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Elkhorn Interview: Who’s Who in the Badlands Jeff Dujardin discusses playing the Marquis de Mores

Chris May 4, 2024

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I sat down to chat with Jeff DuJardin who discusses his role as the Marquis de Mores in the TV show Elkhorn. We discuss the character’s motivations, his relationship with Theodore Roosevelt, and the dynamics of the show. Jeff describes the Marquis as ambitious, loyal, and cultured. He also talks about the challenges of playing the character and the research he did to prepare for the role. The conversation touches on the appeal of Westerns and the freedom associated with that era. Jeff hints at the escalating tensions between the Marquis and Roosevelt in future episodes.


The Marquis de Mores is an ambitious, loyal, and cultured character in the TV show Elkhorn. Jeff DuJardin prepared for the role by doing research and drawing upon his own background. The Marquis and Theodore Roosevelt have a complex relationship, with tensions escalating throughout the show. The appeal of Westerns lies in the freedom and nostalgia associated with that era. Future episodes of Elkhorn promise to deliver more intense and dramatic moments between the characters.

Sound Bites

“The Marquis de Mores is ambitious, loyal, and cultured.”

“The Marquis has to think outside the box now that Theodore is here.”

“The Marquis and his wife Medora are like a powerful and driven couple.”


Jeff (00:01.028)
Hey, this is Jeff DuJardin. I’m with Chris Gordon on Hellblazer Biz.


Everyone as you have heard I have got the honor and the pleasure of the company of Jeff DuJardin who is currently on INSP TV show Elkhorn which details a young Theodore Roosevelt in the badlands of Dakota and is setting up of the Elkhorn ranch and now obviously Jeff you are the main antagonist I would say, the Marquis de Mores

a good Frenchman there. A very dastardly character.


Jeff (01:01.604)

It’s cool. So as I’d love to be, yes, it’s great to be able to meet you and talk to you about this. So we’re on episode, we’ve just had the third episode come out last week and we’re due episode four. We’re on Thursday today. So by the time this goes out tomorrow, people would have already seen episode four and I will be watching it on YouTube as we’ve just discussed. So looking forward to that one. And we’ve had in episode two, I think it was, was so far is the main one.

Thank you.

Chris (01:32.946)
for your character to flourish in there as well. So first of all, what kind of drew you to the character? Because I mean, the character Marquis de Mores obviously, like Theodore Roosevelt, was a real guy. And he was dastardly. I did some research on what he did and an impressive career, to be fair. Military officer trained in the cavalry and then he did all that kind of stuff, went into Algiers.

in the end.

Chris (02:01.49)
and help with the uprising and things there before we move to the Badlands, which is where we meet him as you. So what drew you to that character?

Well, first of all, I got the part. That’s what drew me initially. And I don’t know, I think maybe the reason I got the part is I tend to be labeled as having a villain -esque vibe that I give off sometimes, kind of a mysterious quality.

I’m sorry.

Jeff (02:36.9)
the character who you don’t really know what he’s thinking at any given time. I was told that I was one of the very last people cast on the project because it was hard to find someone who could do a believable French accent. They did interview some Frenchmen and their accent was very thick and so it was difficult to understand and then they…


Chris (03:01.778)
Mm -hmm.

Jeff (03:06.116)
interviewed some Americans whose accent was not very believable. And so I grew up hearing French. My mother speaks fluently.


Jeff (03:24.132)
I studied French in school. So, but also I mean, I’m a native American speaker. I’m an English speaker. So I think finding that balance of American, but also French. My father was in the Navy and my grandfather was…

Mm -hmm.

Chris (03:47.826)

Jeff (03:52.324)
I had a grandfather who was a merchant Marine. He was a sailor for Belgium. French in Belgium. So my last name, he had that last name in Belgium. But he was he was a merchant Marine during World War Two. And three separate times he was torpedoed by the Germans by the Nazi.

Okay. Yeah.

