The actress previews the anticipated new season for the Paramount Network drama.
Yellowstone star Kelly Reilly is teeing up the Paramount Network drama's anticipated new season as tensions within the Dutton family rise as patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) takes over as governor of Montana. Season 5 kicks off Sunday, which sees Reilly's Beth newly married to Rip (Cole Hauser) and stepping into the new role as her father's chief of staff, though it doesn't exactly mean that the Dutton daughter will be allowing herself to experience true happiness for once.
"Taylor Sheridan writes this show and it's full of drama and struggle. I said this before but I don't think a happy Beth is necessarily great fodder for entertainment. We thrive on her reaction to things, so maybe one day," Reilly told ET's Cassie DiLaura ahead of the show's return. "I hope we've just sown the seeds a little bit for what that might look like for her. But she's got people to fight, got bad guys to get. She’s gotta save the ranch for her dad, so I don’t think anytime soon is she gonna be hanging that up. But I hope she finds that [happiness]."
One of those fraught relationships that Beth will have to contend with in season 5 is the tense dynamic with Jamie (Wes Bentley), who killed his biological father after Beth presents him with an ultimatum. Now he's back working alongside the same family members he tried to bring down, all while under Beth's ruthless and watchful eye of course. Reilly, for her part, doesn't foresee a reconciliation between the two Dutton siblings anytime soon.
"I would love Beth to find forgiveness but that’s not the show. It’s not the character," she said. "You know that we all want to be able to say what the ending should be or what these characters should do or say, but that’s also part of the fun of watching it."
Speaking specifically to the animosity between Beth and Jamie, Reilly acknowledged their relationship is "getting more complicated," which makes up "a huge part of this season."
"He’s back in the fold of the family. She says in this first episode, 'You're in my prison now. You will do what he asks you to do and that’s how you will stay within this family by doing as we ask.' I mean, it’s awful, but in Beth's mind, Jamie was part of the reason there was a hit on the whole family," she reasoned.
"He tried to kill her father, tried to kill her, tried to kill everyone and her brother, Kayce. So in her mind, he is the enemy. In Beth's mind, I do think it is keep you enemies really close and that's what she's doing. She has her eye on him," Reilly warned. "I don’t think there is going to be any peaceful ending between them two -- not yet anyways."
To make matters even more tense, Beth and her family are faced with the wrath of Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver), CEO of Market Equities, who's made it her life's mission to take down the Duttons and their ranch.
"Beth's not scared," Reilly put it bluntly. "Beth is afraid that the ranch is threatened. I think Beth is always trying to come up with ways to f**k them over and to try to defend the land and to defend it for her father. That is her reason to be right now and she won't stop at anything and no one will get in her way."
"Beth plays dirty. She admits it and so there's a lot who have tried and failed," she noted, hinting that there may be someone else who's "going to actually find a way to hurt her or get to her or win over her." "I don't want to spoil it for your viewers, but it's juicy."
It's just a sign of things to come, according to Reilly, as she believes Beth's continued ruthlessness in season 5 is justified as the end goal always remains the same: family over all else.
"It’s always in keeping with who she is, it's never gratuitous in my mind," Reilly said, though she explained she sometimes ends up "wrestling with" a few of Beth's decisions. She teased that the new season sees Beth upping the ante in that respect, sharing that she even had to train for several scenes, that she believes will be "large conversation pieces and Beth just doesn’t hold back ever."
"She is in a very reactionary kind of place and she’s fighting. She’s just constantly fighting and there is a moment where she [lets loose]. But yes, there are plenty of moments where I think, 'I can’t believe she’s going to do this,' but it makes sense," she added.
One thing's for sure, Reilly said she's curious about fan response to Beth this season.
"I don’t know what the reaction's going to be and that’s half of the fear and the excitement of when the season actually is aired because our fans are so passionate and are so invested," the actress said. "For me, I’m always sort of like, 'Are they going to go with her?' or are they gonna abandon ship and be, 'That’s too far.'"
"She’s always sort of teetering on that point but Taylor embraces it, as do I, and there’s always a reason -- an emotional reason -- why she does what she does. And as long as that is there and is apparent to me while I play her, I think that the sky's the limit," Reilly explained.
The two-hour season 5 premiere of Yellowstone airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Paramount Network.