1923 Star Recalls Unexpected Challenges on Yellowstone Prequel

In a recent interview, 1923 Spencer Dutton actor, Brandon Sklenar, recalls unexpected challenges while the Yellowstone prequel series in Africa.


With 1923 set to return in a week, star Brandon Sklenar recently recalled unexpected challenges on the set of the prequel show. Sklenar stars as Spencer Dutton, the youngest son of 1883 main characters, James (Tim McGraw) and Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill). Suffering from PTSD from serving in World War I, Spencer decided to stay away from the Yellowstone ranch and live in Africa as a hunter. There he meets Alexandra “Alex” (Julia Schlaepfer), a betrothed British woman, sparking a heated romance.

During a drive through the bush, Spencer and Alex’s car is flipped by a charging elephant. About to be trampled to death, Spencer shoots the animal, killing it. Sklenar recently sat down with TVLine and recalled challenges he faced while filming with animals on the African 1923 set. The actor admitted that he found working with elephants to be both difficult and memorable. Read what Sklenar said about the experience below:

Elephants. Elephants. I spent a lot of time with those elephants. When we were flipped over in the car — the elephant charges us, the car flips over — they’re trying to get the elephant to charge so it can do that second hit just before I have to shoot it through the windshield.

The elephants are just kind of slow, kind of do what they want. We’re laying in the car on the ground, in order to get the elephant over to us, they give us a bunch of oranges… Then we’d be like calling the elephant over with the oranges. Instead of running over, he’d just kind of like trot over. And they got these big hairy lips [laughs]. It’s just great because you’re in the middle of a scene trying to hold this emotion and this intensity, and then you got this massive elephant saunters over, slowly eating oranges out of your hand. I was laying, l iterally laying under an elephant, just two feet from it. Just looking up at it going, “Well, this is bonkers.”


What to Expect When 1923 Returns

Spencer and Alex’s close-call with the elephant left a massive carcass that ends up attracting hyenas and lions to the area. The hungry animals force the couple into the trees where they must defend themselves all night from the ravenous creatures. Although they are rescued, the brush with death causes Spencer and Alex to reevaluate their situation, persuading them to quit hunting and leave for a remote island getaway in Zanzibar. There they eventually learn that the Spencer family back at the Yellowstone ranch desperately needs his help.

Alex decides to read through Spencer’s unopened letters and discovers a three-month-old message from his aunt Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) explaining that his uncle Jacob (Harrison Ford) has been shot, and his brother John Dutton Sr. (James Badge Dale) was killed in an ambush as desperate sheep herders have come for the Yellowstone ranch’s grazing land. The 1923 mid-season trailer promises an arduous journey as Spencer and Alex attempt to return to the United States. The remaining episodes of season 1 will likely center on the couple’s intercontinental trek to back to Montana while Cara, Jack Dutton (Darren Mann), Zane Davis (Brian Geraghty), and their loyal ranch hands repel the growing forces who wish to take the Yellowstone for themselves.

With wealthy businessman Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton) gaining interest in the land, and bankrolling Banner Creighton’s (Jerome Flynn) Yellowstone takeover attempt, the remaining Duttons find themselves at war against antagonists who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Cara has already proven herself a capable leader and must lead the Dutton family while Jacob heals from a near-fatal gunshot wound. With 1923 returning February 5 on Paramount+, audiences do not have to wait much longer to see if Spencer makes it back home in time.


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