Yellowstone’s Kelly Reilly Shares How Little Wing Helped Get Her Ready and Raring to ‘Strap Beth Back On’ Again

If by chance you only know Kelly Reilly as Yellowstone badass Beth Dutton, Paramount+’s Little Wing has in store a delightful surprise. In the warm-hearted coming-of-age film, the Englishwoman plays Maddie, a struggling single mother whose younger child steals a priceless racing pigeon in hopes of forestalling the sale of their home. But potentially introducing audiences to a different side of herself was not the reason that she accepted the part.

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“I don’t really think like that,” she tells TVLine, “because look, there may be some people who’ve only ever seen me in Yellowstone, but I’ve been working as an actress for 30 years now. You just don’t want to get bored with yourself. You want to keep it fresh and work with different collaborators and actors and crew…

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“I’d just done two films,” she continues. “A Haunting in Venice with Kenneth Branagh and Here, which is coming out this fall, with Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and I was thinking, ‘I want to fit in as many different characters as I can before I go back onto Yellowstone.’ [Doing so is a way of] keeping it alive for myself so that then, when I go back to Yellowstone, I can kind of strap Beth back on, and it feels reinvigorated because I stepped away.”

Reilly as Maddie in <em>Little Wing</em>
Reilly as Maddie in Little Wing

Perhaps as much as the chance to shake things up, what drew Reilly to Little Wing was the movie’s mixture of messy truthfulness and hard-earned optimism. “The breakup of a family and a marriage is scary and new on every level,” she says. “Maddie is trying to keep a roof over her kids’ heads, and they’re hating her for it. These complexities are so painful and difficult to navigate.

A little mother/daughter bonding in <em>Little Wing</em>
A little mother/daughter bonding in Little Wing

“But the fact that [Little Wing] is ultimately lovely is probably down to Brooklynn [Prince, who plays Maddie’s daughter Kaitlyn] and her wonderful performance, and John Gatins’ script. There is such hope that comes out of it [and yet] it feels gritty. It’s not all tied up neatly in a bow, which I have an aversion to, anyway. I hope that young people watching will respond to the honesty in it. It doesn’t feel in any way condescending.”

Little Wing drops Wednesday, March 13. Yellowstone returns with the back half of its fifth and final season in November.

Press PLAY on the video above to check out the trailer for Little Wing.

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