‘1923’: Meet the Real Spencer Dutton

The actor who plays Spencer Dutton yellowstone precursor 1923 is as mysterious as the character. Brandon Sklenar plays James Dutton’s rugged, tormented and toned second son. If you’ve never heard of him, you’re forgiven.

Part of the reason the New Jersey native is so mysterious is because he hasn’t had his breakout role yet. Maybe we’re just projecting his character’s personality onto him. That’s not fair, is it?

Who plays Spencer Dutton? 1923?

Brandon Sklenar has built a very nice resume, but he’s only been part of a few commercial projects. Most notably, he fought Christian Bale’s Dick Cheney Vice and played actor Burt Reynolds in it The offer. A twist on the FOX sitcom new girl also stands out among several critically acclaimed art house projects.

He doesn’t appear to come from an acting family, but has done reasonably well while managing to establish healthy boundaries between work and personal life (a sparse Instagram feed exemplifies this). One minor thing relevant to Sklenar’s current job is that his great-grandfather fought in World War I and the family saved letters he wrote to Sklenar’s great-grandmother. These messages helped shape his character and dialogue.

This week’s episode of Dutton Rules focuses on Spencer Dutton and Sklenar. Since the show debuted in December, he’s given multiple interviews and spoken candidly about his place in the Dutton family tree (he’s not sure if he’s John Dutton’s grandfather or not), his chemistry with Alexandra actress Julia Schlaepfer (immediately and intense) and how he will be different once the series resumes on Sunday (February 5).

Taste of Country did a little research to find out that creator Taylor Sheridan may have had a real-life big game hunter in mind when writing Spencer in its current form.

Was Spencer Dutton a real person?

We have to give Collider a hat for first emphasizing a line of dialogue that shot right past us when we were watching early episodes of 1923. In one of their first meetings, Alexandra mentions the Tsavo Man-Eaters, a pair of lions that attacked and killed dozens of workers trying to build a railway in Kenya in 1898.

For nearly nine months, the two lions worked together to terrorize the community before John Henry Patterson brought them down. Flash forward to (fictitious) 1923 and find famed big game hunter Spencer Dutton behind two cheetahs with a penchant for human flesh.

Next, a pride of lions threaten to pull him and Alex off a tree after their jaunt goes horribly wrong. It’s another example of how Sheridan rooted his drama in the truth.

Thanks for listening. Find Dutton Rules on Apple Podcasts and Spotify or wherever you podcast. You can also listen to the above player.

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