Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford Spent 30 Years Preparing for ‘1923’

6 mins read

Because they’ve had 30 years to prepare, Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford’s portrayal as a married couple in 1923 will be believable.

That’s according to Mirren, who talked to Newsweek ahead of the highly anticipated Yellowstone prequel series, 1923, premiering on September 21. The show is the latest addition to Taylor Sheridan’s iconic Yellowstone world, following the Dutton family saga after the events of 1883, the preceding prequel series.

Cara Dutton (Mirren) and Jacob Dutton (Ford) play the proprietors of Montana’s Yellowstone ranch in the early twentieth century. When the casting was revealed, it constituted a surprise reunion for the couple, who had previously worked together in the 1980s.

Mirren was asked what effort she and Ford did behind the scenes to prepare for their marriage in 1923.

“That’s really interesting you ask that because basically the answer is nothing,” Mirren told Newsweek. “The work we had put in, in a sense, had been happening over the last 30 years since we last worked together, and the work we put into living life and surviving life and carrying on and getting to be the ages that we are. That was ‘the work,’ if you like.”

Viewers of a particular age may recall seeing them in the film version of Paul Theroux’s novel The Mosquito Coast. Mirren and Ford starred in the 1986 drama as a married couple who leave America to raise their children in a jungle in Central America. The film was a box office disappointment, although Ford has stated that he has no regrets about appearing in it.

Mirren is now 77, and Ford is 80, and despite the fact that they hadn’t worked together in 36 years, they quickly reestablished a rhythm.

Early previews show Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) in distress as well as Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford) on the range. “1923” launches on Paramount+ on December 18, 2022.Emerson Miller / James Minchin III/Paramount+ Emerson Miller / James Minchin III/Paramount+

“I think the fact that we had previously worked together completely impacted the minute we saw each other,” she explained. “‘Good day, Harrison. How are you doing? ‘How are you doing?’ ‘I’m OK,’ he said. Helen, how are you doing? It’s great to see you.

“And we were immediately just kind of weirdly connected at the hip and loving each other. We’re very, very close to each other now and I think that really manifests itself on the screen,” Mirren said. “What you see on the screen is very similar to how we are now off the screen, except we don’t get into bed together,” she joked. While Mirren and Ford resumed acting together without skipping a beat, some of their co-stars in 1923 took a moment to appreciate the fact that they were working with screen legends.

Darren Mann, who plays their great-nephew Jack Dutton, told Newsweek how it felt coming face to face with them for the first time. “I was at a wardrobe fitting getting ready,” he said. “They’re taking some pictures of me, and all of a sudden I hear this bang, bang on the door. The door flings open and it felt like I was watching Indiana Jones walking in, like I’d seen this scene before.

“There was Harrison Ford in this cowboy hat. I was speechless for a second, because here he is. There’s Indiana Jones, there’s Han Solo, there’s my childhood icon. “He’s so cool, so down to earth. It’s easy to chat to the guy, and that became evident right away, and he made it such a special time on set,” Mann said. His onscreen fiancée, Michelle Randolph, who plays Elizabeth Strafford, was similarly starstruck.

“I met them both at cowboy camp. Harrison perched on one of the gates around the arena that we were running around, and I didn’t realize it was him at first because he was so casual and chill, then I noticed some of the wranglers starting to get really nervous and like, ‘oh, that’s Harrison Ford.'” She continued, “And Helen, she’s just so sweet. The first time I met her she came and sat and had breakfast with us before we started. She was so lovely.” James Badge Dale, who plays an older version of John Dutton Sr. in 1923, said, “I’m still so struck with how kind and open they are, and giving in their humility, both Helen and Harrison.” “Meeting them was definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment,” said Marley Shelton, who plays Dale’s on-screen wife. 1923 begins Sunday, December 18, on Paramount+.

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