Tim McGraw Says Faith Hill Upped His Acting Skills on ‘1883’: ‘She Elevated My Game Every Day’
Tim McGraw already had some screen acting experience when he signed on to play James Dutton in the Paramount+ Yellowstone prequel 1883, but he says that he took his acting skills to a whole new level thanks to his co-star: His fellow country superstar wife Faith Hill.
"Her and I had never acted together. We'd never done anything on-screen together, other than videos," McGraw explains during a new appearance on The Tonight Show Starring JImmy Fallon.
"She blew me away every single day. She was so nervous, and you know, she'd done two movies before," he continues. "And I'd done a handful of movies, but she showed up every day and just blew me away. She elevated my game every day."
McGraw and Hill had a unique challenge ahead of them when they signed on for 1883. Especially because they were appearing onscreen as a married couple, they ran the risk of the audience simply seeing them as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, two famous country stars. They wanted to avoid that, McGraw says— if they were going to act in a show, both stars agreed that they wanted to truly immerse themselves in their characters.
"We said, 'It's gonna be tough, because people are gonna see Faith and Tim onscreen, and we have to overcome that,'" McGraw remembers. "So we sort of gave each other a high five, gave each other a kiss, and said, 'You know what, the only way to do it is to try to be good at it.'"
There were a few points in the show where the real McGraw and Hill shone through the characters, though. In particular, McGraw remembers a scene where Hill had to slap him. They'd agreed the slap had to be real — no fake TV slaps — but McGraw started to have second thoughts after Hill started hitting him — hard.
"After about the eighth take, I was concussed a bit, and I told her afterward, 'Do we need to talk?!'" he jokes. "'Is there something going on I don't know about?' Because I was expecting a good finger slap. No, it was a paw."
McGraw and Hill recently wrapped their time in the Yellowstone world with the conclusion of 1883. While the two stars might be finished playing James and Margaret Dutton, fans of the show don't need to say goodbye to Yellowstone prequels just yet: The show is pivoting to another prequel sequence, this time set in Arkansas and starring a new cast of characters.