Yellowstone actress Kelly Reilly hit pay dirt with her portrayal of Beth Dutton in the series, which has become a cultural phenomenon with multiple spin-offs and adjacent stories planned. The immense social buzz for the family drama reminds Reilly of another mass media sensation that captured audiences in recent years. And she’s right, the similarities are too numerous to ignore.
“I always remember my friends talking about Breaking Bad. And it was this kind of kooky, small show,” she said per The Wrap. “I was like, ‘I’ve got to catch up with it.’ And then all of a sudden I remember Season 5 was about to air and it just became an event. I was at home in England when our [latest season] was airing and got the call about what the numbers were. And I thought they were joking!”
Turns out, similar to Breaking Bad, the ratings surge was no laughing matter. In fact, the show about a scientist-turned-drug dealer was about to cement itself as one of the top shows of all-time. Considering Yellowstone wrapped its latest season with a staggering 9.3 million viewers, the Western soap opera could be next up in terms of entertainment importance.
Even though Yellowstone fans probably can’t envision any other actress playing Beth, Kelly Reilly said she felt less than secure about the audition.
“I didn’t think that it was in the bag,” she said. “I figured every actor would want this part. And I had such an intense reaction to the role. Taylor Sheridan’s writing I just find so exciting and dangerous, and I responded to it emotionally.”
Like Breaking Bad before it, Kelly Reilly credits the entire cast of interesting characters for Yellowstone’s success
Reilly’s ability to play the devious, plucky Beth with such aplomb is a testament to her acting chops. She’s classically trained in the arts; but still, Reilly’s real personality comes across as very light and full of laughter. She said that her own performance needed some time to find itself and that she had to find the confidence to deliver a role as memorable as Beth.
“I kept to myself the first couple of years, just sort of hid in the role, mostly just to convince myself that I could pull it off,” Reilly said. “I approached her like Lady Macbeth, but the amount of color I get to play with her is, as an actor, a real gift. Beth is the most challenging role I’ve ever had to play.”
Kelly Reilly also said the power and charisma of her Yellowstone costars helps bring out the best in her portrayal of the dangerous Dutton.
“You’re only as good as the other actors that you’re in a scene with; and Kevin [Costner] is just so charismatic, and he can just break your heart with his stillness,” she said. “He’s got such a weight to him now as he’s older. I love just seeing the lines on his face.”