Sam Elliott on ‘Yellowstone’? ‘I Passed’
If you ever thought Sam Elliott would fit right in with the modern day Duttons on Yellowstone, you're not alone. Creator Taylor Sheridan offered the 1883 star a part on the Kevin Costner-led show a year ago, before negotiating with him to play Shea Brennan, a 19th century trail leader.
"I’d never crossed paths with him before," Elliott tells Jefferson White on the Official Yellowstone Podcast. "I'd certainly seen his work and seen stuff that he'd written. I've watched Sons of Anarchy and knew him as an actor. When I first discovered him as a writer was in Sicario and I thought, 'Wow how can one guy have so many talents going for him?'"
The admiration was there, but the part wasn't quite what Elliott was looking for at the time. So, "I passed on it, but during that time that he made that offer to me, we started talking," the actor shares.
Those conversations would lead to his casting as Shea Brennan, one of the central characters in 1883 on Paramount+. Elliott says the writing is what's most important to him — there was a time in his career where he'd take any role, but at some point, he decided he needed to do good work.
"Good work for me has always been born on the page first, so it's always about the script."
1883 star Tim McGraw's journey to the show is not unlike Elliott's. What began as a conversation about a cameo appearance on Yellowstone blossomed into a leading role. In his case, he accepted a small role as James Dutton for Yellowstone before the larger plot line was fully developed. In fact, it wasn't until weeks (or months!) later that Sheridan called him with an offer to star in 1883.
On set, McGraw and Elliott got along very well. During a recent visit with Stephen Colbert, the country singer recalled missing a line. The senior actor subtly jabbed him for it.
"I walk back to Sam and I say, 'Gosh Sam, I'm sorry. I forgot my line,'" McGraw says. "And Sam goes, 'I noticed.'"