The Yellowstone universe just expanded once again, with the recent release of the all-new prequel series, 1923. Available to stream on Paramount+, the series features a truly star-studded cast of actors, including Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.
Yellowstone fans both young and old have enjoyed the superstars’ take on the Dutton family universe. For Mirren, the project was a chance to refine some new skills – including driving a buggy, a task at which she proved to be surprisingly adept.
What role does Helen Mirren have in ‘1923’?
1923 is a prequel series to the hit show Yellowstone. The series, which debuted on Paramount+ in December 2022, details a generation of the Dutton family, helmed by patriarch Jacob Dutton, played by Ford, and his wife Cara Dutton, portrayed by Mirren. According to IMDb, 1923 is set to run for two seasons, with eight episodes per season.
Cara Dutton is a tough, no-nonsense woman, who supports her husband in his efforts to protect the Dutton ranch against rich visitors interested in co-opting the Western lifestyle. Along the way, the Duttons deal with the effects of Prohibition and the beginning stages of the Great Depression.
Helen Mirren adapted quickly to driving a buggy
Mirren dove right into the world of the Duttons, learning how to shoot a gun and drive a buggy. In short order, Mirren became a pro at buggy driving, with the show’s horse wrangler, Diane Branagan, describing Mirren as a quick study. “She’s a sponge, a total sponge and just a delight. She really pays attention to what you say and then applies it very much the way you say it,” Branagan told AARP in a recent profile on Mirren.
Branagan went on to note “When you’re driving a horse, you have to be ahead in thinking about what it is you want them to do. She is really good at being able to know 50 feet out what she wants to do and have the horse do that. What helps is that she has so much feel. She just gets it.”
What did Helen Mirren say about refusing to ride horses for ‘1923’?
Although Mirren was excited to play Cara Dutton, embracing the challenge of portraying a strong Irish immigrant in the world of the Wild West, there was one stunt that made the veteran actor draw the line. “I said right at the beginning to Taylor, ‘I don’t ride,’” Mirren told Entertainment Tonight about an early conversation with 1923 creator Taylor Sheridan. “I can’t ride. I’ve fallen off a horse many times. And I’m not afraid of being on a horse, but I don’t know how to ride a horse. So, he said, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll put you in a buggy.’ So, I got to learn how to guide a buggy and that was great. Bit like learning how to drive a car, really, in a way.”
Fans who want to catch up with Mirren’s take on the matriarch of the Dutton family can catch the first season of 1923, which is now streaming on Paramount+.