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Who is Kelly Reilly? Meet the British actress taking the US by storm with Yellowstone role

British actress Kelly Reilly has been taking the US by storm after landing a role in Kevin Costner’s non-woke series Yellowstone

The drama – which last month became the most watched show or movie in America of the week with more than 8 million people tuning in to the season four premiere – follows a powerful, complicated family of ranchers and has hooked viewers from the start.  

The runaway popularity of the modern-day ranch show is often compared to HBO’s Succession – they came out the same year and are both family-business dramas – but breaks the mold for hit series as it’s based not on the East or West coasts, but in Montana

The drama, which is shot in Utah, avoids big city issues and political correctness conflicts, and instead puts a lens on rural America where local businesses are losing wealth and power in a changing nation. 

The show premiered in 2018 and focuses on Costner’s John Dutton, a landowning rancher in Montana overseeing his wealth and family, a setting rarely seen among modern top-rated shows.    

Although the show has received little media attention despite its high viewership, it did receive its share of criticisms when it first aired.  

Now MailOnline takes a look at the London-born star Kelly, who has lassoed American audiences with her starring role playing Costner’s daughter, Beth Dutton. 

How Kelly Reilly lassoed the limelight: Meet the British actress taking the US by storm with role playing Kevin Costner’s daughter Beth Dutton in the non-woke ranch drama Yellowstone

One to watch: Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner and focuses on the Dutton family and their Montana ranch

One to watch: Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner and focuses on the Dutton family and their Montana ranch

How did Kelly get into acting?   

Born and raised in Chessington, London, Kelly attended Tolworth Girls’ School in Kingston, where she studied drama for GCSE under the watchful eye of her hospital receptionist mother and police officer father. 

Before discovering her talent for acting, she loved working with horses and thought she’d have a future in equestrianism.  

The actress, now 44, first hit TV screens with a role in 1995’s Prime Suspect 4: Inner Circle after getting her foot in the door by writing to the producers of the drama series. 

As well as her roles in TV, Kelly managed to build up a name for herself in the theatre world, working with Terry Johnson in four productions: Elton John’s Glasses (1997), The London Cuckolds (1998), The Graduate (2000) and Piano/Forte (2006).  

At age 26, Kelly received a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award nomination in 2004, making her the youngest actor to receive such an honor after starring in After Miss Julie, a Michael Grandage production at the Donmar Warehouse in London’s West End in 2003.

Stellar work: At age 26, Kelly received a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award nomination in 2004, making her the youngest actor to receive such an honor after starring in After Miss Julie in London's West End in 2003 (pictured with co-star Richard Coyle)

Stellar work: At age 26, Kelly received a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award nomination in 2004, making her the youngest actor to receive such an honor after starring in After Miss Julie in London’s West End in 2003 (pictured with co-star Richard Coyle)

Who does she play in Yellowstone? 

Kelly quickly became a fan favourite playing Bethany Dutton, a financier and John and Evelyn’s third child, and only daughter. 

Although well educated, highly intelligent, and a master manipulator, Beth is bitter, emotionally unstable, and suffers from a substance abuse problem. She is loyal to her father and in love with Rip Wheeler (played by Cole Hauser).

Flashbacks of Bethany’s character see Kylie Rogers portrays young Beth.

Scary stuff: Kelly's first leading role came in the 2008 horror film Eden Lake, starring alongside Hollywood heavyweight Michael Fassbender as a young couple terrorised by a group of murderous teenagers on a weekend away

Scary stuff: Kelly’s first leading role came in the 2008 horror film Eden Lake, starring alongside Hollywood heavyweight Michael Fassbender as a young couple terrorised by a group of murderous teenagers on a weekend away

Where have you seen her before?  

Her first leading role came in the 2008 horror film Eden Lake, starring alongside Hollywood heavyweight Michael Fassbender as a young couple terrorised by a group of murderous teenagers on a weekend away, earning herself a Best Actress nomination at the British Independent Film Awards 

The following year, Kelly continued to keep her star profile alive with a role on prime-time British series Above Suspicion, playing a rookie detective determined to prove herself in the male-dominated police department.

