Paramount/ Yellowstone

'Yellowstone' Star Wes Bentley on Playing Jamie Dutton: 'It's Fun Because He's Complicated' [Interview]

The first four episodes of season four of Yellowstone have centered on the Duttons' search for answers as to who's responsible for the attacks on the family. Through it all, Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) has been caught in the middle, between the increasingly distant family he grew up with and his newfound biological father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton).

Wide Open Country caught up with Bentley to discuss what's next for Jamie, those intense sibling rivalry scenes and the joys of playing one of television's most divisive characters.

"At the end of last season, Jamie was deeply hurt and devastated and lost," Bentley tells Wide Open Country. "He's always been lost, but at least he thought he could get into the [Dutton family]. Even though he thought he was a Dutton, he did feel on the outside. But he felt like, 'Well, at least I'm blood. I can get back inside. They do love me.' Now that's gone and he's lost. And I think Jamie's a dangerous man when he's lost, because he's got some power and he's hurt. So where Jamie is now is trying to find that connection. He turns toward his biological father and he's looking for it there — some sense of connection, love, acceptance. You can tell he's desperate because Garrett's a deeply flawed man, possibly a dangerous man too. It's a perilous time for Jamie."

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Of course, even more captivating than Jamie's strained relationship with John Dutton is his decades long feud with his sister Beth (Kelly Reilly). Bentley says he and Reilly immediately bonded, which helps both actors film those heated Jamie and Beth scenes.

"She's amazing,"Bentley says of Reilly. "And those scenes are very have to trust the other actor when you go into these places emotionally and physically — a lot physically. We really needed to trust each other...and we do."We connected right away and we have that belief in each other and that trust in each other to go there and we're friendly and all those things. Those are the things that actually make it easier. You would think that hating the other person might make it easier, but that would just make it a nightmare [Laughs]. So, yeah, we work well together. She's great."

Though viewers may see Jamie as the series' resident villain, Bentley says he doesn't quite see it that way. In his words, he's just looking out for Jamie.

"I try not to view any characters with that kind of judgment," Bentley says. "That was a rule I learned at acting school, and I really believed in it so I stick with it. I do my best, but you know, I've been playing Jamie for years now, so it's hard not to have some of that. I guess I can see how he could be viewed as a villain, but, myself, I can't see him that way because I'm just looking out for Jamie, basically. I'm looking for what he wants and we're going to get that thing. And what he fears, I fear. So it's tricky. But when I can kind of peel myself away, yeah, definitely. I can see how some people could see him as a villain. And some people are confused and the ones who see him as a villain, they're a little connected to him. So now they don't know how to feel about that. So it's complicated in the best ways."

Villain or not, Bentley says Jamie Dutton is a hell of a lot of fun to play.

"I don't have a whole lot of interaction with people these days because of the pandemic and I'm not on social media, but... I still want to have those interactions. I think it's a blast. I mean, it's fun because he's complicated," Bentley says.  "[The audiences sees] it [as] 'Jamie, he's a bad guy now.' And I know that they know more than that — that it's deeper than that. It's more complicated than that. But it's fun. It's fun to put it in those categories and talk about it in those ways."