Kelly Reilly is currently in her third season of playing Beth Dutton on the Paramount Network's hit western series, Yellowstone. But did you know that Reilly, who looks right at home riding a horse in the Wild West, is actually British?
Growing up in London, Reilly actually got her first professional acting role after writing to a TV show and asking for work. Helen Mirren's British television drama, Prime Suspect, called her in for an audition and she appeared in a 1995 episode. Over the next few years, Reilly appeared in various stage productions before she started making her way back in front of the camera.
Reilly played the role of Wendy in the French comedy film opposite Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris, L'Auberge espagnole, a role which earned her the Best Newcomer Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She also appeared in its two follow-up films -- Les Poupées russes (The Russian Dolls) and Casse-tête chinois, and had a supporting role in Mrs. Henderson Presents.
But American fans probably first remember Reilly for her role as Caroline Bingley in the Keira Knightley film Pride & Prejudice, Me and Orson Welles with Zac Efron, or playing Mary Watson in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Those supporting roles lead to leading roles in the Robert Zemeckis film Flight with Denzel Washington as well as Heaven is for Real with Greg Kinnear.
But the English actress, who married financier Kyle Baugher in 2012, would soon make her way to American TV. She briefly led her own ABC drama, Black Box, before playing Vince Vaughn's wife in the second season of HBO's True Detective. Reilly also appeared on Broadway opposite Clive Owen in Old Times, before landing the role of the Celtic Queen Kerra in the Amazon TV show Britannia, which lasted for two seasons.
But after Britannia, Reilly was cast in the leading female role on Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner. She plays the daughter of John Dutton (Costner) and stars alongside Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser and Gil Birmingham. The role of Beth lets Reilly shine because Beth is one tough cookie. She also deals with a lot of emotional trauma and has a substance abuse problem, so it required an actress with a lot of range.
"She's probably the most self-loathing character that I've ever played," Reilly told Parade. "But she outsources her pain like no other I've ever read. If I could akin her to anything, she's like some Shakespearean or Greek Tragedy character, like some goddess of war or something. It's like she's turned all that pain into darkness, so that's who she is."
Beth is an incredibly complex character and at times makes some very unlikeable choices. But that's part of what Reilly loves about playing her and what fans love about watching her.
"I love her mind," Reilly told CinemaBlend. "I love her intelligence. I love her fierceness. She's a warrior...Like I trust, taking Beth so far into unlikability because I know I'm going to be held in [Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan]'s respect for her as a character. As he does with all of them. There's a messiness and forwardness to each of them, and also just a deep underlying vulnerability to her that I don't necessarily play too often."
Yellowstone season 3 is currently on the air, but it's already been renewed for a fourth season. We can't wait to see what's in store for Beth and the rest of the Dutton crew.
This article was originally published in July of 2020.