Chris (04:17.938)

And each time he was one of the only survivors. And the third time he was torpedoed, he was in the Arctic Ocean. And he was in a lifeboat with a few other guys. And he just had this will to live every single time he had this will to live this strong fiery desire. And I believe a couple of the other.

gentlemen in the boat perished but my grandfather held on until this American ship came and rescued them and brought them to New York City and that’s how they grew up in New York City. So he was a sailor, he was an adventurer. My other grandfather was an army man in World War II.

Mm -hmm.

He fought for the Americans, but he spoke French and he was a French interpreter, which is of Normandy. So, yeah, that military pride, that military instinct is in my blood and I kind of drew upon that when trying to connect with the character.

Chris (05:24.274)

Chris (05:43.506)
That’s cool. It’s an interesting backstory that as well to find out. Because to be fair, when I obviously saw your name, Du Jardin, and then heard the French accent, when I looked you up afterwards and realized that you were American, I was like, oh, OK. It’s that convincing. I was wondering whether you were French or had French background or maybe French -Canadian. And you had that kind of, you know, so to hear the background that you have got and where you’ve been able to draw that character out from.


Chris (06:12.306)
is really fascinating. I think my grandad served with, he was British but he served in Belgium as well quite a lot within the World War Two. So he kind of spoke French through there. I picked his languages, I speak French and German and I’m learning Spanish at the moment, or trying to. So yeah, it’s a great thing to have but as I say your character was very…

Oh, yeah.

Chris (06:36.05)
of the accent that you did and the acting you did in the role it does come across so strong that you know I was fooled into thinking that you were you were a French origin from that kind of thing as well so and that’s about all I can say as well at the moment so it’s been a long time since I studied in school so with the character of the Marquis de Morez

Je passe à flipper.

Chris (07:05.682)
If you could describe it in three words, or describe him in three words, sorry, what would you say about him?

Describe the Marquis in three words. Definitely ambitious. He…

He believes he’s going to conquer the world. He believes he’s going to conquer the West, first of all, and then I think he’s probably believes he’s going to go back to France and become the King of France. No ceiling is too high for him.

Jeff (07:44.42)
I believe when I was doing my research, the story is that he came to the Badlands of North Dakota and the people in one of the towns did not welcome him in. He was a foreigner. And so basically he said, screw it. I’m going to build my own town.

Mm -hmm.

Chris (08:01.138)
All right.

Jeff (08:06.756)
And he basically bought up all the resources in the area that he could. He had unlimited money basically from his father -in -law, Maduro’s father. And he just felt like no one could touch him. No one could beat him. So I would say ambitious.

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (08:32.9)
I would say, ironically, loyal. He was loyal to Medora through thick and thin. They were inseparable. He was obsessed with his wife and she was obsessed with him. And he never once cheated on her. So the story goes. And when he died, eventually,

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (09:03.3)
um he was assassinated in Algeria yeah and um

He was, was it Africa, was it Africa or something like that? He was down there or somewhere and he got assassinated.

Jeff (09:16.772)
Medora his wife, suspected that it was the French government behind the assassination. And so she, she risked her life for the rest of her days. She fought to try to find justice for him. And, um, but, uh, yeah, she never did because no one would help her because no one wanted to go against the French government because they thought they would be assassinated as well.


Chris (09:43.698)
It’s quite a bomb, mind you, the late 1800s, early 1900s, it’s quite, they’re still quite very powerful and devious themselves, I think the French government at that time, weren’t they, colonialism.

Yeah, exactly. Let’s see. Well, so we’ve got ambitious, we’ve got loyal, I would say.

Cultured, cultured. So he was raised by a Duke. His father was a Duke and he went to the best military schools. He was raised around other nobility, so to speak. So he was well traveled. He traveled the world. He spoke various languages.

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (10:36.612)
And he prided himself on good knowing about good French wines and the best champagnes and you know, he fashioned himself after the likes of Napoleon, fashioned his house with lots of beautiful artwork. So there are many adjectives we could use to describe me, but those are three come off the.

Mm -hmm.


Jeff (11:05.604)
the top of my head.

