One of the big reveals that “Yellowstone” trotted out towards the end of what we will now refer as the first half of season 5, was the origin of the Yellowstone brand – the big, gnarly scar that the most dedicated cowboys, loyal to the ranch and to John Dutton himself, wear on their chests. To do this, the show traveled to the past – not as far back as either of its spinoffs (“1883” or “1923”) but to a time when Rip (now played by Cole Hauser) was a young man and John Dutton (played in the main series by Kevin Costner) was a young man with a mustache. That meant the return of Josh Lucas, who has been a part of the show, on and off, since the beginning.
And before we get too far into the conversation, TheWrap did ask Lucas about his mustache – was it the real-deal or some make-up magic?
“Well, it comes and goes. I hope you don’t know that it comes and goes, but it just depends on if I’m shooting something else,” Lucas said. “I really love wearing it. If I come back for the second half of the season, which frankly, I don’t know, nobody knows, only Taylor knows what’s going to happen in the second half of season 5. I have decided that I want to, if I go back, focus on that and we have my real mustache because it’s much nicer to have the real.”
TheWrap also spoke to Lucas about returning to the show, the pressure of being a part of the most popular show on television and why we haven’t gotten a Josh Lucas-led spinoff yet.
When you signed on to do this five years ago did you ever think it would still be happening?
The facts are that he told me when I signed on. I wanted to be one of Kevin’s kids, and he told me, “Look, I’ve got a different idea for you” and brought me in to play Kevin 20 years younger. But what he said is, “We’re not going to have much for you to do in the first couple of years, really, you’re not going to come back until the fifth season.” And I genuinely thought like, this guy’s crazy. And you know, “Yellowstone” didn’t exist at all at that point. And even if it did start to exist for that first year, whatever, you know, it wasn’t some huge crazy hit show.
The idea that that he had in his brain all seven years, but I can tell you, as you mentioned, “1923” and “1883” and the different iterations of the show that are coming, they are all in Taylor’s brain. And they have been for years. This is not something that he’s coming up with because of the success of the show. It’s just sort of unleashing his creative juices that I think he’s been mulling over. He’s had seven generations of “Yellowstone” storytelling in his mind. And he gets to do something that I think is unprecedented in the history of television, which is telling this multi-generational story. And all of the stories from what I understand as well, frankly, are really based on true stories that Taylor either knows from his family, from his past, from other cowboys. Taylor never speaks to other screenwriters about the “Yellowstone” universe, He speaks to cowboys, he speaks to, you know, Native American storytellers, he speaks to his friends who are in a different world than Hollywood, that’s for sure.
It’s time we got the Josh Lucas spinoff!
I mean, look, I would obviously do it in a second. And part of it is that it’s not just because I would do it for myself. It’s partly because I would watch that show, not just because of me in any way, because I am fascinated as much as I think many of the people who start to fall in love with the “Yellowstone” universe are, by who these characters are as they evolve, as you see them shifting.
And as you see their evolution over seven generations. Look, I don’t know what’s going to happen to “Yellowstone,” meaning I don’t know what’s going to happen to John Dutton, and only Kevin knows. But there’s a hint in “1883” If you go back and watch where one of the Indians says to Tim McGraw’s character, “We will come back in seven generations and take this from you.” I wonder if that’s where it’s going to go. I don’t know. I’m as fascinated by it as you are. I would love to see, you know, “1993.” I would love to see “1972.” I’ll say that, as a fan of the show, as much as somebody who’s deeply, deeply grateful to be a part of it, and frankly, feels a pretty intense responsibility to, I guess, portray Kevin’s and Taylor’s ideas of who this character is.
Do you feel a pressure as part of the most-watched show on television?
I don’t think you can deny when something has this level of eyeballs on it that it makes it that much heavier on you. And I would say that heaviness can be really rewarding in that it makes, you know, look, if you’re a championship, I hate to bring it back to a sports analogy. But if you’re a championship team, you want to stay a championship team. And if you are a guest coming on to a championship team, you feel that you’d better play up to the level that everyone else is playing.
And I really strongly feel that with what Kevin and Taylor built with John Dutton, and that the audience has such a relationship to him and the family and the dynamics that if I wasn’t getting it right, I would be remiss to say that I didn’t feel a tremendous responsibility. And frankly, I started watching the show obsessively when [Taylor] told me he was bringing me back for the fifth season. And I fell in love with it and I loved it as a fan. But then it made me want to be that much more diligent. I think the things that I saw that Kevin had built, and also that the world, I think there’s as much Kevin in John Dalton as there is Taylor Sheridan. And when you work with Taylor and you spend time with him, I feel some strong linear character elements to who Taylor Sheridan is, and I think Kevin probably is playing with those things as well.
“Yellowstone” returns for the second half of Season 5 this summer.