Wes Bentley Got Real About How His Complex ‘Yellowstone’ Character Haunts Him Off-Screen

There are a few actors who are born to play mischievously smirking bad guys, and Wes Bentley is one of them. After rising to fame as the boy next door in American Beauty, Bentley went on to star in various anti-hero roles in American Horror Story and The Hunger Games franchise, all while growing an impressive beard.

As of late, Bentley stars as Jamie Dutton, son of patriarch John Dutton in Yellowstone, also known as the opposite of American Horror Story. His character has caused quite a rift in the family after calling for his dad’s impeachment before even more of his dark past was revealed in the recent midseason finale.

But Jamie’s malicious character arch is challenging for Bentley, who recently told The New York Times that it’s hard for him to turn off his evil attitude. “I’ve prided myself for most of my career on leaving it at the door, or like an athlete would say, leaving it on the field,” Bentley told the mag, adding that Jamie’s complex emotions stick with him. “But Jamie’s sadness permeates my life, even though I’m not sad. I’m very lucky to have a great family and be where I’m at in life, but he’s always there behind me, clawing at that, especially when I’m shooting.”

The director of the midseason finale, Christina Alexandra Voros, says that Jamie is one of the most complex characters on the show because of his ambiguity. “Everyone’s tortured on the show, but Jamie is in particular one of the more tortured characters. He’s also interesting because you never really know if he’s a villain or a hero.” It seems pretty clear that he is leaning towards one over the other, but still! His sister Beth would definitely have something to say about that.

Even though his character isn’t a classic hero, Bentley says he is still grateful for the experience on the ranch after years of battling various real-life demons. “I believe in fate, and I believe I went through all that, caused all that, and experienced all that, because I was going to get here,” Bentley said, adding that he doesn’t mind if he has to play a complex bad guy. “There are many things that I regret, but I’m just so happy with my life.” Hopefully, Jamie survives long enough to be happy on the show, too.

Yellowstone will return this summer.

(Via The New York Times)