Excellent, fantastic, thank you. I was going to say from the episode that we’ve seen where, obviously there will be future ones, but the episode two where we’re introduced to you and Medora as well, that loyalty that you mentioned there between, you know, it’s very, very well brought out on screen between you and Ashton who plays Medora. The connection there seems to be very, very good between you and it was just fun to watch because it really was, it was like watching.

the old days you’re almost with the moustache twiddling you know with that kind of sense of mischief as well as you know as well as evil intent or you know but it wasn’t evil intent as such it was just it’s not evil it’s just like you said the character the Marquis is dedicated and believes in what he does it’s not necessarily that he’s an evil man it’s just he wants his goal and

and that’s what is connection so I’ve just seen a thing come up saying trying to reconnect make sure you’ve got a stable internet which is strange but yeah but yeah the mug you know that’s how you know that’s what he’s he’s driven and her passion as well the two of you gel seemed to gel really well with that


Jeff (12:28.292)
Well, everyone kept saying, oh, everyone is saying that you and Medora have such wonderful chemistry on screen. And I said, we’ve only had one scene together so far. I guess it read really well in those few seconds that we were together.


Chris (12:47.474)
Yeah, it was it just did it as I say, it’s just so amazing that dinner scene as well was just there is shows how good actors you are and obviously Ashton everyone as well and Mason. But it’s the eye contact between you because you’ve managed to get that. There’s things it’s not necessarily the words on the script either. It’s the it’s the nuances and the looks and stuff that you managed to give, especially, you know, in the dinner scene, the little nods or the knowing.

Right, okay, that’s you know, it’s very very good. It’s just it just builds up this a pair of Not death spots just a pair of them

I can’t think of the word. But yeah, just a powerful, I think that’s the word, yeah, powerful and driven couple who will stop at nothing to get what they want in life. And that includes obviously murder, which the Marquis was accused of several times, I think, during his life. He managed to get away with it, I believe, each time. Because I’m pretty sure from what we see, I think it’s more like, I think he’s…

So I’m taking all your words, I think the Mark, he’s very good at not doing the murders, but he just gets other people to do them for him.

So there was a scene in episode one, if you, no, no, I’m sorry, episode two, where it’s the beginning of the Frenchman episode where Marquis has a duel with Luffsy and shoots him. And that duel is over a land dispute. And in the show, we don’t really get into the backstory a little bit, but.

Chris (14:16.338)
Mm -hmm.


Jeff (14:33.316)
Lufsey and the Marquis had been going back and forth because Lufsey was a hunter and he was traveling the same terrain again and again to hunt buffalo, I believe. And the Marquis was setting up fences. He was saying, this is my land. I’m going to set up fences. So there was this dispute and the Marquis got wind that Lufsey wanted to kill him for.

Mm -hmm.

Chris (14:51.89)
Uh huh.

Chris (15:02.61)

having, you know, continually putting up these fences. And then every time Luffsy would go through, he would have to cut the fences down. And so the Marquis got word that Luffsy wanted to kill him. And so he went to the sheriff in the nearest town, which I believe was Mandan. And he said, what should I do sheriff? And the sheriff said, why shoot? And so…

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (15:35.46)
Basically the Marquis, he was trying to do the right thing in that situation. He was, he felt like his life was in danger and he felt like he was being threatened and.

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (15:50.5)
out there in the wild west, there’s no, you know, no real protection. And so he had to take it upon himself.


Okay, fair enough. It’s become the law and order. Well they didn’t call it the Badlands for nothing though, did they? And that’s what I find interesting as well. Because obviously the Marquis came in, I think it’s thousands or 40, 40 odd thousand acres or something he bought, wasn’t it? He bought up and it was just a time when people who had money could just go and do that and just buy up this land and go in and…


Jeff (16:07.204)

Jeff (16:10.596)
Yeah, that’s right.

Jeff (16:30.244)
Thank you.

