‘1883’: Isabel May Avoided Set When Tom Hanks Filmed for a Reasonable Reason

1883 already has an A-list cast with Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. The guest stars in season 1 were Hollywood royalty too. 1883 welcomed Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Billy Bob Thornton on the show. 1883 star Isabel May was not in their scenes and decided not to visit the set when they were working either.

'1883' Star Isabel May briefly met guest star Tom Hanks
Isabel May | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

May was a guest on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast on April 14. When asked about 1883’s impressive guest stars, May explained why it wouldn’t have been appropriate for her to visit them when they filmed their scenes. 

‘1883’ didn’t need Isabel May on Tom Hanks’ day

May has plenty of work on 1883. She had to train for her horseback riding and gunslinging, she has to learn her lines in a new midwest accent, and she even records the narration for the show. So if Hanks, Wilson and Thornton were the focus of some days of shooting, those were days off for May.

“I wasn’t shooting, I wasn’t in any of those scenes, I wasn’t required to be on set or I was on a different unit during those times,” May said on Awards Chatter. “There’s something about, I don’t know, if I’m not supposed to be on set, it feels very odd to me for some reason being on set as an observer. It kind of takes me out of it.”

2 more reasons Isabel May stayed home when ‘1883’ filmed Tom Hanks

Given Hanks, Wilson and Thornton’s scenes did not involve her character, Elsa Dutton, May had other reasons for staying home. The scenes with other actors afforded May some much needed rest.

“Maybe selfishly I wanted to be in bed,” May said.

May continued that she also wouldn’t show up on her off days just to get selfies with celebrities. Awards Chatter host Scott Feinberg rightfully called that behavior that of a “star F-er.” That is not May.

RELATED: ‘1883’: Isabel May Only Watched 1 Episode Because Taylor Sheridan Forced Her To

“Absolutely not,” May said. “I’m the complete opposite.”

However, May is a fan of her 1883 co-stars. As an actor herself, she admires the craft they bring to their work. She respects their work so much, she’ll continue resepcting them from afar.

“I, as actors, revere those guys,” May said. “I think they’re absolutely incredible.”

Isabel May still met Tom Hanks

Hanks, Wilson and Thornton all established their careers before May was even born. May only discovered her costars’ Elliott, McGraw and Hill’s work after working with them on 1883. She was a bit more familiar with Hanks, but that still didn’t make her attend his scenes. 

Hanks played an army captain, adding the Battle of Antietam to Hanks’ roster of WWII roles. Wilson played a shopkeeper and Thornton played real life western lawman Jim Courtright. While Elsa was not in the scenes on the battlefield, in the shop, or any scenes with Courtright, she still met the movie stars. 

“I got to meet them and say hi for two seconds,” May said.

RELATED: ‘1883’: Isabel May Thinks the Dirt Improves Her Face in a Few Ways