Brandon Sklenar’s Unforgettable Experience Enroute to Becoming Spencer Dutton in ‘1923’

“1923” actor Brandon Sklenar is opening up about how he felt “destined” to play Spencer Dutton after a great audition.

1923continues expanding the Yellowstone universe. The show — which stars Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren — serves as a sequel series to 1883 and follows the rich history of the Dutton family. A big part of why fans have responded so favorably to these shows is the casting. In fact, 1923 star Brandon Sklenar revealed how he felt destined to play his character, Spencer Dutton.

How Brandon Sklenar relates to his ‘1923’ character

Created by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), 1923 carries all the hallmarks of a classic Western drama. But despite the period setting, Sklenar told Esquire he connected deeply with Spencer early on in the show’s development.

“There are so many parallels between he and I. He’s also very different for me, but there’s for sure parallels. The humor and how he deals with pain. That’s very dry wit. I can have that, but I’m like, ‘Oh, is that on the page necessarily? Or is th at just something I brought to it?’ That’s what I do. There’s definitive similarities, but he is a different kind of demon than I am, that’s for sure.”


Sklenar makes an excellent point about how the lines between actor and character begin to get blurred soon after the performance kicks in. After all, who Spencer is likely would have been very in the hands of another actor.

Brandon Sklenar was surprised by the ‘1923’ audition process

For Sklenar, 1923 presented a unique opportunity. The actor had previously made TV guest appearances on shows such as New Girl and Westworld. But 1923 is his first main role on TV. He’s also appeared in roughly a dozen movies, including most notably Vice and Midway. Yet, shockingly, Sklenar described the audition process as “the smoothest [he’d] ever experienced.”

“I had been tracking the project for a long time,” Sklenar told Esquire, adding “I was in a place at the time where I wasn’t feel ing great about acting in general. I wasn’t giving up or anything, but I was doing 75 self-tapes a week, and it was just too much. … [The audition] was so smooth.I felt very confident about my connection to the material and to Spencer. It was the most confident I’d ever been auditioning for a role. It just felt like something that I was supposed to do.”


Brandon Sklenar shared his experience during Cowboy Camp

Just because Sklenar connected emotionally to the part doesn’t mean he already had all the skills to play him. Sheridan had his cast go on “cowboy camp” to master horseback riding and the like ahead of filming.

“I had been on a horse, but I wasn’t anywhere near the level that I needed to be and wanted to be,” he told Esquire. “If every film, whether you need to be on a horse or not, just took their entire cast and put them on horses for three weeks, their bond would be so strong. You got to check your ego at the door. Everyone’s neutralized because not many actors have tons of experience on a horse. Maybe some do, but most don’t. Everyone’s on the same level and just trying to learn this new skill. You’re in nature together, and you just can’t beat waking up in the morning and trail riding in Montana. It’s gorgeous out there.”

Sklenar’s hard work –- and that of his castmates -– appears to be paying off. 1923 has been yet enough hit with audiences and critics. And with season 2 on the way, fans have even more adventures to look forward to with the Dutton family.

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