Every actor brings specific expectations to their projects. If you’re starring in a superhero film, you might hope to wear a nifty costume or perhaps do some scenery-chewing as a diabolical villain. If you’re in a monster movie, you might hope to be one of the final survivors or, if not that, then someone who gets taken out in a gloriously shocking manner on par with Samuel L. Jackson’s infamous demise in “Deep Blue Sea.” And if you’re in a Western, you’re undoubtedly going to hope that you get to wear a ten-gallon hat and do some horseback riding (or, at the very least, have an organic excuse to yell “Yee-haw!” at some point, as all cowboys are legally required to do).
Tragically, Wes Bentley hasn’t exactly gotten to put his horsemanship skills to the test as Jamie Dutton on Taylor Sheridan’s immensely popular neo-Western series, “Yellowstone.” The Harvard Law School graduate and adopted son of the Dutton patriarch John Dutton III (played by Kevin Costner) is more likely to be found wearing a clean-cut suit in an office than getting dirt under his fingernails working on his family’s ranch (although he does wear a cowboy hat now and then). Speaking at SCAD TVFest 2023 (via Entertainment Weekly), Bentley recalled how he’d hoped to portray a cowboy proper on the show:
“Much like when I got ‘Yellowstone,’ and you know I’ve always wanted to be in Westerns, my dad loves Westerns, we used to watch Westerns a lot, and I’m like, you know, I want to be a cowboy, you know? I got the Western job. I’m like, ‘Ah, I’m gonna be a cowboy dad, I’ll get to be a cowboy with Taylor Sheridan!’ And then they stick me in a suit and I get nowhere near a horse.”
Only Tom Cruise gets to hang on planes
“Yellowstone” isn’t the only time Bentley landed what he hoped would be an action-heavier role, only to find himself playing a fairly unadventurous civilian. In “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” he portrays Erik, a perfectly nice fellow who’s working with his wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan) at a medical camp in the Himalayas, blissfully unaware of what’s going on when Julia’s ex-husband, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the rest of his Impossible Mission Force (IMF) team suddenly show up out of the blue. As Bentley recalled at SCAD TVFest, he was “excited” to appear in a “Mission: Impossible” movie “because I thought I’d have some action scenes, you know? I’m able! And, no, that didn’t turn out to be true. But I was so excited.”
When asked if he would be willing to hang on the outside of a plane the way Cruise did for real in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” Bentley gave an enthusiastic response:
“Yeah! Heck yeah, man! I wanted to do something! I thought I was gonna fight somebody! I definitely was pushing [director Christopher McQuarrie] on that one. I was honored to be a part of that. And you know what was — that was intimidating to come onto.”
To be fair, Bentley has gotten to let loose in some of his previous genre projects, like when he played Blackheart, the trouble-making son of the demonic Mephistopheles in the Nicolas Cage-led “Ghost Rider.” Perhaps he’ll get to be a little more wild after “Yellowstone” signs off with the second half of its fifth and supposedly final season. Someone let that man borrow a page out of Archie’s playbook on “Riverdale” and wrestle a bear or something.