Hollywood soon beckoned for Kelly who starred in both 2009’s Sherlock Holmes and the 2011 sequel A Game of Shadows, playing Mary Watson. 

Having counted Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as co-stars, she then went on to work with Vince Vaughn, playing his wife Jordan Semyon in the critically acclaimed second season of the television series True Detective. 

Since 2018 she has seen her star continue to rise with her turn in Yellowstone, a Paramount Network drama that debuted on 20 June 2018. Reilly plays Beth Dutton, daughter to John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner. Reilly’s and Costner’s characters are constantly at war with several outside parties who want to gain control of the Duttons’ family land. 

Leading lady: Hollywood soon beckoned for Kelly who starred in both 2009's Sherlock Holmes and the 2011 sequel A Game of Shadows, playing Mary Watson (pictured with co-star Jude Law)

Leading lady: Hollywood soon beckoned for Kelly who starred in both 2009’s Sherlock Holmes and the 2011 sequel A Game of Shadows, playing Mary Watson (pictured with co-star Jude Law) 

Is Kelly married?  

Kelly got engaged to Israeli actor Jonah Lotan, known for his role HBO’s Iraq war drama Generation Kill, in 2007, but the couple split two years later. 

Asked about the split at the time, Kelly told The Independent: ‘I’d… rather not talk about it. Only because I’m trying to protect myself and my life. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be… but ah, it’s not, it’s a bit complicated.’

Pressed on whether if was a function of actors’ ‘pillar-to-post lives?’ she confessed ‘yeah’.  

In 2012 Kelly met financier Kyle Baugher and the couple were engaged and married in the same year with an intimate ceremony in Somerset, England.

The couple – who have no children – currently live in New York City, with Kelly telling The Guardian in 2014: ‘England is always home, but I have made my life here. I suffered terrible homesickness at first—for English people, pubs, humor, all my family and friends—but I love New York, it’s my favorite city.’  

Yellowstone season 4 began on Sunday November 7 on the Paramount Network for US viewers. 

In the UK, Yellowstone season one is available to watch on Paramount Network UK and My5, with seasons one and two available for purchase on Amazon.  

Love life: Kelly got engaged to Israeli actor Jonah Lotan in 2007, but the couple split two years later

Love life: In 2012 Kelly met financier Kyle Baugher and the couple were engaged and married in the same year (pictured in 2014)

Love life: Kelly got engaged to Israeli actor Jonah Lotan (left) in 2007, but the couple split two years later. In 2012 Kelly met financier Kyle Baugher (right) and the couple were engaged and married in the same year

How Kevin Costner’s non-woke ‘Yellowstone’ – that none of the liberal media ever write about – has quietly become the most streamed TV show in the US: Comfort TV portrays the way America used to be

Kevin Costner’s non-woke Yellowstone was the most watched show or movie in America in November with more than 8 million people tuning in to the season four premiere  

The runaway popularity of the modern-day ranch show, streaming on Paramount put it over heavyweight favorites like 60 Minutes and NCIS Los Angeles, which had 7.5 million and 5.3 million views, respectively. 

The premier also ranked in second place in Digital Entertainment Group’s Top 20 streamed movies or shows last week, losing out to the film Free Guy, while previous Yellowstone seasons also placed at the 11th and 19th spots.  

Although Yellowstone is often compared to HBO’s Succession – they came out the same year and are both family-business dramas – it breaks the mold for hit series as it’s based not on the East or West coasts, but in Montana. It is shot in Utah.

And unlike shows like Succession that play up current drama in the Big Apple or Los Angeles, Yellowstone avoids big city issues and political correctness conflicts, and instead puts a lens on rural America where local businesses are losing wealth and power in a changing nation. 

Iconic: Kevin Costner plays John Dutton in the hit show Yellowstone, which became the most watched show in America last month

Iconic: Kevin Costner plays John Dutton in the hit show Yellowstone, which became the most watched show in America last month

Wow: Yellowstone garnered more than 8 million viewers last week with its season four premier

Wow: Yellowstone garnered more than 8 million viewers last week with its season four premier

The show premiered in 2018, and although it had respectable ratings, it’s season three premier last year drew only about half – 4.23 million viewer – of the current season’s viewership. 

