Billy Bob Thornton Reuniting With Tim McGraw in ‘1883’

Billy Bob Thornton has been announced to join the cast of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Yellowstone prequel, 1883, and the news marks a reunion of sorts between the Goliath star and Tim McGraw.

Deadline reports that Thornton will appear on the upcoming Paramount+ prequel to Yellowstone in the guest role of Marshal Jim Courtright alongside McGraw and his wife Faith Hill, who star in the show as James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton clan. They are the great-grandparents of Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone character, John Dutton, who owns the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the United States and rules it with an iron fist.

1883 follows their family as they journey west under difficult circumstances from Texas to Montana, where they will end up establishing the ranch that serves as the setting for the runaway hit show on Paramount Network.

Thornton and McGraw previously starred together in the acclaimed 2004 film Friday Night Lights, in which Thornton played a small-town Texas football coach who’s desperately trying to lead his team to a championship victory. McGraw played the alcoholic father of one of the team members, who had once been a young local football star himself and is trying to hold onto his fading glory by pushing his son too hard.

Other actors announced for 1883 include Isabel May (Alexa & Katie), who will play the role of James and Margaret Dutton’s oldest daughter, Elsa. Her character will provide much of the show’s perspective as the Dutton family makes an arduous journey by wagon train with a number of other families trying to seek out a better life.

LaMonica Garrett (Designated Survivor, Sons of Anarchy) has also joined 1883 to portray the assistant to Pinkerton agent Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott).

The budgets for the show are reportedly even larger than Yellowstone‘s massive per-episode budgets to address the show’s grand visual scale. The production calls for 30 actual wagon trains that the cameras will follow as they travel, and producers also had to build an entire town to the architecture of the 1880s, as well as recreate authentic guns, saddles, wardrobe and virtually every other piece of physical material that will appear onscreen.

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan wrote all of the scripts for the initial 10-episode first season, and he’s also directing the pilot episode of 1883. The show began shooting in Texas in late August.

The Paramount Network has announced that 1883 will premiere on Dec. 19 via their streaming service, Paramount+. Subscribe to the streaming service to make sure you don’t miss out.

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