TV and Radio

TV Quickfire: Yellowstone 1883 stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw

Yellowstone prequel series 1883 follows the story of the Dutton family's perilous journey west. We found out more from stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw...

Faith Hill as Margaret
Rachael Davis

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS, JAMES AND MARGARET DUTTON.

Tim McGraw: James is an interesting guy, pretty straight ahead and straightforward. His main concern was about protecting his family. He was in the Civil War, and in my mind I created a backstory for him that he probably didn't really want to fight in that war, but during that time you sort of were forced to.

He spent three years in a prison camp and weighed 97 pounds when he got out. I think what he was looking for was an untainted place to raise his family, and to outrun the ghosts that he had. We all know that you really can't do that.

Faith Hill: Margaret, I loved her, because obviously she has depth, but as the series unfolds you will see that there are many, many, many layers to her. It was fun to play her. I miss her, actually. She's much cooler than I am!

[As Margaret] I was a nurse in the war, and then I was pregnant with our daughter Elsa while James was a prisoner of war, and I didn't know if he was coming home or not.

Our family originated in Tennessee, so we began the story of making our way out west. We were headed to Oregon, but we end up in Montana – and you'll find out why later in the series.

YOU'RE MARRIED IN REAL LIFE. HOW WAS IT PLAYING A MARRIED COUPLE IN THIS SHOW?

TM: Oh, it was perfect. We'd never acted before together, so when this opportunity came up, we were really excited to do it.

FH: When we agreed to do this, I said: "Because we're together all the time, I don't want to run our lines together. I don't want to talk about our scenes, I don't want to discuss it. I want it to happen the moment we're on set, and the camera's rolling, they call action. That's when we are James and Margaret. Not any other time."

TM: Faith and I have been in this business for 30 years playing music, so we knew that it was going to be a hard for everybody not to see 'Tim and Faith' on screen. We wanted to be authentically James and Margaret.

WHAT SKILLS DID YOU HAVE TO LEARN?

TM: I grew up in Louisiana, I was in high school rodeo, so I rode bareback horses and bulls growing up. I'm not a gun person per se, but I like to bird hunt, so I'm pretty good with a gun. It was fun to work with the pistols – plus it made you feel cool when you're in costume and you have your pistols on and you're fighting bad guys.

FH: Having to learn the skills for the wagons, roping and wrangling cattle – which, by the way, was my favourite thing to do – was so much fun. I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience it.

TM: Faith got really proficient at driving the wagon, which is probably the hardest thing on set for anybody to do, especially crossing those rivers. I remember one of the hairiest river crossings that we did: it was three, four in the morning, it was our 25th wedding anniversary. I'm swimming my horse across the river, she's swimming her wagon across the river, and there was real fear there.

She was fearful because of the situation she was in, which played well on-screen, and I was really fearful for my real wife. So I think it added an authenticity that might not have been there otherwise.

:: 1883 is available as a box set on Paramount+ now.

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