Harrison Ford has rarely been seen on the small screen since “Star Wars” made him a superstar. But almost five decades later, that’s about to change with the series “1923”. Derived from “Yellowstone,” a modern Wild West tale that has become a hit on US cable television, “1923” follows the ancestors of the powerful Dutton clan and their Montana estate.
“This story is a very complex and ambitious epic,” said Ford in an interview with AFP in Los Angeles ahead of the Paramount+ series premiere. Ford, who spent time repeatedly alternating between television roles before playing “Star Wars” Captain Han Solo and adventurer Indiana Jones, explained what prompted him to temporarily step away from the big screen. Persuaded.
“The script. The history. A complex character. Working with amazing actors. I work out!” he said jokingly. Ford isn’t the only star to sign up for “1923”. Actor and Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars as Jacob and Kara Dutton, respectively, a long-married couple fighting to protect their land and livestock from bears, wolves and jealous neighbors. Timothy Dalton is the epitome of the villain of the series.
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Ford will appear in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate” and various Marvel superhero productions next year, and his involvement in “1923” is part of a larger trend in the entertainment industry. Stars such as Al Pacino or Meryl Streep have embraced the small screen in this so-called “Golden Age of Television”.
The arrival on the scene of streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ has developed a competitive and lucrative workplace, prompting other networks to follow suit. “It’s just following a good script,” said Ford. “Scripts can be found in films and on television, and I’ve found good scripts on television. That’s why I wanted to do it.”
But few chains have enjoyed the success of “Yellowstone” in recent years. The season five premiere broke viewership records, drawing 12 million viewers to the relatively small Paramount cable network. At the time this number was surpassed by “Game of Thrones”. The series, which appeals to the conservative heartland of the United States, has launched a prequel about the Dutton family titled “1883” starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
But “this particular Dutton saga has a different type of character than the previous two,” Ford noted in “1923”. “They each have a character that I think is really interesting and powerful,” he explained. To Helen Mirren, “1923” sounds less like a Wild West production and more “like a giant Russian novel”.
“It’s a wonderful perspective and essay on American history,” said the actress. Dalton remarked that the truth about pioneers in the West “isn’t told honestly, is it?” He added, “They have molded themselves into idealism… When people are in bad circumstances they are not very good.”
In the series, Ford is often seen riding a horse in the high mountains of northwestern Montana, just a few hours’ drive from the remote ranch in neighboring Wyoming where the actor has lived for decades.
In the first episode, his character is confronted by a sheep farmer who claims the size of Dutton’s property, as his neighbors struggle to keep their flocks on adjacent land. The question of who really owns the majestic American West is a common theme in “Yellowstone,” which puts Native Americans as well as planters on screen.
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It’s an issue that resonates even with Ford, who left California in the sunny West for Wyoming in the 1980s in search of privacy. The actor is also an environmental activist and has donated hundreds of acres of his property for environmental protection.
Does “1923” hold lessons for the United States to resolve its never-ending debate about its most precious resource? Ford said, “There are opinions about the land, which are not mine.” “But love for the land is a complex subject. What does it mean to a particular person in a particular place or time,” he said.