James Badge Dale Was Fine Dying In 1923 Just To Work With Harrison Ford And Helen Mirren

The following article contains spoilers for "1923."

The juggernaut "Yellowstone" started creator Taylor Sheridan's Dutton family universe. The series, set in the present day, has spawned the prequels "1883" and "1923," giving fans the tragic backstory of the ranching family in Montana. Like "1883" did with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, who played Margaret and James Dutton, "1923" nabbed some big-name actors in Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, who play Jacob and Cara Dutton. 

The saga of the Dutton family is a dark one, with James and Margaret's daughter Elsa (Isabel May) dying from an arrow wound in "1883." James dies after an attack, and Margaret freezes to death in the snow. Jacob and Cara come to take over the ranch and raise the surviving sons John (James Badge Dale) and Spencer (Brandon Sklenar). That isn't the end of the deaths, though, and John Dutton (who was played by Audie Rick in "1883" and Jack Michael Doke in "Yellowstone" flashbacks) was killed in the first season of "1923."

Badge Dale sat through interviews during the initial press junket, all the while knowing he wasn't going to make it to the end of the season. In fact, he knew from the beginning that he wasn't going to live to see his and his wife Emma's (Marley Shelton) son Jack (Darren Mann) have kids. Badge Dale spoke to Newsweek in January after his death scene aired on the Paramount+ series and spoke about not only what he knew but also the benefit of working even for a short time on "1923." 

'Taylor was straight up and honest with me'

Badge Dale said that he was told right from the beginning, but there were still benefits to a short stint on the series. He explained: 

"Taylor was straight up and honest with me. He said, 'I want to bring you in to kill you.' You don't get many opportunities to work with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, and have a couple of gunfights, and drive some cattle up to the top of mountains in Montana. So it was a tremendous two-month life experience for me as a person and as an actor."

That's easy to understand. People would give their left arm to simply stand in the same room as Ford and Mirren. I mean, you've got the Academy Award-nominated star of the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises, and the Academy and Emmy Award-winning star of "The Queen," "Gosford Park," and "F9: The Fast Saga." That's nothing to sneeze at. Add in Taylor Sheridan, aka the busiest man in the entertainment industry this side of Kevin Feige, and no actor could turn this down, even knowing they won't make it for long. 

It's interesting that Sheridan actually told him about the death because often, the actors don't get the scripts until shortly before shooting. During the press junket, Badge Dale told me in our interview that even coming up with a backstory is tough because Sheridan will often "write something else the next day. Then all the work goes out the window." 

"1923" is streaming on Paramount+.