‘1883’ Costume Designer Says the Cast ‘Embraced What It Would Be Like to Live in 1883’

On Dec. 19, 2021, Paramount released the first episode of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel. 1883 follows the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton family as they travel from Texas to Montana in the hopes of a better life. Costume designer Janie Bryant faced the hefty task of outfitting hundreds of cast members to match the late 19th-century setting. Luckily for her, the cast fully embraced the challenges that came with their new garb.

Isabel May as Elsa, Faith Hill as Margaret, Tim McGraw as James and Audie Rick as John in their 1883 costumes. James and Margaret stand with John and Elsa stands alone with her hat in her hands.
Isabel May as Elsa, Faith Hill as Margaret, Tim McGraw as James and Audie Rick as John in ‘1883’ | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

Is ‘1883’ based on a true story?

1883 is not based on a true story, since it’s a prequel to the fictional Yellowstone. However, the series takes place during a real event in American history — the Westward Expansion. According to Decider, the cultural clashes that broke out in the American West following the Louisana Purchase “serves as a backdrop for 1883.”

While the Duttons are a fictional family, some of the characters in 1883 are loosely based on real figures. For example, Billy Bob Thornton’s character Jim Courtright is a fictional version of Timothy Isaiah Courtright, a sheriff of Fort Worth in the late 19th century, Decider states.

Costume Designer Janie Bryant created stunning Western looks

Janie Bryant’s work on 1883 was hardly her first rodeo. The 47-year-old award-winning costume designer is known for her work on shows such as HBO’s Deadwood and Mad Men. Still, Bryant had her work cut out for her with 1883. “You know, there’s one word to describe it, and that is epic, epic, epic,” she said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“On my first episode, I probably had a thousand extras. And of course, designing the principal cast,” she continued. A lot went into creating the complex, multi-layered garb worn in the 1800s. Bryant notes that the cast made some sacrifices for the sake of authenticity.

“The actresses are all in corsets … riding horses or driving wagons, and the men are all in wool with the heat and the elements, and you can really feel how taxing it was,” Bryant told THR.

“Think about a hundred-degree weather and wearing a camisole, corset, bloomers, bustle pad, petticoat and then putting a costume on top of that. I applaud them for being for going with it,” she continued. “My costume team had gotten some ice packs and other things to try to ease the pain. Sam Elliott was like, ‘I don’t need it. I want to be hot.’ They really embraced what it would be like to live in 1883.”

How many episodes of ‘1883’ are there?

The first episode of 1883 was released on Dec. 19, 2021. The Yellowstone prequel will consist of 10 episodes in total, with a new episode coming out every Sunday. There are currently four episodes of 1883 that have been released. 1883 is available for streaming exclusively on Paramount+.

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