When the Paramount Network was looking to cast a young John Dutton for their hit western drama Yellowstone, they had some pretty big shoes to fill. Not only did they need to find someone who could look right at home on the Dutton Ranch in Montana, but playing a younger version of Kevin Costner is no easy feat. Yellowstone season 5 has already shown how important these flashback scenes are for the series to really give a full picture of who John Dutton is. Though he's only been on the series sporadically over the course of the show, Josh Lucas has helped make Young John Dutton a really important and beloved Yellowstone character.
Ever since the flashback scenes were first introduced, it was an interesting addition to the story of the Dutton family. Not only did it help educate fans on why Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) is the way she is and how she first formed a connection with her longtime love Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), but it showed what John was like back in the 90s, before and after losing his beloved wife, Evelyn. It's helped make his character as the Dutton patriarch multi-dimensional and even more fascinating to watch.
How Josh Lucas landed the role
Though it was a tough role to fill, Josh Lucas has proven to be the perfect fit. It definitely helped that he was already passionate about joining the show before he was cast.
Lucas explains to the Paramount Network that he had to really fight to get a role on the hit show after initially auditioning and not getting an offer.
"I think Taylor Sheridan is the only director that I've ever stalked. I was obviously a big fan of his writing before Yellowstone and then when I read the script, I was just totally blown away by it. He didn't cast me but I kind of let it go. At the same time, I sent him little notes and messages about why he made a mistake."
According to Lucas, that paid off in a big way. Who knows what role he initially auditioned for, but we can't imagine anyone else playing a young John Dutton and showing how his past shaped him into the current version expertly played by Costner.
"Then strangely I got this text saying could I be on set the next day for a different character in a different part and I'm kind of amazed and grateful it happened that way."
Here's where you've seen Josh Lucas before
Though he's been a perfect young counterpart to Costner on the hit show, you may not realize that you've seen this actor for years on other projects.
A young Joshua Lucas Maurer grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas but packed his bags for Los Angeles immediately after graduating high school to try and make it in Hollywood. He got his start in the early '90s appearing in various TV shows like In the Heat of the Night, True Colors and Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. But he really got his breakout in the 2000 film American Psycho. After a supporting role the following year in Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, Lucas graduated to playing a leading man.
One of his most memorable roles was as Jake, Reese Witherspoon's character Melanie's childhood love in Sweet Home Alabama. Lucas easily stole the entire show, making most of the women in America wonder, "Where has this man been?!" But instead of riding the rom-com train, Lucas has appeared in an interesting array of films over the years. Because he's a man of many talents, he has also appeared in numerous off-broadway plays in New York City.
He played a general in the Marvel film Hulk, and former military man turned gambler who tries to save the day in the disaster film Poseidon. Lucas has also appeared in his fair share of strong drama films like Glory Road, J. Edgar, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Deep End, Secondhand Lions, Big Sur, The Secret: Dare to Dream and reunited with his old American Psycho co-star Christian Bale in Ford v Ferrari.
Outside of his acting career, Lucas is focused on co-parenting his son Noah Rev Maurer with his ex-wife Jessica Ciencin Henriquez.
Josh Lucas's 'Yellowstone' season 5 return
Lucas thrilled fans when he shared a post on Instagram in June 2022 from the set of Yellowstone. He also snapped a photo of his cowboy bots, writing "@yellowstone reminds that even on an airplane cowboy boots are the most comfortable shoes ever made."
His character already appeared in the dramatic two-part season 5 premiere with one heck of an interesting story that really showed how far John Dutton can go to protect his way of life. It will be interesting to see what other moments from the past are unveiled as the season continues.
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