We see that a few times within the show where people have just suddenly, this is my land, I’ll just settle on it and then have to buy it from each other and it’s a lot of shady dealings. So you can see where the businesses start and stuff like that and taking people’s land up and things. So as your character develops within the show itself,

Obviously there’s a friction already started with the Roosevelt with Theodore because that’s the whole show. There’s that conflict hidden. It is a conflict but it’s a very reserved conflict for the time being between the two of them. It’s just a war of words. Well I’ll say it’s a war of words, there was a bit more to it in episode 2 as well.

just conniving I think. So how would you find your character as a Marquis develops basically with this, the interactions that you have with Roosevelt?

Jeff (17:37.924)
I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?

Yeah sorry I was a really long -winded way of saying that. Sorry Jeff. How would you think with the interactions that the Marquis has with the likes of Roosevelt, how do you see the character’s development grow in as a character himself when he’s come across someone like him?


Jeff (18:04.74)
How has he developed? How has…

or how would it have changed his attitude to things maybe like you say he was met his match.

Jeff (18:19.46)
Well, I mean, I think the Marquis was probably used to getting things done in a very militaristic style, having a heavy hand and just intimidating people with brute force and being able to out shoot them. But with. With.

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (18:46.212)
Theodore, it was a little bit more of a challenge because first of all, Theodore was famous. So you couldn’t just outright kill him because it would be worldwide news. So you had to be a little more, a little more tactful. Is that the word?


Chris (18:58.258)

Chris (19:06.802)
Mm -hmm.

And at the same time, I think the Marquis, he respects Theodore and he, I think he respects his, his fame. He respects his, his money. The fact that he comes from a very wealthy lineage. That’s something that the Marquis values. His almost American nobility. In a sense, I feel like.

Mm -hmm.

Chris (19:36.466)

Jeff (19:39.908)
the Marquis is trying to become an American noble. Maybe he couldn’t quite achieve everything he wanted to achieve in France. And so he came to the, the new world, so to speak, trying to achieve fame and that fortune. And so I think right now in these first few episodes, the Marquis is kind of sniffing Theodore out.

Yeah, just start it.

Jeff (20:08.868)
to see how tough is he, how resilient is he? And also, can I use him in some way? Could we somehow partner to become even more powerful together than we would be otherwise?

Mm -hmm.

Chris (20:26.642)
Mm -hmm.

Jeff (20:32.644)
but also very cautious about Theodore because he senses that Theodore is a very kind of by the book kind of a guy. He’s known in New York as being an anti -corruption candidate, no nonsense. He’s willing to call out members of his own party for being corrupt. And so the Marquis…

Mm -hmm.

Chris (20:57.426)

is kind of on his tippy toes because he knows that Theodore could…

could catch on to some of his sneaky plans more quickly than others could. So yeah, I think to answer your question, the Marquis has to think outside the box. Now the Adore is here.

Mm -hmm. Yeah. He can’t just plow his way through with force.

Yeah, there’s a scene in one of the upcoming episodes where Marquis and his wife Medora are playing chess. And I think that’s a symbol, a symbolism of now, maybe they were playing checkers before, but now they’ve got to start playing chess.

Chris (21:50.834)
yeah more thinking behind it and get the moves in correctly.

Yes. Yeah, exactly. Trying to think a few moves ahead of time.

Interesting, interesting. I like chess, but yeah, that’s it. That’s nice. Yes.

comparison there. Obviously we’ll have to see that episode when it comes up but that’s kind of where I got it because I think there’s already in the Frenchman episode the marquis already tried his hand with just testing the waters about how far he could push Theodore with coming together and saying that he’ll allow him to have this as long as he becomes the sole supply, you know, the sole outlet for the trade basically. That’s obviously where we were left with it going a bit sour.


Chris (22:39.026)
The theatre walked off for that one. That is actually really interesting to say there’s a lot of character development to come with you know as we’ll see because we’re very early at the moment so it’s very difficult for someone like me who’s not seen it to go into how much character development there is so do you feel as the show’s gone on and obviously your episodes have gone on that the characters core values that

they’ve been accurately portrayed because I know you’ve done the history of research there as well so do you think obviously the writing and everything like that it’s his core values and I’ll say values even if they’re a bit twisted values you know getting portrayed correctly and and doing the doing the character himself because I think his house is still standing isn’t it that they valued him they must have valued him that much out there I know his house is a treasured um is uh

Yeah, yeah, it’s a museum. Museum right now. I’d love to go visit. If they announce an episode, a season two, preparation for that, maybe I’ll go out and visit his mansion in Medora.


yeah that sounds really good

Chris (23:48.786)

Chris (23:52.722)
Yeah, that would be pretty cool.

