‘Yellowstone’ Star Gil Birmingham Says Thomas Rainwater Has a ‘Daunting’ Task

by Quentin Blount
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If you are a fan of Yellowstone, then you are more than likely also a fan of Gil Birmingham. His connection to the show runs deeper than you may realize.

You probably know Gil Birmingham thanks to the role that he plays on cable television’s most popular show. That’s right, folks — we’re talking about the man who plays Thomas Rainwater on Paramount Network’s hit show Yellowstone. Rainwater is the newly appointed chief of the Broken Rock Reservation and he only has one goal in mind: to reclaim his people’s land and legacy.

Birmingham sat down with fellow Yellowstone co-star Jefferson White in the most recent episode of The Official Yellowstone Podcast. There, he discussed the daunting task of playing Thomas Rainwater.

“It feels like you have to get to the heart of the character and the connection that he has to his people,” he explained. “Maybe not so much on Hell or High Water, but definitely in Wind River and definitely in Yellowstone.”

Birmingham says that Wind River and Yellowstone especially are huge for him in terms of representing the native community.

“That’s a bigger breadth in terms of the representation. So, yeah, I learn something all the time. And dealing with subject matter like we did in Season 2, with the missing and murders of indigenous women, you know, these are powerful subject matters to write about and to represent. It feels like a responsibility. I guess that’s the keyword I would say I feel about it.”

You can listen to the entire episode down below:

‘Yellowstone’ Star Has Deep Connection to His Role

It certainly feels like there is a deep connection between the actor and the character. In this case, Gil Birmingham says he feels like it’s his responsibility to represent the native community on television. Meanwhile, in Yellowstone, it also feels like Thomas Rainwater is bound by a sense of responsibility, duty to his history and to his people.

It’s safe to say that Birmingham sees that connection as well and he resonates with it.

“In the context of contemporary time, where these corporate forces are coming in and John and Rainwater have a similar, but not identical respect for the land and a purpose for wanting to keep it. It’s more of a legacy — it’s something that came down through the family for John. But it’s really where the power of my people resides in the connection with the land. That might be the only difference — but it’s a crucial difference.”

All in all, it’s a lot to take in and a lot to think about.

“It’s pretty daunting sometimes,” Birmingham admitted.

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