1923 Star Shares Powerful Reason Why She Nearly Turned Down Audition To Play Teonna Rainwater
Teonna's story stands apart from nearly anything else on TV.
Spoilers below for the latest episode of 1923, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched!
Following its month-and-change hiatus, Taylor Sheridan’s 1923 returned to Paramount+ in a big way, with funerals for previously killed characters, and new deaths to worry about in the meantime, with Spencer Dutton and Alexandra possibly lost at sea. But things were eventually looking up for Aminah Nieves’ beaten and bruised Teonna, despite now being hunted down by Father Renaud’s goons for vengefully murdering her abusers, Sisters Mary and Alice. She met the seemingly compassionate sheepherder Hank, as portrayed by the always great Michael Greyeyes, and at last revealed herself to be an ancestor of Yellowstone’s Thomas Rainwater. (Though, importantly, she noted it in its original form as Rain Water.)
1923’s first season — its Season 2 renewal was recently confirmed — has been a severely rough ride for Teonna, who also faced down a wolf in “Ghost of Zebrina.” And as seen above in CinemaBlend’s interview with Nieves and co-star Jennifer Ehle, the Indigenous actress revealed she initially didn’t aim to put herself in contention for the role. When I asked if she’d had any hesitations about joining the show, she said:
Which was as much news to Jennifer Ehle as it was to me. When the Sister Mary portrayer asked why she hadn’t wanted to audition, Aminah Nieves continued:
The Yellowstone universe is one of very few spots on TV boasting multiple Native cast members and characters bringing their talents on-screen, and 1923 is one of the only pop culture projects to ever put a meaningful focus on the controversial Catholic boarding schools forcing conversion onto the youths from local tribes. And the scenes that Nieves has anchored across the first five episodes have been masterfully intense, uncomfortable, and angering, and that’s just as a viewer. The pressure on the actress herself was far more substantial, no doubt.
It'd be one thing if Teonna was a background character without a whole lot of development to flesh her tale out, but she's as important to Fictional Montana's future as the Dutton family is. Beyond that, though, the truth sewn into the story that Nieves is anchoring is more important than the Duttons' journey, so I completely understand why the actress would be nervous to put that on her extremely capable shoulders. But audiences are definitely all the better for it, and I hope the character continues thriving as the season continues.
While we know 1923 is locked down for another season, it seems as if Yellowstone itself may be having some behind-the-scenes issues over Kevin Costner's schedule gripes that could set up a truncated final stretch.
As hard as it might be to watch Teonna's story play out early on in the day, 1923 fans with Paramount+ subscriptions may want to stream the next episode (opens in new tab) right after waking up, considering it'll be a day filled with hyper-expensive commercials, a massive Rihanna performance, and the biggest NFL game of the year.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.