1883 star Billy Bob Thornton’s wild career has reached television in recent years, and he has no reason to leave the small screen behind. Following his award-winning turn in Fargo Season 1 and his lead role in Amazon Prime’s Goliath, Thornton now stars in the upcoming Yellowstone prequel series 1883. That’s just the beginning of the next stage for the 66-year-old Oscar-winner as he plans to continue working in movies and television while recording new music.
“I think I’ll probably try to strike a balance between music, movies, and TV,” Thornton told PEOPLE at the 1883 premiere at the Wynn Las Vegas Saturday. “I mean, you know, if you can do one each, each year, if I can make a record and go on tour if I can make one movie and one TV thing, that that seems pretty good, you know? … And I’ve got kids to take care of, so you know, why not?”
After spending most of his career making movies, Thornton said streaming shows like 1883 are more like movies than traditional shows. “I mean, they’re cinematic and you can develop a story over a period of episodes, so I’m all for it. I think it’s kind of the future in a lot of ways,” he told PEOPLE.
Although Thornton occasionally took stabs at television roles in the 1980s and 1990s, he didn’t find his first major role on the small screen until he played the chilling villain Lorne Malvo in Fargo Season 1 in 2014. The part earned Thornton an Emmy nomination, and he next took the lead role in Goliath. After filming Goliath‘s final season, he was cast as Marshal Jim Courtright in 1883. Courtright is described as a no-nonsense lawman who is not afraid to get dirty.
1883 creator Taylor Sheridan, who also created Yellowstone with John Linson, wrote the part with Thornton in mind. Thornton, an Oscar-winner for his Sling Blade screenplay, was impressed with Sheridan’s work and also couldn’t miss a chance to work with his friends Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. “Like I said, I believe shows like this are what people want to watch now… because they want to invest themselves in something that takes some time to see,” Thornton told PEOPLE.
1883 stars McGraw and Hill as Kames and Margarett Dutton, the ancestors of Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone character. The show debuts on Paramount+ on Dec. 19. Meanwhile, Yellowstone Season 4 airs on Paramount Network Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.