‘1923’: Star Michelle Randolph On That Painful Moment In Finale And What Fans Always Want To Know About Her Character
SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot points from the finale of 1923 on Paramount+.
The first season of 1923 ended Sunday with not one but three rather dismal developments: Spencer Dutton (Brendan Sklenar) and his wife Alex (Julia Schlaepfer) were torn apart at sea, Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton) told Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford) that he pretty much owns him after having paid the property taxes on Yellowstone, and Elizabeth Dutton (Michelle Randolph) lost the first baby she conceived with her new husband Jack (Darren Mann). Leave it to creator Taylor Sheridan to keep things challenging and sad as hell in his Yellowstone-verse!
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Here, actress Randolph — a relative newcomer whose credits include The Resort and The Undertaker’s Wife — talks about shooting that heartbreaking scene with Mann. She also reveals who she likes spending time with now that production has wrapped and what fans always want to talk about if they ever meet her on the street.
DEADLINE While you were shooting your scenes in Montana, did you know was going on with these other two other major storylines involving Spencer and Alex, and the residential school?
RANDOLPH I’m very close with Julia and Aminah Nieves (who plays Teonna Rainwater). We kept each other updated on what was happening. They filmed some of the finale in Long Beach at the Queen Mary so I popped by to support Julia in those last scenes. It was very convenient. I live in L.A. with Aminah and Julia. We’re all attached at the hip. We have so much fun and it’s nice because we get to bond over all the memories that we made in Montana. It just feels like we all understand each other. We’ve kind of been inseparable since the show wrapped in December. We sit together and watch the episodes every week.
DEADLINE Did you know at the beginning of the season that your character was going to have a tough road, culminating with the loss of a baby at the end of the season?
RANDOLPH I know Taylor’s writing because I watched 1883. I had only read the first three episodes when I booked the job, so I didn’t know what was going to happen exactly. But I had a few ideas and I have not been disappointed in all of the growth that Elizabeth has gone through, the hardship. I think it really deepens the love story between Elizabeth and Jack. It’s made them stronger as a couple.
DEADLINE Does Elizabeth attribute the loss of her baby to anything that’s happened at the ranch since she’s been there?
RANDOLPH I don’t think that even crosses her mind. The Dutton family is her family and Yellowstone is her life. I think it might be a little too painful to think that it was caused by anything that has to do with the Duttons or Yellowstone. It’s just something she has to work through.
DEADLINE That was such a beautiful scene between Elizabeth and Jack (Darren Mann) in the moments after her loss.
RANDOLPH It’s a very intimate scene and I wanted to be really careful with it because it’s something that a lot of women have experienced. Same with Darren. We had each other and our director was really helpful in just creating a safe space to feel those emotions.
DEADLINE You’ve had a lot of scenes with Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford. What has it been like to be on set with them? Have you questioned Harrison a lot about his films, about Star Wars?
RANDOLPH I have not asked Harrison questions about Star Wars yet, but I will be getting there. I don’t want to bombard him too much, but he’s lovely. So is Helen. They’re both so easy to get along with and chat with and I’ve learned so much. When I wasn’t filming with them and was on set, I would just sit behind the monitor and watch because it was like a masterclass. I will take things I learned from them both into the rest of my career.
DEADLINE Do you have any idea where you and Jack are in the Dutton lineage?
RANDOLPH I have not been told anything. I have my own suspicions, but nothing has been confirmed and it’s definitely something we go back and forth on as a cast. Random people have like sent me things online about people arguing over who it would make sense for me to be …. the grandmother of Kevin Costner? So I don’t know, but I definitely hope it’s Jack and me because that would be fun.
DEADLINE Perhaps that’s something you can text Taylor about.
RANDOLPH I don’t know if he would respond if I texted him about that.
DEADLINE You weren’t really on a horse much this scene. But they still sent you to Cowboy Camp, right?
RANDOLPH No I wasn’t, which is why I think that Cowboy Camp is really just a chance for us all to bond and get comfortable before we start filming, which really did help. But I would love to see Elizabeth on a horse.
DEADLINE Tell me how you were first cast.
RANDOLPH I had heard of Yellowstone for many years. My dad is a huge fan so when I got the audition, the first person I thought of was him. I knew that Helen and Harrison had been cast and I fell in love with Elizabeth. My dad was at my house watching my cats when I was testing in Jackson Hole. When I got home and Taylor called me, I was with my dad. We were like sitting in the backyard and I was drinking a margarita to calm my nerves. Then Taylor Sheridan pops up on my phone screen. It was kind of surreal, but even more surreal because I was with my dad and he was equally as excited, maybe even more excited than I was.
DEADLINE When you are out and about, do folks recognize you from 1923? And if they do, what do they ask you about?
RANDOLPH They want to know about the family tree. My family is convinced that I know and that I’m just secretly not telling them for some reason. I’m like, ‘I would tell you guys if I knew. I swear.’
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