Tim McGraw and Faith Hill had a 25th wedding anniversary to remember on the set of yellowstone prequel 1883 — though perhaps not for the most pleasant of reasons.
The country singers, who have been married since 1996, play husband and wife James and Margaret Dutton in Taylor Sheridan’s 10-part spin-off series.
1883 follows the Duttons, who initially settled on what would become Yellowstone Ranch – the great-grandparents of the character played by Kevin Costner in the original show.
“There wasn’t much sleep. That was probably the hardest part,” McGraw revealed of his on-set experience in an interview with Yahoo ahead of Paramount+’s UK launch.
He added, “We were probably shooting six days a week for six months, doing 12 to 14 hours a day. We were in the elements all the time, always on horseback and everything was physical.”
The 55-year-old actor said Sheridan was motivated by his desire to “be authentic in every little detail,” which meant the filming process prioritized exquisite period details over modern comforts.
McGraw confessed that this level of arduous filming continued regardless of the occasion, including in the early hours of his and Hill’s silver wedding anniversary.
He said, “Faith was driving a wagon the whole time. One time in particular, she is driving a wagon across a river at four o’clock in the morning at 38 degrees and I am swimming a horse alongside her. This was our 25th anniversary of wedding.”
Hill added: “It was pretty intense at four in the morning, crossing a river in a wagon. That was quite a thing.”
McGraw said that he and Hill were able to channel their real-world dynamics to film some of the most challenging and difficult sequences.
“Part of the great dynamic of being a real husband and wife and then husband and wife on screen is that I had a genuine fear for her while we were doing it,” he said.
“We were in a lot of dangerous situations in some of the things we had to do. So her fear and my fear for her, it’s all real. It’s between a real couple and a fictional couple.”
Given Sheridan’s devotion to period detail, McGraw found the filming process intense and struggled to get rid of James Dutton’s character until production finally wrapped.
McGraw said, “In the five or six months we shot, we hardly played [the character] off. In fact, there were a few times [Hill] told me that I needed to take a shower because I was trying to look real dirty and authentic to the whole thing.
“She’s probably going to say something different from her point of view, because I think she missed [the character] when it’s all over. For me, when it was all over, I was pretty tired and ready to be done.
“Everything we did was physical. It was 110 degrees or minus five degrees, so we rarely had a comfortable day.
“Meanwhile, I was flying in at night to do shows. There were days when I didn’t sleep at all, so by the time we finished filming the show, I was ready to dump James. I was ready to shave that beard too.”
For Hill, it was a different experience and she confessed that she felt “a little depressed” when she had to say goodbye to Margaret.
She said: “We were ready to finish once we filmed it, but most of us went through a little bit of depression after the finale after we all went our separate ways and got home.
“We were so immersed in that world and we lived that life. We became these people. It took a moment to bring them down. There will always be a part of Margaret inside of me. It took a while to get rid of these people. Because we love them so much and the experience.”
Hill said the experience of saying goodbye 1883 and the yellowstone world was something she hadn’t experienced with previous acting jobs.
“I’m being honest, it took probably a few weeks. I was really sad. I was depressed. I’d never had that experience before anything I’d done professionally. I really hadn’t,” said the 54-year-old.
She added: “I think it was another validation that the story was so powerful and so unifying. The only thing I can say is that, on this journey, we just know and learn and are reminded that we have a lot in common with one another. .
“You’re really just trying to find the best for your family and trying to survive and stay together. It’s that simple, but it was one of the hardest hikes in the entire country.”
With the intensity of filming in mind, it’s perhaps surprising that McGraw is eager to grow his facial fuzz again and reprise the role if a feature film opportunity arises.
He said, “I don’t imagine any flashbacks or anything like that. That show was such a big show and the actors were all so good in it that I would hate to go back and dilute it with flashbacks.
“But I could see that a 1883 movie can be really good, where you see what happened after they got to Montana.”
Hill said she and her husband will continue to pursue acting opportunities, but Sheridan has set a difficult act to follow with. 1883.
“Tim and I were approached for probably 18 years or so to do something in the movie together. We read everything. Nothing captured us until that, so that says something right here,” Hill said.
She added: “We’re looking at things separately like we’ve always done, but there are good songs, there are great songs, and there are songs that change everything – and that’s how it feels. It was just one of those moments where everything just is something we’re proud of. and honored to be a part.”
the cast of 1883 also includes Sam Elliott, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett, Marc Rissmann and Audie Rick.
Yellowstone: 1883 is available for streaming on Paramount+.