Yellowstone's Wes Bentley Told Us Why Playing Jamie Dutton Has Been A 'Big, Big Joy,' Even If It Doesn't Always Feel Good

 Jamie behind campaign podium on Yellowstone.
Jamie behind campaign podium on Yellowstone.

So much has been made of Yellowstone’s behind-the-scenes chaos across the bulk of 2023 that I’ve nearly forgotten how extremely excited I am to see a (presumably) deadly resolution take place regarding Jamie and Beth’s feud. Sure, we still don’t know when those final Season 5 episodes will arrive, but the desire to see the western drama’s conclusion only grows the farther we get from the midseason finale. Ahead of what could be his final string of episodes as the black sheep of the Dutton clan, Wes Bentley spoke to CinemaBlend about how much of a joy it’s been to bring Jamie to life, even if the character’s existence can often be rather miserable.

Earlier this year, CinemaBlend’s Laura Hurley spoke with the Yellowstone star as part of the 2023 SCAD TVfest, where he spoke about the life-long goal of life in the mountains, and how filming for the Paramount Network series has been Bentley’s dream come true in that respect. He also applied that phrase to the experience of having so many years and opportunities to continue turning Jamie Dutton into as much of a three-dimensional character as can be. It’s the character he’s portrayed for the longest stretch of time across his lengthy career, and when asked for his thoughts on how Jamie has evolved or devolved over time, here’s how he put it:

'Devolved' is a great word. [Laughs.] When I was a young actor, I had heard – I don't know if this is true, I never really looked it up – but I heard that in the Russian theater, in the Moscow theater, they would rehearse plays for like a year, and dig into it for that long and get that kind of depth out of it. I was always like, 'Well, that's really interesting.' I'm not like a method [actor]. I don't choose to be a method actor. Sometimes it just happens to you, but I thought 'That's really interesting. You really get into the depths.' Well, that's happened here with Yellowstone for me, in five years of playing a character that almost every scene is some big life event for him. [Laughs.]

I kinda love that Bentley’s approach to the craft was partially guided by anecdotal information that he didn’t double-check to make sure is legit. Because regardless of whether it’s all true or not, it still had an impact on him that at least in part led him to the role of Jamie Dutton. Even if said impact was more along the lines of “This isn’t really how I want to do things.” Anti-influence is still an influence.

In any case, I can only assume it’s healthier for Wes Bentley’s mental facilities to not go all method when it comes to playing Jamie. It’s not like the character has a specific way of speaking or moving that would need to be practiced as often as possible. In this case, it would probably just require the actor to feel terrible about all the decisions he makes, while always checking over this shoulder to make sure none of his rueful family members are trying to stab him in the back.

That said, even if Bentley isn’t immersed in the headspace of a Dutton offspring in his daily life, he’s still spent a large amount of time in the character’s shoes, and he told CinemaBlend it’s been all positives for him, despite Jamie’s own negatives, saying:

I've so literally, like, explored every region of his emotional capacity. It's been a dream come true because of that earlier idea. I've been able to sink into him, feel that he's not a great guy to be around all the time, but that's not why I'm doing this job is to feel good. It's to bring someone to life. Thank you for that question, because that's been a big, big joy out of this project.

Will Jamie Dutton be one of the character who gets to live another day in the continuation series that's set to follow up on Yellowstone's narrative, albeit without Kevin Costner in the role of John Dutton? I've shared my thoughts on how John should be killed off, and there are definitely theories out there about Jamie's demise, whether it comes at the hands of his sister Beth or his brother-in-law Rip, or even John himself. We'll have to see how things shake out when the final episodes air.

Yellowstone' can be streamed in full with a Peacock subscription, with past episodes reairing on CBS on Sunday nights.