Paramount+ is pulling out all the stops to launch Yellowstone prequel 1883. The ViacomCBS-backed streamer has cast Sam Elliott, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in the prequel to the Paramount Network drama starring Kevin Costner.
Picked up straight to series in February as creator Taylor Sheridan inked a new nine-figure overall deal with ViacomCBS, 1883 follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana.
Elliott will play Shea Brennan, a tough cowboy with immense sadness in his past. He has the herculean task of guiding a group from Texas to Montana, and he does not suffer fools. McGraw and Hill will portray James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton family, respectively.
“It all starts with the writing, and Taylor Sheridan is a brilliant writer,” said Elliott. “I think the western genre speaks clearly to both of us. The classic struggles of man against man, man against nature, and man against himself. It’s all there, in 1883, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Sheridan exec produces alongside John Linson, Art Linson, David Glasser, David Hutkin and Bob Yari. The first promo for the series aired earlier this year as an ad during the Super Bowl, if that’s any indication of how much Paramount+ wants to turn Yellowstone into a franchise for Paramount+.
“Yellowstone is a massive hit show with tens of millions of fans — with 1883, we are taking those fans back to the origin story, and in the process, turning the Yellowstone world into a global hit franchise to fuel the growth of Paramount+,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group. “We are thrilled to have Sam, Tim and Faith as the stars of Taylor Sheridan’s new series exclusively for Paramount+ around the world.”
Grammy-winner McGraw’s previous acting credits include Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side. He’s repped by CAA and Em.co’s Scott Siman. Hill, a five-time Grammy winner and McGraw’s real-life wife, most recently starred in indie feature Dixieland. She’s with CAA and Jason Owen of Sandbox Entertainment.
“This is truly a dream job,” said Tim McGraw. “Taylor has found a way of storytelling that brilliantly creates these epic dramas and family sagas with so much depth and creativity. The Duttons are tremendous characters and it’s so thrilling to be able to bring them to life. As a kid growing up riding horses, you think about dream jobs like this and I am just so excited to work with this amazing cast and crew.”
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Faith Hill. “The Duttons are a formidable family and it is an absolute dream to bring such a strong female character like Margaret Dutton to life. I am humbled and honored to work with Taylor and his entire team.”
Elliott is an Oscar-nominated actor whose credits include A Star Is Born, The Big Lebowski, Tombstone and TV’s The Ranch, Justified and Peacock’s upcoming MacGruber update. He’s with Gersh and Berwick & Kovacik.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.