No, I think the writers of this show should be commended. They’ve done a really exceptional job. I think the dialogue is interesting. They’ve kept every episode very interesting so far. And yeah, I think they’ve held true to the spirit of the actual people.


Jeff (24:22.116)
the actual Marquis, the actual Theodore.

You know, there’s a lot of room for an actor to interpret lines and to figure out the motivations behind each line. So as an actor, I may feel fully justified in, let’s say for instance, the murder of Luffsy. You know.

Mm -hmm.


Chris (24:51.826)
Mm -hmm.

Jeff (24:56.548)
I paid for this land. I gave him a fair warning. I mean, what else do you want me to do? I got to protect myself. I got to protect my family. So…


Jeff (25:10.116)
I believe the Marquis in real life was also very religious. He was believed in God and he believed that he was blessed by God. God had essentially chosen him as someone to…

Jeff (25:32.292)
bring about French glory all over the world. And so that was part of his motivation as well.

Mm -hmm.

Chris (25:39.922)
Yeah, it seemed to be quite complex, I think, for the French about that time. The British, to be fair, around that time, they were chosen by and tried to, my God, to put their will on everybody and to succeed. That’s very interesting. I love the fact that there’s so much research that you’ve been able to do as an actor to get into the character, to expand as well and push that across. Is there anything now you’ve been able to portray that you’ve been able to learn yourself as an actor and take away?


Chris (26:10.13)
from the experience of playing the Marquis that you can enhance your own skill building. I mean, actually, you just move from roll to roll. That’s the whole point of being a skilled actor. But is there anything you’ve been able to pick up from this that you’ve been able to take away as well?

Jeff (26:41.828)
I mean.

Mm -hmm.

a friend of mine watched a couple of the episodes and he said, Jeff, you just feel very comfortable. It just seems like you’re very comfortable in this role. Like it, it just seems like you’ve, you’ve obviously prepared. You’ve obviously done your research, but now you’re just playing. And that’s just a good reminder, good reminder to myself as an actor that you do all the work.

Mm -hmm.

Chris (27:14.898)
Mm -hmm.

You throw a bunch of paint at the wall. You see what sticks. See what sticks in the moment as you play. And so I think that’s just a good reminder, reinforced by this role.


Chris (27:34.93)
Excellent. And it’s very different. I’ll say, just going back to what you said before about the writing and everything, it’s a very different type of show, you know, with all the stuff that’s going on with the show TV at the moment, you’ve got, well, most of it is rewrites, to be honest, which really winds me up, the films and things, but you know, you’ve got your Marvel, you’ve got your futuristic, you’ve got your apocalyptic. So it’s quite a big thing to take it right back to the 1800s again. And, you know, and that era.

And I think that’s what helps the show, because it stands out as something completely different. And we’re drawn back to an era that I think everybody holds a bit of a mystified reverence to, you know, the old days of the bad, you know, in America, the bad lands, the westerns, that, you know, you’re a cowboy, you know, that kind of thing. And so I think that’s really helped draw it out for us as people watching it. And then obviously yourselves as actors, the gelling of your

not the characters, the gelling of you guys together as a cast. It just exudes through that screen. Like I said, it’s, you know, I think every single one of you, I don’t think there’s anyone who I’ve not seen at the moment where there’s been no, it doesn’t look like you’ve had real good fun making the show and just got on well with each other.

Yeah, yeah. When I first got the role, another buddy of mine who’s also an actor, he said, dude, that’s amazing. It’s every guy’s dream to be in a Western. And yeah, it was my dream as a kid, you know, walking around the streets of Providence, Rhode Island dressed as a cowboy. My dad helping us make Indiana Jones movies and Western.

