Ryan is the ultimate right-hand man on ‘Yellowstone.’ HL spoke with Ian Bohen about the final episodes of the terrific third season, Ryan’s feelings about the bunkhouse changes, and more.
Yellowstone’s third season has put the Dutton ranch at risk more than ever before. The Duttons have become embroiled in the fight of their lives as they try to save their family’s land and legacy. Ryan has been by the Duttons’ side as they try to navigate this fight.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Ian Bohen about what lies ahead in season 3. He teased that the final episodes will have the “same level of thrill” as previous seasons, but they will be “different.” He also opened up about life in Montana and how this role is a “dream come true.”
There have been a lot of changes in the bunkhouse this season. How do you think Ryan feels about all the changes?
Ian Bohen: He’s a little bit flummoxed by the relationships that have come in and swept through. Obviously, Mia and Lloyd is something that just perplexes him to no end. I’m playing him but I watch the show and I watch Ryan and go, “God, that guy’s got to be fuming hot.” And then Teeter and Colby, that one he can enjoy because he can stir the pot and he can play with that one and make it fun. He touches all of the things that are happening and the little nuggets. I call him a designated hitter. He bats for every team and smacks things around, but he doesn’t have his own specific thing yet. I’m not sure he wants one or not.
There has been some romance in the bunkhouse. Is Ryan ever going to get some love?
Ian Bohen: We haven’t talked about that yet. It would be hard. We’re kind of running out of options at this point. I wouldn’t put anything past Taylor Sheridan to write some kind of shift. You can only sprinkle so much romance in a show like this, so it would have to serve a storyline or be more than just a romantic interest. It might have to be something like maybe a bad cowboy was sort of thrown into the ranch and was trying to seduce him to be a double agent spy. It would have to be something along those lines to make it important, but he’s probably not just going to get a lady for no reason.
Ryan has put his life on the line a number of times. Do you think that ever gets to Ryan? Or do you think he’s just one of those people that goes into every situation and knows what he’s getting into?
Ian Bohen: I think he does know what he’s getting into. Every opportunity, he wants to succeed and to show the people that he’s working with that he’s as good as them. In professions like this — law enforcement, livestock agents, people in the military — they constantly want the respect of their peers and the people that they’re working with, to show them that they’re willing to do whatever it takes. It’s very competitive in that sense. There’s never hesitation to take an opportunity to prove your valor and you’re not afraid to show that you’re willing to sacrifice for the people that you’re working with. He loves it and wants not recognition but the mutual respect of his peers and demand it of them as well. So he’s always going to rush headlong into things like this.
He’s gotten to work a lot with Kayce, and I’ve loved seeing their dynamic grow. Kayce has a much bigger role with the ranch and everything now. How do you feel about their dynamic and how that connection and trust is growing?
Ian Bohen: I have friends and we have a very similar relationship, and I presume that this is the same idea, sometimes we don’t have to lay it all out and say, “Hey, how are you feeling? What’s your life about?” You can just sit and sort of understand one another. It’s a comfortable bridge to sit on when you can’t be with your family, you have these two different worlds always pulling apart and you need a little area where you can just be at peace. I think Ryan offers that to a lot of different characters. It’s a very calm neutrality. The characters can enjoy that. We talk a lot about saying things when we’re working, and we’ll come up with ideas where we can actually sort of communicate, Luke [Grimes] and I. We feel like that’s what the characters are for one another. It’s a very peaceful, easy kind of jam, so I enjoy it. I’m trying to show that Ryan can be that kind of a person for all of the people in the bunkhouse. I think it’s coming along with Rip’s character where he used to get his butt kicked and cursed out all the time. Now it’s grown and that development is obviously interesting to me to play with. I think people like to watch it.
I like that there’s a stability about Ryan. There’s a stable factor to him that I really enjoy because we’re dealing with a lot of different characters here, and there’s just something that every time I see you in a scene or something I just feel at peace in a sense.
Ian Bohen: I appreciate that. But also what that does is that sets up the dismantling of that piece probably. I don’t know this for sure, but I would imagine once we get you feeling that way is when we turn it upside down and make something tragic out of it because we’ve got you. I wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes an unsettled dynamic, and he goes in a different direction. We always set it up, knock it down, set it up, knock it down. So I’m anticipating something like that happening over the next couple of years.
