1923 star shares why he agreed to role despite early exit
16th January 2023

1923: Official trailer starring Harrison Ford

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The first season of 1923, Taylor Sheridan’s latest prequel to his epic Western series Yellowstone, is currently on a midseason break but has already delivered plenty of shocks and surprises. One of the biggest twists arrived in episode three, which brutally killed off John Dutton Sr (played by James Badge Dale) in a tragic twist of fate no one saw coming.

Supporting star James has revealed why he agreed to sign on to 1923 despite appearing in just three episodes of the Yellowstone spin-off.

Season one’s first handful of episodes culminated in an intense shootout when sheep farmers revolted against Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford) and his family.

The ambush was led by Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn), who has a vendetta against the Duttons for preventing his flock from feeding on their land.

While Jacob just about managed to make it out alive, James’ time on the series came to an end much sooner than expected when John Sr caught a stray bullet.

“Taylor was very upfront with me from the beginning,” the star has since recalled.

“He said, ‘This is what the character is, what I would like to do.’ Taylor gave me the first three episodes, and that’s all I read.

“So I knew what I was going into and what the job would entail. It’s just a beautiful piece of writing, and I was glad to be a part of it.”

James was clearly thrilled to be a part of the Yellowstone franchise despite his character’s tragic fate early in the series.

However, many fans were still left stunned by John Sr’s death given the fact a relatively high-profile actor had been cast in the role.

Outside of his work in 1923, James has appeared in popular blockbusters like Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger and World War Z and Martin Scorsese’s crime drama The Departed.

He most recently appeared in the cult horror flick The Empty Man shortly before his short-lived time on the Yellowstone prequel.

The 1923 star has since explained the chance of getting to work with Taylor and A-listers like Harrison and Helen Mirren was well worth getting killed off so early.

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“This is why I was there,” he said of his time alongside the Star Wars and Indiana Jones star.

“That’s the gift that Taylor gave me. I don’t like dying [on TV]. I’ve done it a lot.

“I feel like I leave a piece of me every time, and you’re giving a piece that you don’t get back again.

“But Harrison gave me something else that I could replace it with. He’s a very kind, generous actor. I’m just really appreciative for that time I spent with him.”

Many of James and Harrison’s scenes saw the actors travelling on horseback over the vast plains of Montant, and the star remembers plenty of powerful memories from his time on set.

“A lot of the memories, you need to keep personal,” he told TV Insider.

“But what I will say is, he said to me one morning, ‘I’m still struck by how lucky I am.’

“And I said, ‘I feel the same way.’ We’re lucky to be there. You could not get that guy to go back to the trailer.”

James’ next projects are currently being kept under wraps, though there’s still a chance he could reprise his role as John Sr in the confirmed second season of 1923.

1923 season 1 continues Sunday, February 5 on Paramount+.

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