Taylor Sheridan’s “1923” just wrapped up its first season on Paramount+ and it was a doozy.
Not only did the feud between Harrison Ford’s Jacob Dutton and Timothy Dalton’s Donald Whitfield reach a boiling point (which is really something considering everything that’s already come before) but the seemingly never-ending journey of Brand Sklenar’s Spencer Dutton and Julia Schlaepfer’s Alexandra to return to the ranch hit a major setback when they run into Alexandra’s ex-fiancé and he challenges Spencer to a duel.
TheWrap spoke to Sklenar about what it was like filming the finale, including a supernatural encounter with a ghost while on the Queen Mary, whether he knows where his character is headed (hopefully towards some scenes with Harrison Ford) and, of course, we get into the issue of John Dutton’s true lineage. (The finale did offer some helpful clues.)
Major spoilers for the season finale of “1923” follow. If you haven’t watched yet, time to get on your horse and bemoan the lack of hitching posts. This article will be here when you get back!
Season 1 is done. How are you feeling?
Pretty damn good. This finale hits so hard. And it’s been quite a quite a journey just from an audience standpoint, just watching it from that perspective. It’s been pretty wild.
Last time we spoke, it seemed like Spencer and Alexandra were going to get back to the ranch in maybe the next episode. But you’re still not back yet. What’s it like having gone on this whole adventure away from the other actors?
It’s funny, because as actors, I think we were on the same journey as the audience, getting these episodes and waiting to see what’s happening and going, “Man, why don’t we get in there? What’s going on?” And Taylor would just constantly be putting another obstacle in front of us and it’s been a journey. It’s been a journey personally. And as Spencer it’s been quite a journey. I’m honestly just dying to see where it’s going. Because I don’t know how I’m getting back. I don’t know when I’m getting back. It seems like these obstacles just keep getting bigger and bigger.
Can you talk about the filming on the boat? You were from the African bush to what seems like a green screen situation.
Well, no, we were we were on the Queen Mary. There was no blue or green screens on that guy. That entire sequence was filmed on the Queen Mary.
The Queen Mary is supposed to be haunted. Did you have any ghostly interactions?
Someone took a photo, which I have on my phone, of the ballroom where we shot a scene and I’m not kidding probably the most legitimate photo of something I’ve ever seen in my life. There was a person sitting at the piano, playing the piano, like a white figure. If I ever see you in person, I’ll show you this photo. It will blow your mind whether you’re a skeptic or not. It’s pretty wild.
Dealing with an ex-boyfriend is a common experience but getting drawn into a duel is something very different.
I thought well, if anyone’s going to write it, it’s going be Taylor Sheridan. And it didn’t surprise me necessarily. I just thought it was just so devastating. They’re so close to the finish line, at least this first leg of the journey. He’s got a huge journey when he gets home but the priority now is to get the both of them home safely. When they board that ship, his confidence level is so high he’s thinking, Okay, well this is this is the last push and I don’t need to worry about them. I know that she’s upset about it and she’s nervous but it’s okay we can handle it. And just as it is inching further and then they’re on the dance floor and he says, “Are we going to get out of here?” and she’s she wants to show where she came from that she’s strong and independent. And I understood that. But yeah, it’s it’s tough, man.
There’s been a lot of discussion about the lineage of John Dutton and who is his grandfather. The finale maybe gave us some clarification on this, with Liz Strafford having a miscarriage. Does this definitively mean that Spencer and Alexandra are the ones who give birth? Have you talked to Taylor about this?
No, we have not gotten anywhere on that. I would love to know. We all had our opinions going into it. And I was pretty sure for a while there. And at this point, it’s anyone’s guess. There could be another Dutton. Who knows? Could there be a new Dutton that emerged from the woods? The long-lost other brother?
Are you anxious to have some scenes with Harrison Ford?
Yeah. I mean, when I got the role, I was ecstatic about it. I couldn’t believe it. There’s so few remaining people that hold that hold that space in film and in the history of it. And to step in and play with him? I was like, “Yes, yes, yes.” And then I’m like, “When’s it happening?” You know, you get to get episode two, and you’re like, “Okay.” And you get to episode four and you’re like, “Okay, wait a minute.” And then you get to episode six. And you read that and you’re like, “I’m not getting any closer here. We’re running out of time.” And then you get to episode eight, and you’re like, “Well, I see you from afar, Harrison. I see you from afar.” Hopefully next year, they’ll let it happen. I’m hoping it happens. And Helen as well. They’re both just great. We’d love we’d love to have some scenes together.
Has Taylor given you any indication of where season 2 will go?
I don’t know how or where. We’re all going, “Have you heard anything?” I just had lunch with Ben Richardson, our director, yesterday. And I was trying to get some information out of him. And no one knows. Taylor’s putting it together now. And hopefully, we’ll get something soon on our end. And it’ll happen.
Do you have any input as to how your character will evolve?
It’s funny because he is very collaborative. But it’s in this weird way where you’re not even aware that it’s happening. Like he’ll hear you say something or he’ll see you do something and then it’ll find its way into an episode. He’s always drawing inspiration from these corners of interaction and you don’t know where it’s coming from or when it’s happening. But every single person on the show has influence, they inform their characters in so many ways. And I think the longer he knows you, the more he’ll spin these things. You just don’t know where it’s coming from or wanting to come in. But I love that. But whatever that guy puts down is just amazing.
You can watch all of “1923” season 1 on Paramount+ right now.