Mm -hmm.

Jeff (29:23.908)
It’s in the backyard. I don’t know what it is. That would be a really good book to write about what is it about the Wild West that fascinates people so much. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s the setting. It’s, you know, because it’s stuff we don’t see anymore. The old Western towns.


Jeff (29:51.364)
the mountains in the background, the cacti, everything of that location, the garments, the outfits people are wearing, the cowboy hats, the guns, the…

the lawlessness, the unpredictability of it. Yeah, it’s a fascinating question is why we’re still watching one of the most popular shows on the network is Gunsmoke, which has been around for decades. Why do people keep watching?


Chris (30:21.746)
I don’t know why we were drawn into that.

Chris (30:29.778)
Oh, that’s been decades!

Chris (30:34.962)
Exactly. I think it’s as well, I think there’s a freedom isn’t there when you look back at that era. Obviously you’ve got the lawlessness and it’s danger but you’ve got the freedom where people were actually free they could just you know there’s it was just the beginning of the onset I think in that area of taxes and stuff so you didn’t have all that you know the those kind of pressures people could just move around and just pitch up a home wherever they wanted well within reason and I think that’s…


Chris (31:03.57)
kind of an attraction isn’t it, especially when everyone’s locked down with all the bills and things that go on.

So, let’s keep…

Yeah, no, that’s a good point. I agree with that.


I think that is for me anyway, that’s one of my, probably my attractions too, it’s like oh wow, what would it be like to live like that and free again? Without all of this. So is there anything that, obviously we’ve got more episodes coming up, we’ve got episode four coming out this week. How many episodes in total are there?

Jeff (31:34.308)
Yeah, it might airing and then tomorrow on YouTube. There are 10 episodes total.

Yep. Okay. Excellent.

Yep, I think episode three was the only episode that I’m not in. So I think I’m in all the remaining episodes.

Excellent. That’s good. I could just, I was picturing when you’re saying obviously about the character and the old… It was like… That’s the kind of music, you know, when you could see the Marquis in the background doing his dastardly thinking if it was a silent movie. But it’s… It’s one of those. It’s just very good. And I’m just glad and honoured that I get to talk to you because the character immediately springs out.

um as one of intrigue and one where you’re just like right okay well you know really wanting you left at the end of the episode wanting to see more because you know the Marquis and madora both of them together they just seem to be this dominant powerhouse in in dakota and obviously in the town obviously the town’s named after madora so you know which the Marquis did um and it’s just yeah it’s desperate to see more of it to be honest and see how this story is panned out and how this

Chris (32:54.066)
Flash years ago.

Yeah. And, uh, yeah, in real life, the Marquis had a lot of respect for his wife. He would kind of…

he would tower over everybody else. But when it came to his wife, it was almost like he would defer to her and


He would, I mean, people would talk about how great of a shooter he was, a gun marksman he was, and he would say, oh no, no, I’m nothing compared to my wife. She’s a shooter than I am.

Chris (33:33.554)
Yeah, that’s actually quite a rare thing for that time period as well, to be fair, to be able to respect your wife or your woman and portray and push your wife’s credibility and persona in that respect as well back in those days, still very early on where the inequalities were quite vast. So to have that progressiveness from Marquis, maybe it was the Frenchman.


Jeff (33:57.86)
Oh, true. Yeah.

Maybe it’s part of being French and it’s just they’re different in the way way respect of things. But excellent. And look at the time. I’ve carried this carry on talking to you so long. What’s anything that you’d like to sort of say to people watching this, you know, this interview now and obviously for what we can expect maybe in the future to see from the marquee Marquis spoilers.


Well, uh.

I think that the tensions between Theodore and the Marquis are going to just keep escalating and escalating in every episode until it reaches a boiling point. And I don’t think you will be disappointed. I’ll say that.

Chris (34:54.834)
Excellent, that’s what I like to hear. Brilliant, fantastic. Thank you. I shall stop the recording now. I’ll leave.

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