly prepare for those Dutton boots.

“I’ve been working and busy and haven’t had a lot of time to catch up, but I thought it more important that I see all of 1883. Which I did. That is the closest in time and story wise of the developed Yellowstone elements,” he prefaces. Which is an understatement given how truly busy the 80-year-old actor has been of late.

‘I love the work that Kevin is doing’

Between filming his “swan song” fifth film in the Indiana Jones franchise, joining Apple TV’s Shrinking, and tackling the first of 1923‘s two seasons, Ford is busier than ever. He found time for research regardless, and if you’re going to watch something for work, 1883 is as good as it gets.

This doesn’t mean Yellowstone isn’t to Harrison Ford’s liking, however, unlike the rather blatant dismissal Sam Elliott tossed to the Neo-Western while starring in 1883.

Yellowstone, which takes place in contemporary time, I love the work that Kevin is doing,” Ford lauds of the man who started it all as John Dutton, Kevin Costner. “But 1883 was more important to me to concentrate on, and it was very useful in helping me understand the way they have been storytelling,” he adds.

Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton and James Badge Dale as John Dutton Sr of 1923. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+. © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Indeed, Ford’s Jacob Dutton shares the screen with characters from 1883‘s time. His nephew and right-hand-man, John Dutton Sr., is played by James Badge Dale in 1923, but we first met him in 1883 courtesy of adorable 5-year-old Audie Rick. Others that Jacob knew over the course of his first 80 years include John’s mother, Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill), and of course, Jacob’s own brother, James Dutton (Tim McGraw).

Harrison Ford Reveals His Place in the ‘Yellowstone’ Universe

As for how they’re related, “I am the elder brother of him, of he,” Ford tells me of 1883‘s James, before praising the “fantastic” performance McGraw gave as this universe’s founding patriarch. Right off the bat, the 1923 premiere reveals how and when Jacob entered the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch’s legacy, too. But we won’t spoilt that here.

And as for how these two connect to Kevin Costner’s John Dutton down the line, McGraw’s James Dutton is the great-great grandfather of Costner’s John. This makes Ford’s Jacob Dutton a great-great uncle, which is a branch of the family tree that doesn’t feel too pertinent until you learn that Jacob wound up raising both of James’ sons, John Sr. and his younger brother, Spencer (Brandon Sklenar), as his own.

And this was no small task. “The character finds himself in very exigent circumstances. Very difficult circumstances,” Ford adds of Jacob within our roundtable interview. “The pressures are on him and the ranch, which represents the future for his family. The pressures are intense. They’re in the midst of a drought. The Depression is nearing, so economic support is crumbling. Loans are not easy to come by for cattle. There’s competition for the grass from sheepmen. There’s pressures on the land itself from distractive industries. It’s a complicated time, and a lot of those complications come to rest on Jacob Dutton’s shoulders. But the way he comes to deal with these challenges is distinct.”

All of this stems from Taylor Sheridan‘s creative vision, who’s co-creator role on Yellowstone has blossomed into the architect of the biggest franchise on modern television. Which is also about all it took for Ford to join 1923. That, and Helen Mirren.

Harrison Ford Joined ‘1923’ In Part to Work With Helen Mirren Again, Who was First On Board

“I based my decision on personal meetings with Taylor Sheridan. There was no script at the time we agreed,” he reveals. “But one of the real draws for me was the opportunity to work with Helen again, who’s playing my wife, who was the first one aboard,” Harrison emphasizes of Helen Mirren, who gives life to 1923‘s matriarch, Cara Dutton.

Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton and Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton in 1923. Paramount+ 2022. Photo credit: James Minchin III/Paramount+.

“We have known each other, although we haven’t spent much time together, for the last 40 years. She played my wife in Mosquito Coast,” Ford recalls of their 1986 debut as an on-screen couple. “But of course I know her career, and I’ve seen her work over these years, and we’ve occasionally come in contact. “She’s a very smart actress, and it was one of the biggest draws to work with Helen again.”

Couple this with Sheridan’s proven penchant for top-tier Westerns and a fantastic first Yellowstone spinoff in 1883, and you have the recipe for convincing Harrison Ford to make the jump from film to television.

“When Taylor and I met, it probably proceeded the script by at least three or four weeks. So he talked me though what his ideas were, initially. And I was impressed by his articulation of his ambition, and his sincerity. And when I got the script, I was very gratified,” Ford offers.

Harrison Ford hits our television screens as Jacob Dutton this December 18 as 1923 premieres simultaneously on Paramount+ and Paramount Network.