That’s the magic of Taylor Sheridan. We just found out Jamie was adopted. I just gasped when I saw that reveal.
Ian Bohen: When I read it, I did the same thing. We were all like, oh my gosh. And then your mind starts clicking. What does this mean? Where’s this going? In the last four episodes, you’ll see where that goes. You won’t be able to wait until the next season because you have to know what’s going to happen. It has been set up in a way where… you talk about gasp. It’s gnarly.
Ryan has worked a lot of people in the bunkhouse. He’s also worked with Jamie, Kayce, and John. As someone who has been around the Duttons, how do you think Ryan feels about that family as a whole?
Ian Bohen: We don’t know about his past. He doesn’t have a wife, so this is his surrogate family. I get to play with him wanting to participate in the drama that is sometimes violent and awful because that could be at least more exciting than nothing. He might be willing to take that, and he lives sort of vicariously through the relationships in the family without getting to be in it. I imagine there’s longing and remorse and regret about his family that he’s either lost or lost connection with. It’s like going to the movies, if you will. And then the movie ends and you have to go home to the bunkhouse. That does sound a little sad now that I hear it out loud, but that to me is how he deals with what’s going on in the family. He can watch the movie, but he can’t be in it.
With every season of Yellowstone, there’s always a lot of action. What can we expect in these final episodes? The Duttons have a lot going on with Roarke and Willa Hayes trying to take their land. There’s a lot of play here.
Ian Bohen: We’re obviously not allowed to give too much away, but what I can do to answer this question is tell you in the season that you just described, it’s so thrilling and so immediate, edge of your seat type of excitement that we can’t do that all the time consistently. We have to mutate it. You’re going to have the same level of thrill, but it’s going to be in a different way so much so that it will grab you intellectually, psychologically, and it will make you think about the future. It’s like the shot in The Shining where use zoom the camera out on the lens and you push the actual camera in. It looks like the wall is getting closer to you, and it’s like when you realize the person’s mind is blowing up. We’re going to do that and give you that same thrill without necessarily having a giant gun battle or kidnap torture scene. It’s going to dismantle your mind and get you ready for: what does this mean for later? It’s going to be the same but different, if that makes sense.
The show has been renewed for season 4. Is there anything you really want to touch upon with Ryan in future episodes?
Ian Bohen: You’re going to see things happen in the remaining episodes of this season that will let you know what those things are going to be. That will be shown, so then you’ll be able to go, oh, wow, I can get what he’s going to do.
Yellowstone is a very physical show with horseback riding and everything. Was that something that was familiar to you or were you a rookie?
Ian Bohen: I was fortunate that I grew up riding horses, and I was very comfortable on them. I was able let Taylor know that whatever he wanted to put in the script regarding horses and riding I can do that. It makes it so much easier for the production when they can plan how they’re going to do it. It becomes fun to do what you know how to do in cool ways.
The setting alone on Yellowstone is just absolutely stunning. I want to go to Montana now. What’s it been like embracing Montana and that way of life?
Ian Bohen: As a kid, all I wanted to be was a cowboy. I would set up a sawhorse or crates or boxes, throw blankets over them, and pretend that was my horse and create a world of gun-slinging and riding. That’s all I ever wanted to do and be. If you think hard enough about something, eventually it sort of manifests. So here I am… I’m looking out down this valley in Montana, and you go to work and go to the barn or the ranch and you’ve got the characters, and it’s literally a dream come true. There’s no shoe that drops. You just have to breathe it in and enjoy it and be peaceful and let yourself have the moment. And that’s every day. It is fantastic. It’s cold in the morning, it’s hot in the afternoon, and it’s cold at night. There’s different kinds of animals, the seasons change, and there’s a tempo in the way that the world moves around this area. You’re just kind of a little ingredient in it. You’re in the system. So if you’re aware of it and you listen to it, you become part of it. It feels very good. Come to Montana and hang out and just be in the world. It’s spectacular.