“[Creator] Taylor Sheridan likes to write for the actor and the personality of the actor that is going to play the role,” the Oscar winner, 77, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the Yellowstone spinoff’s Sunday, December 18, premiere. “Cara is very much — as Jacob is constructed around Harrison [Ford] and Harrison’s personal qualities — Cara is constructed around me.”
The Queen actress thinks her character reflects her “sense of humor” as well as her “stoicism,” professionalism and love. “But it’s a tough love,” Mirren added. “It’s not a sentimental love.”
The Woman in Gold star also imbued her portrayal of Cara, who is Irish, with faith. “She’s a Christian — a Catholic — and I think she has carried that faith with her,” the Tony Award winner told Us. “She doesn’t advertise it, it’s not a big thing. I wanted to have a little crucifix up on the set, but I said, ‘It’s gotta be really small.’ … If you don’t notice it, it’s fine, but it’s just a little indication of where Cara’s faith is. So, I do think she’s a woman of faith, but at the same time she’s practical, she’s down-to-earth and she’s realistic.”
While Cara may share some personality traits with the Prime Suspect alum, Mirren noted that she would have trouble fitting in on the ranch in real life. “I could never be a pioneer woman. I like my comfort too much,” she quipped. “I want my electric blanket at night.”
The Fate of the Furious actress stars alongside Ford, 80, in 1923, which follows some of the Dutton family’s ancestors in the era of the Great Depression. The Star Wars actor plays the uncle of John Dutton Sr. (James Badge Dale) — who is the grandfather of Yellowstone‘s John Dutton (Kevin Costner). — while Mirren plays Jacob’s wife, Cara.
Brian Geraghty, who plays ranch foreman Zane, told Us that Ford and Mirren helped keep the vibe light while the cast filmed the show’s heavier moments. “Harrison and Helen definitely provide that kind of atmosphere,” the Boardwalk Empire alum, 47, explained. “It always comes from the top, from the No. 1’s down, and fortunately, they’re two great leaders.”
Darren Mann, who appears as Jacob and Cara’s great-nephew Jack Dutton, credited Sheridan, 52, with assembling an “amazing” cast and crew. “He must be very diligent in his [hiring] process, because camaraderie on set was always so great,” the Canada native, 33, told Us. “People weren’t stressing out or freaking out. Everyone worked so well together, and it was such a great work environment.”
1923 premieres on Paramount+ Sunday, December 18.
With reporting by Leanne Aciz Stanton