March 29, 2023

If you think about Yellowstone, it was a fledgling in the beginning, and Taylor had not created or done anything at that point [in terms of television]. Now look at where he is, and who he is. The power and responsibility and the weight that’s on his shoulders has had a profound impact on him. I feel that that’s somewhat evident in the John Dutton that he’s writing, and that the way he’s building the show. 

So, we had really interesting conversations about who John Dutton was, 20-plus-years earlier. Was he lighter? Was he heavier? Was he angry? Was he gruffer? Has John Dutton, as he’s aged, become more gentle the way men often do? Or has he become bitter? I asked a lot of questions. I couldn’t just do what we did in the beginning because I felt I had all these episodes and the work that Kevin had done, and I wanted to bring a lot more complexity to it. 

The experience of playing [John] is incredibly layered. I dream about it. I dream about it probably once or twice a week. I dream about John Dutton, I dream about Yellowstone. I dream about Taylor. It’s fascinating to me and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think that the people who make the show – the passion involved with the actors, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m almost envious of what they’ve had over these last five years, they’re pouring their hearts and souls into it, and yet, at the same time, you have the added weight of the extraordinary success of the show, which adds a different layer to it. But it matters to them.

There’s a bit of dramatic irony that as Josh Lucas, you have insight into the future of your character. Are you open to allowing the writing and Kevin’s performance to fill the gaps of your character since it’s in the past, or do you need to ignore that to have a more authentic younger John, who doesn’t know what’s down the road?

Lucas: I do think I try to ignore it. It doesn’t necessarily inform the way that I’m attempting to honor Kevin or even play John in a different phase of his life. I do think the weight of the death [of his wife, Evelyn] is so heavy on John at that point. I think it’s lightened up over the years but I think, at the younger point in his life, he’s a broken man.

I hope Taylor writes some stuff for Gretchen [Mol], and me, or the family in that pre-death mode, because I think it would be extraordinary to see them when they weren’t damaged. The damage of that death was a nuclear bomb to that family.

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