“We never really spoke individually of any characters from Yellowstone or 1883,” Sklenar clarifies. “But there was a discussion about how the men in the Dutton family communicate, and how they handle and compose themselves. There is this generational way of dealing with things and showing up as a man in the world. There’s a nobility that I really love about Spencer. A throughline in a lot of these [Dutton men], is doing whatever they can to show up for their family, and the people they love. It’s just a noble trait but there’s [also] a very specific masculine presence or vibe, and you can tell that they’re all cut from the same cloth.”
What many fans recognize is that Dutton fabric is often stained with blood and Spencer especially has the lion’s share of demons to fight. So many, in fact, that he is the first and only Dutton to distance himself from his family and their Yellowstone ranch. While Spencer may be the only one chasing his demons across continents, that stoic suffering has been seen in Tim McGraw’s James Dutton in 1883, all the way to Kevin Costner’s John in the contemporary Yellowstone.
So how does an actor convey so much, yet do so little on screen? As much as Sklenar once again credits the writing of Taylor Sheridan, as so many Sheridan actors have done in the past, it is a carefully crafted balance that the actor has adopted seamlessly into his performance.
“You have to keep everything so internalized and pick your moments in terms of when these colors are being revealed. So for me creating that inner monologue is the biggest thing. There is a life underneath [the surface]. Spencer is constantly pulling it back and restraining things. It’s still captivating, and you’re still telling a story without having to say anything. It’s very much a “Dutton” archetype and I think that’s what makes them appealing to watch.”
Arguably the most anticipated story thread when 1923 returns on Feb. 5 is how much of an impact Spencer is going to have as he travels back home. His uncle and surrogate father is clinging to life, his brother is dead, and his Aunt Cara (Helen Mirren) desperately needs a strong presence back in Montana to fight off those who threaten the family.
The question becomes, what version of Spencer are fans going to see – the bloodthirsty wild man fresh off hunting man eating predators, or the soft spoken sweetheart, wearing a mask of Irish stoicism rather than letting his family back in? Sklenar explains, there is certainly room for both.