In the eyes of Young John Dutton actor Josh Lucas, the Yellowstone patriarch’s “relentless” nature towards his family later in life all hinges on Evelyn’s death.
Courtesy of Paramount Network’s featurette on the younger days of John Dutton, Yellowstone fans can garner remarkable insight into John Dutton’s early days. And it’s all through the words of actor Josh Lucas, who plays Young John Dutton in several episodic flashbacks.
Enough time exists between Lucas’ optimistic young man and Kevin Costner’s hardened, grizzly patriarch of “modern-day” Yellowstone to warrant completely different interpretations of the character. But did this change occur in John Dutton overnight? Or was it the result of years of tragedy and hardships? While fans know both answers hold merit, there’s one event in particular that Lucas knows changed John forever.
The untimely death of Evelyn Dutton “hardens” John, Lucas says, “to a point that he stops caring. He becomes relentless that way. Even relentless in some ways towards his own family,” he pinpoints.
Josh Lucas breaks down his role as a younger John Dutton and his experience working with Taylor Sheridan.Paramount Network
“When I read the script… I was totally blown away by it,” Lucas says.
And for the actor, “There’s no doubt that the John that Kevin is playing later in his life as both mellowed and, strangely enough, is hardened. He’s a bit of a different man,” he confirms for Yellowstone fans.
‘Yellowstone’s Josh Lucas on How John Dutton Changes with Age
“He’s yearning for the time of his grandchild,” Lucas says of John Dutton’s mellowing into a loving grandfather figure.
To the actor, the father figure begins “yearning for this family connection that he feels some of the mistakes he’s made hasn’t denied him.”
“He probably feels shame and sorrow” for said mistakes, he cites. “And in the case of the time that I play him in, the character is both good… And goes very bad,” he laughs.
During Josh Lucas’ John Dutton timeframe, he believes the patriarch “desperately wants to come back to being good. He’s probably gotten more optimism, maybe, in a sense…”
That is, he notes, “until the death of his wife just shatters him.”
Then, as we know, everything changes for John. For their entire family. Both he – and especially their only daughter, Beth – enter a place of no return after Evelyn’s tragic, freak passing.
For Josh Lucas, however, this intense drama is only one of many elements that make Yellowstone brilliant. In fact, he says the show has “all the things that makes the idea of entertainment so good!”
Beyond this, even, Lucas is a particular fan of creator Taylor Sheridan’s “nuance of social commentary.”
“It’s a world that I think, at its core, is the essence of how and why America is what it is. These days, in particular. And what it always has been… From the beginning.”