Yellowstone focuses on Costner’s John Dutton, a landowning rancher in Montana overseeing his wealth and family, a setting rarely seen among modern top-rated shows.   

Emily VanDerWerff, a TV critic for Vox, ultimately credits Yellowstone’s success on its ability to tap into middle America and portray a different kind of fantasy. 

‘Yellowstone takes a kind of comfort in the leisurely pleasures of a world where everything is as it should be. ‘This is fine,’ it says, as the evening sun spreads red fire in the west.’

Although the show has received little media attention despite its high viewership, it did receive its share of criticisms when it first aired.  

Tim Goodman, of The Hollywood Reporter, called the show a ‘testosterone grit-fest’ that is far from relatable. 

‘Yellowstone tries to be so expansive and soap-operatic that there’s barely any realism in it,’ Goodman wrote.

Tough competition: The show beat out its contemporary, Succession, whose third season premiered last month

Tough competition: The show beat out its contemporary, Succession, whose third season premiered last month

Just before the season three finale, Kathyrn VanArendonk, of Vulture, wrote that Yellowstone ‘is the most white, male American show on TV. 

She wrote that the show focuses on portraying the idea that city folk are ‘namby-pambies who don’t value the good things: Dirt. Cows. Empty horizons. Silence. Those people are less sweaty, less callused, less worthy.’  

‘It’s a supremely masculine, American, whiteness-inflected ethos of how Yellowstone yearns for the world to work.’

She added that John Dutton served as a reflection of America, where white, land owning men were desperate to hold onto the old way amid a changing nation threatening to leave them behind. 

Subtext aside, the most political the show ever gets is through its portrayal of interactions between the white ranchers and Indigenous Americans, as they fight for land ownership. 

Costner, also executive producer on the show, was once a Reagan-era Republican, then turned Democrat and announced last year that he has become an independent.

One to watch: The show has received praise for its portrayal of Middle America. Pictured, Kelsey Chow, left, and Kevin Costner as Monica and John Dutton

One to watch: The show has received praise for its portrayal of Middle America. Pictured, Kelsey Chow, left, and Kevin Costner as Monica and John Dutton

The actor told the Daily Beast that he now finds America’s two-party system ‘too limiting.’ 

‘The Democratic Party doesn’t represent anything that I think, and neither does the Republican Party right now — at all,’ Costner, 66, said. 

Despite appearing apolitical, Costner has been vocal about teaching more Americans the history of indigenous peoples, something that appears every now and again on Yellowstone. 

‘It’s not always a pretty picture but it’s so wonderful to understand it, and only in understanding it can you develop an empathy, and can understand that we wiped out over 500 [Native American] nations,’ Costner told the Daily Beast. 

‘These stories aren’t designed to embarrass or make you ashamed—they’re designed to make you aware.’

After Yellowstone’s double-episode premier, the show will continue this Sunday with episode three.  Seasons one through three also are streaming on Peacock.  

Yellowstone follows life on a family ranch led by Costner’s John Dutton

Yellowstone follows the story of the Dutton Family, led by John Dutton who controls the largest ranch in the US. 

The drama, set in the 1880s, comes from Dutton’s ambition to hold onto his wealth and land, which is constantly under attack by greedy land developers, a Native American reservation and the titular national park. 

Kevin Costner plays John, the sixth-generation patriarch who runs the ranch.

Luke Grimes, known for his roles in American Sniper and Fifty Shades of Grey, takes on the role of John’s son, Kayce Dutton, a former US Navy SEAL who is married to a local Native American woman. 

English actress Kelly Reilly plays John’s daughter, Beth Dutton, a financier and master manipulator who suffers from substance abuse and his loyal to her father.  

Cole Hauser – an acting veteran who’s been in Dazed and Confused, Good Will Hunting and The Break Up – also stars as Rip Wheeler, John’s right-hand man and Beth’s love interest. 

The show’s popularity has shot grown since its pilot episode garnered 2.83 million views in 2018. By the season three finale, The World is Purple, the show saw more than 5 million people tuning in. 

The recent season four double-episode premier had about 8.38 million viewers. 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk