“I love visceral, physical experiences in general, in life and especially in my work and in acting,” 1923‘s Spencer Dutton, Brandon Sklenar, begins of the finale’s nautical showdown. Before diving in yourself, beware of major spoilers for the Season 1 finale ahead.
“The swimming scenes, the shipwreck stuff. Any time you can really get in it and move around and be in the space,” the standout star adds in his first interview since audiences were rocked by 1923 Season 1, Episode 8. It was a wild ride, as expected. I think it’s fair to say, however, that audiences did not expect the majority of the Yellowstone prequel’s curveballs – myself included.
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As Brandon Sklenar dives into the finale for Entertainment Tonight, it becomes apparent that he wasn’t expecting them, either. Yet one constant remained: Spencer’s penchant for action. And this happens to be the actor’s favorite part of bringing his Dutton to life.
Specifically, Spencer’s saber-bound duel with Arthur proved memorable for audiences and actors alike.
“Shooting that was a lot of fun. Our stunt team is amazing and the choreography came together really fast and the actor who plays Arthur, Rafe [Soule], I thought he really killed it and our dynamic was fantastic,” Sklenar lauds, saying “It went off without a hitch.”
The biggest shock for audiences came with Arthur Jr.’s intense death. After getting his proverbial and literal a** handed to him by Spencer, Arthur pulls a pistol. In a fit of rage, he charges, placing his finger on the trigger. But he’s facing a World War I hero, and Spencer’s hand-to-hand prowess sees the Earl of Sussex tossed overboard a whopping 80-feet above the ocean’s surface. And as Sklenar recalls, this was done practically with a wildly-talented stunt double.
Brandon Sklenar Praises Fellow ‘1923’ Cast & Stunt Doubles
“We got to throw a stunt guy off the boat, which was pretty wild. That was the trip for sure. First time he jumped off, I remember it’s an 80-foot drop off the side of the Queen Mary, but that guy deserved every bit of recognition for doing that because there’s no way I could do that,” Sklenar reveals.
“Jump off 80 feet,” he reiterates with a smile. “I mean, not many people can do that – free drive 80 feet off the side of a boat… I couldn’t believe it. When we were doing it I figured like, oh, there’s going to be a pad. No, he’s going in the water. He’s going down,” he recalls.
In the end, “I don’t think that sequence could’ve come together any better,” Sklenar praises, and I’d say we’re all in agreeance there. For the star, it felt that way from the get-go.
“I remember on the day we just felt good. There’s some days you could just feel like, this is going well. So I’m really pleased with how the finale came together.”
How Will Spencer & Alexandra Reunite?
Murphy’s Law seems a constant for Spencer, however. Whatever can go wrong seems to go wrong for the action-prone Dutton. And in the case of Arthur’s fatal duel, it cost him the love of his life. For now, anyway.
“It’s incredibly tragic because Spencer is now in this position where he feels as though he’s responsible for losing her,” Sklenar offers of his character’s soulmate, Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) who is now London-bound.
“Now he’s responsible for being even further away from getting home to the family, and to saving them and protecting them and fulfilling his purpose and his duty to be there for them.”
Spencer Dutton is presented with an ultimatum as a result of his action. “Is he going to put his efforts into finding her or is he going to put his efforts into getting home and saving his family and hoping that somehow she will find him?” Sklenar ponders. “Because she does have his letters and I think in the moments to follow, he realizes that.”
Knowing series’ creator Taylor Sheridan, the actor adds, “it’s probably going to be a wild, challenging, difficult, painful, tragic road to get there, and I hope he gets there soon. I really do.”
Brandon Sklenar will return as Spencer Dutton for 1923 Season 2.