Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on acting together for the first time in '1883' and how they spent their 25th anniversary

Real-life husband and wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill talk about working together on 1883 and why, after a lot of offers to appear on screen together, they finally picked this one. They also reflect on the challenging conditions on set, the unique benefits and challenges to playing a couple with your real-life spouse, and the unusual way they spent their 25th wedding anniversary.

Video Transcript

TIM MCGRAW: I believe in you. And I believe in that boy. And I believe in our daughter. And that's all. One afternoon, Faith and I sit sitting at home and the sun was going down. And my phone rang. And it was an unknown number. So most of the time, I don't answer unknown numbers because I never know who it's going to be. But I answered it and it was Taylor Sheridan, who I'd never met before and was a big fan of. And we were big fans of "Yellowstone" anyway.

We small talked for a little while. And he finally got around to the point that he'd called because he wanted me to come do a episode of "Yellowstone". And we talked for a little bit. And I told him we love the show and I'd really love to do it. But I want to come up with something interesting. I don't want to sort of just walk into the bunkhouse, and play guitar, and sing a song, or something like that. I wanted to do something that had some meat on the bones. So he said, give me a couple of weeks and I'll come up with an idea.

So a couple of weeks later, he called and he had the idea of doing some flashbacks, a couple of flashback episodes, of me being the first Dutton to found Yellowstone ranch. And then he said, you're going to have a wife. Do you think Faith would want to do it? And I asked Faith. And she goes, sure.

FAITH HILL: Tim and I have been approached for probably 18 years or more to do something together on film. We've read everything. And nothing ever captured us, ever, until this. That tells you something right there. It's like finding that there's good songs, there's great songs, and there's songs that just change everything. And that's what this feels like.

It's just one of those times everything just came together. And it's just something we're proud and honored to be a part of.

TIM MCGRAW: I mean, it was hard work. It was a tough gig. It wasn't-- probably the hardest gig I've ever had in my life. And I've done a lot of hard gigs. I grew up in Louisiana working on a farm and construction work and all kinds of things. And this is probably the hardest gig I've ever had.

FAITH HILL: It was fascinating, challenging, a lot of hard work. We had a lot of training to do before we actually started filming. We had to be able to ride horses, drive wagons, rope, wrangle cattle, shoot guns properly. Because back in 1883, a lot different than they are now, the costumes, the sets, the location. Oh my God. It was just we truly felt like we were literally on the trail.

TIM MCGRAW: What's I think unique about "1883" is there's no romanticism in "1883". A lot of westerns, people watch westerns and they think, oh man. I would have loved to have lived in that time. I missed my calling. I should have been born during that time and been a cowboy. And then when you see "1883" you realize how difficult it was and how hard-- the hardships, and the things that the settlers and the pioneers had to endure.

We were in the elements the entire time, always on horseback. Everything was physical. Faith was driving a wagon the entire time. I mean, one particular time, she's driving a wagon across a river at 4 o'clock in the morning in 38 degrees. And I'm swimming a horse right alongside her. And that happened to be our 25th wedding anniversary that we were doing that. And part of the great dynamic of being real husband and wife, and then husband and wife on screen, was I had genuine fear for her as we were doing this because it was a dangerous situation.

We were in plenty of dangerous situations in some of the things that we had to do. So her fear, my fear, my fear for her, her fear of doing what she was doing. All that stuff' is real. And it's real between a real couple as well as a fictional couple. Being a husband and wife, and being married for 26 years, and having these personas outside in music that everybody knows us as, we knew we had a hurdle to overcome. We didn't want people to see Tim and Faith on screen.

And so for that reason, we never ran our lines together. We never worked on scenes together. So the first time that Margaret and James were face to face in costume was as the cameras were rolling. So she had no idea what I was going to do, I had no idea what she was going to do. And I think that that was in great part played to people not seeing Tim and Faith, but to seeing Margaret and James.

FAITH HILL: Most of us went through a little bit of a depression after the ending, after we all went our separate ways and went home, because we were so immersed in that world, and that we were living that life. We became those people. And it took a moment to shed them. Margaret is a lot cooler than me. So it was-- I want to go back. It was tough. I mean, it was-- because we put everything into it. It was tough to leave it. It was easy to leave when we left because we were tired and ready to go. But then once we got home, it was like, oh wow. This is--

I'm being honest, it took me probably a couple of weeks. I really was sad. I was depressed. I'd never had that experience before after anything that I had done professionally. I really haven't.

TIM MCGRAW: For me, when it was all over, I was pretty tired. So I was ready for it to be done because I was-- everything we did was physical. And it was either 110 degrees or it was minus 5 degrees. So we rarely had a day that was comfortable. And in the meantime, I was flying off in the evenings and going and do concerts. So I was doing a few concerts in the middle of filming. So I would-- there were days where I didn't get any sleep at all. So by the time we were done with shooting the show, I was ready to shed James. And I was ready to shave that beard too.