Kelly Reilly is Still Holding Out Hope for Beth in 'Yellowstone' Season Four
Kelly Reilly was in a precarious position last summer when Yellowstone's third season ended. To give a contextless throwback to her last season finale, there was a box and a boom and a glass on the street and ... let's just say, things weren't looking particularly cheap for Montana's favorite bad mouthed businesswoman. The fourth season of the show has already ended - completely shot in a quarantine bubble. But that means there are no leaks on set that show whether Beth is alive or dead.
With the next season, due to premiere in the summer of 2021, fans will have to wait a long time to find out about Beth's fate. In the meantime, new fans can join the club and old fans can watch it again as Yellowstone is streamed exclusively on Peacock. In recent years, as shows move from traditional cable networks to streaming services, they often double in popularity. When Schitt's Creek hit Netflix, new fans had time to devour three full seasons before tuning in for the fourth. Now, new Yellowstone fans can do the same. With Yellowstone's position as the cable's top-rated summer series, season four has the potential to eclipse the Taylor Sheridan series records.
After a long hiatus of six months, Kelly Reilly phoned Esquire to discuss Beth's explosive third season, the important stories woven into Yellowstone, and how long she knew about Beth's big third season.
This interview was edited for reasons of clarity. This interview also contains spoilers for the third season of Yellowstone.
ESQ: So often in westerns we have good people and bad people that we want to put down roots for, but Yellowstone really undermines that. Do you think there could be a happy ending for these people? Or are they just somehow doomed to this fate?
Kelly Reilly: Geez, that's a good question. I think I keep asking Taylor [Sheridan], "Where is the end?" As an actor, especially one who has been taken through hell and back with a character like Beth, I said, "What's the endgame?" And there's obviously a big cliffhanger at the end of season three. Obviously, I can't tell you if Beth will make it another day or not to see if she finds the peace you're talking about. But it's an interesting question for any character. Is happiness something that is an ultimate end goal? Or is it something like ... there are moments in all of our lives and days and ... it doesn't last. It's like you're touching it and not trying to hold onto it. I think there's a great quote from William Blake about that.
I see these moments of happiness for Beth, especially in season three. At the beginning of the third season there is a kind of calm, healing mood. Beth and Rip (Cole Hauser) live in the new house they were given and given to Rip by John Dutton (Kevin Costner). Beth has moved in and there is a bit of domestic calm, gentleness, in which we have never seen Beth. I found these scenes really interesting to play. Whether it lasts or not, it wouldn't be drama if it were constant. I don't think we're still in the happy ending but I think there is a glimmer of happiness and where that happiness and where that peace could live, you know what I mean?
I think it's great that you said that because I think one of the most interesting things about watching Rip and Beth's dynamic is that the two of them kept finding each other in such broken places.
Photo credit: cam mcleod
But I'll tell you what, as much as I enjoyed watching your character when Rip dug up his dead mother's body for a ring he was about to give Beth tossed me for a bow.
This is Taylor Sheridan. He'll find that incredibly beautiful. You know what I mean? His opinion is that I don't want to speak for him or Cole, but it feels right to the character. He has no money to buy Beth a ring. Beth could buy diamonds if she wanted. Beth doesn't need anything. The whole one falling to one knee and someone doing it on video? Beth couldn't make fun of that.
When you think of a western, this isn't the first genre that comes to mind when you think about tackling really tough topics. Her character was the focus of so many just in season three. I mean, the forced sterilization plot line alone was so incredibly powerful. How did you react to that?
Well, I knew what had happened between Beth and Jamie from season one. Taylor planned it all in his head. I mean, of course when he writes I think he's very open to things. It almost writes itself. He doesn't know what will necessarily make it on the page, but he has some kind of epic beginning, middle, and ending for all characters and in the world of Yellowstone. I asked him because I needed to know why Beth was this way - it was more than just not liking her.
I said, "Okay, there is enough for her to be violent, but there is something deeper. There is something else. There is something really core, something really painful." I had to know what it was to play those scenes with him. This is not just sibling rivalry. Taylor told me. He told me what it was. I've known pretty much what that was since season one. When people hated Beth, she said, "She's terrible for Jamie." I said, "Gosh, if you only knew." I was so excited that it would actually come out in a plot to somehow explain. I love that he uses flashbacks and their story. He doesn't all exist in the beginning. There is more to come. There is much more to come. You think that's it, there's a lot more history There are many ghosts on this show.
Photo credit: Axelle / Bauer-Griffin
I also wanted to ask you about the discussion about the disappearance of indigenous women. What I think does Yellowstone so well is that they showcase it, but don't just throw the whole bucket away. It's only a little bit at a time. I think that makes it so much more resonant.
Thank you for bringing that up. It's something that people don't really touch when I'm doing interviews for the show. Especially not me, but it's one of my things that I'm so proud of being a part of this show. I think for a long time they just assumed this was a show about cowboys and rednecks and, "This is our country." If you're careful, the people [Taylor Sheridan] shows so much respect and love for on the show are to Native Americans. He has a deep history with it personally in his life. Obviously, if you've seen his other films like Wind River, this is a subject in his work that makes him so excited. It is awkward when he points it out and puts it in the living room of so many Americans who don't necessarily want to look at this part of our history. But I'm so glad it is him. I feel like it's without a sermon. I think it's really a really important thing to know about.
But I like the fact that there isn't that self-righteousness on our show. We play characters and we don't try to be too, dare I say, "woke up" over things. When we get into that area, I'm not really interested. I'm interested in complicated and messy and human and the kind of things we can all do: "How can we find these characters so exciting and fascinating when they are so bad?" It's a fantasy. These characters are kind of a fantasy. I love that.
Now, when I talk about the removal of pc culture, I have to speak to you about some of your line readings: “New friend, big ass ashtray, give it a try” is a personal favorite.
Honestly, and I know actors say this all the time, it's a feast for me. It's a great honor to get closer to the edge when Beth gets to the point where you say, "Oh, that's a little too much." "Oh, should I just stop doing this a little?" Then I'm at Beth's sweet spot. If I step away, it is not who it is. I can do different takes where I can soften something up, or I can really put something to the test to give them editing options. Ultimately, they always choose the harder version, the harder version, the more explicit.
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