When Taylor Sheridan asked Harrison Ford to take the lead role in his newest Yellowstone spinoff 1923, he didn’t have to do a lot of convincing. Not only was the part literally written for the Oscar winner, but he only had to travel a few hours from his home for filming.
In Ford’s younger days, he lived in Los Angeles, just like all the other Hollywood A-listers. But about 40 years ago, when he was an established household name, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he now shares a sprawling ranch with his wife, Calista Flockhart.
CBS Sunday Mornings‘ Ben Mankiewicz headed out to Ford’s home to chat about his spot in the hit Paramount+ series, and he asked the actor why he decided to move away from the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown. Ford admitted that the choice was easy.
“Because it’s LA, it’s a city, and I don’t have to be there for work,” he explained. “So might as well enjoy a different kind of life.”
Luckily, that new lifestyle helped him prepare for his current role, which is filming in the bordering state of Montana. Riding horses and working his land gave him experience ahead of playing the head of Yellowstone ranch. That paired with the fact that Sheridan wrote the character Jacob Dutton specifically for Ford made the opportunity even more perfect.
“I was knocked out when I got the script. The ambition and the bold storytelling. It’s audacious,” he gushed.
Taylor Sheridan Detailed How He Pitched the ‘1923’ Role to Harrison Ford
Interestingly, Sheridan didn’t write any of the scripts before landing Harrison Ford. In fact, he didn’t write anything until he got all of his actors lined up. He imagined who should be in the roles in advance, and he asked them to join. But he was prepared to find a plan b.
In an interview with Deadline, Sheridan explained exactly how he went about the process.
“Truth? I called him and said ‘come down to my ranch,’ and he flew down. I did the same with Helen [Mirren]. . . . He flew down. I said, ‘we’re going to do this thing together.’ He goes, ‘can I read a script?’ I said, you can when it’s written, but it ain’t written yet, and you got to commit to it now.”
As the writer and director admitted, he likes to write for specific actors. And he knows all to well that he can’t always get the stars he wants. So he’s given up on the chase and wasted time. Now, he gets right to the point, and Ford responded well.
“I need to know who I’m writing for. I’m done wondering who I’m writing for, and I have to go try to chase the person I had in my mind, and I can’t get the person because they’re doing some f**king Netflix show,” he added. “I don’t do that sh*t anymore.”