‘1883’: Tim McGraw Talks Faith Hill Slapping Him for 10 Takes: ‘There Was 25 Years of Pent-Up Aggression’

1883 is already resonating with Yellowstone fans. The Western drama features Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as two of the leads, and the husband-and-wife duo in the show are also married in real life. McGraw discussed what it’s like working with his wife on the set — and he also talked about the moment when Hill’s character had to slap him during a scene. Here’s why he said it felt like she let go of “25 years of pent-up aggression” with the slap.

Who is Tim McGraw’s character to John Dutton in ‘1883’? What about Faith Hill’s character?

Faith Hill as Margaret Dutton and Tim McGraw as James Dutton sitting next to each other by a fire in '1883'
Faith Hill as Margaret and Tim McGraw as James in ‘1883’ | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

1883 follows the Dutton family as they embark across the Great Plains to settle in Montana, and it takes place prior to Yellowstone. Fans of Yellowstone know the Dutton family, but Tim McGraw’s character is new the universe. McGraw plays James Dutton, the great-grandfather to Kevin Costner’s John Dutton in Yellowstone. Faith Hill plays Margaret Dutton, John Dutton’s great-grandmother.

“Everything’s about his family,” McGraw said of his character to NBC. “He certainly has these dreams and expectations of what he wants and where he wants to settle his family down. They come from Tennessee, he fought in the Civil War, and he didn’t like any of that, and he didn’t like what happened after reconstruction. So, I think part of that was his driving factor to just get out of there and find a fresh place. I think he was trying to outrun some memories and trying to outrun some trauma.”

Tim McGraw talked about working with Faith Hill — and her slapping him

Faith Hill told NBC she and Tim McGraw were given the “chance of a lifetime” to work together in 1883. But a few scenes to film were more difficult than others. One scene of the show despicts Margaret slapping James — and Hill really did lay her hands on McGraw for the scene.

“We had this scene where she has to slap me,” McGraw told People. And according to McGraw, Hill didn’t hold back. “I was expecting a finger slap but it was a paw to the jaw,” he added. “There was 25 years of pent-up aggression going on! When you see it on screen, you realize it was a genuine hit.”

McGraw also spoke about the slap with Rachel Lindsay via Extra. “She walloped me quite well,” he added. “I knew she was going to slap me. It’s like, ‘Alright, I’m your husband, we don’t have to fake this, you can go ahead and hit me. I can take it.’ I didn’t know it was going to be 10 takes of it. You had to get different angles.”

The actor said it was ‘easier’ to film ‘1883’ with his wife by his side

Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Isabel May, and 2 other actors standing together in a row in costume for '1883'
The ‘1883’ cast | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

During his interview with Extra, Tim McGraw noted having Faith Hill with him the whole time was truly a blessing.

“It would’ve been a tough, tough situation to spend five months away from home, working six days a week, long hours, up before dawn, home after dark, and not be with your wife,” McGraw added. “That would’ve been tough. To be together, period, is great. But to work together is incredible.”

McGraw promised “a few more surprises” along the way with 1883, so fans can look forward to a lot more to come!

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