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Jefferson White Dishes On His Role On Yellowstone And Hosting The Show's Official Podcast - Exclusive Interview

As good-natured Jimmy, actor Jefferson White has become a fan favorite on the Paramount Network's runaway hit "Yellowstone," which just ended its record-breaking fourth season. While we may or may not be seeing him again on the series — Jimmy parted ways with the Dutton-owned ranch in the season finale, fueling speculation that he would be starring on the upcoming "6666" spin-off — White will be keeping the spirit of Jimmy alive by hosting "The Official Yellowstone Podcast," which features weekly sit-down interviews with cast and crew of the show.

Prior to starring on "Yellowstone," White appeared on "How to Get Away With Murder," "House of Cards," and "Blindspot," all since starting his career in 2014. Now, with his perceived exit from the series, fans are hotly debating what his next move might be. Will he return to "Yellowstone" once again? Will he be starring on "6666?" Has he parted ways with the franchise completely?

It's a topic Looper touched on during an exclusive interview with White, who also shared behind-the-scenes tidbits on what it's like working with co-stars Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly and discussed his hosting duties for "The Official Yellowstone Podcast."

Jefferson White sees starring on Yellowstone as an 'immersive' experience

Your first acting credit, at least according to IMDB, was in 2014. What a ride it must be for you, as just four years later you landed "Yellowstone," which has turned into a huge hit. What has it been like to have gone from zero to 60 so quickly in your career, and what's been the best part of the journey?

It certainly doesn't feel like it. It feels like it's been a long and punishing road, even though, obviously, I've been incredibly lucky. It's always this sort of strange and winding path. As an actor, you never really know where you're going to wind up. You kind of audition for everything and the jobs you get, you cling to like a barnacle for as long as you can. I feel so, so lucky to have wound up on "Yellowstone." It's the best job I've ever had, and it's been an incredible journey over the course of four years. It has had such an incredible response from audiences. It's a show that I love that also has found an audience that loves it, and that's been a tremendous gift.

I've been so grateful for that, and so thankful to our audience and the community that has sprung up around the show, because it means that we get to keep making it, because one of the great gifts of television uniquely is the durational nature of working on it. The fact that we've got to work on it for four years now deepens the work so much, and gives you an opportunity, as an actor, that you very rarely get to have — an extended relationship to a character in a world. So that's been such a gift and I'm so grateful.

You mentioned it being punishing. And I recently spoke to a few people appearing on the "1883" spin-off, like Tim McGraw and LaMonica Garrett, and they mentioned cowboy camp being brutal. For you, what's the best part of playing Jimmy, and how hard was it to prepare for the role and get into character?

Because cowboying, ranching, riding is a way of life, it's something that a lot of these guys start doing when they're three years old. As soon as they can walk, they get up on a horse. And catching up to that, playing catch up for the last four years, has been very, very difficult, but also very rewarding. As an actor, it's such a gift to have the circumstances be so immersive. They're constantly pulling you into the world of the story. There's not a lot you have to fake. You're not really pretending because you're really surrounded by cows, you're really on horseback, you're really in the mountains of Montana, and that's been simultaneously very difficult and also very rewarding as an actor.

He doesn't have any say in where Jimmy will wind up

Where is Jimmy's storyline heading? Might we see him on the "6666" spin-off?

I wish I knew. I think you won't be surprised to hear that they don't tell me anything, and it's mostly my job just to try to hold on to the bucking bronco at any given moment. Anytime I try to guess what ["Yellowstone" creator] Taylor Sheridan's going to do, what he actually does is much better, and more surprising, and cooler, and more interesting than what I would've guessed. So, at this point I've learned to just try to hold on.

Would you like to move over to the "6666" spin-off, or would you like to stay on "Yellowstone?"

Yeah, it's really wherever it takes me. Similar to real life, you don't get many choices. For Jimmy, he doesn't get a lot of choices. He was plucked, picked up, and tossed to the Yellowstone ranch. At some point, they got sick of him messing up and threw him over to the Sixes. He gets buffeted back and forth by these powerful forces. I really think it's appropriate, then, that I, myself, don't make a lot of choices. I try to do a good job, show up, and be a good soldier wherever they send me.

Who's your favorite character to play opposite of on "Yellowstone?"

There's so many. We're so blessed to have so many incredible actors on the show. Kevin is obviously a legend and a genius, but we're also lucky in that we have five more movie stars at the top of our call sheet. We have such an incredible ensemble cast.

I love working with Cole Hauser, I love working with Forrie J. Smith, I love working with Ryan Bingham. I really love working with Eden Brolin, who plays Mia. I really love working with Denim Richards and Ian Bohen, who play Colby and Ryan. This season, Season 4, I really had a tremendous time working with Kat Kelly, who plays Emily. It's impossible to choose. We're so lucky to have such a rich and full ensemble cast. I think that also speaks to the fact that Taylor attracts the best actors in the world, and then also me for some reason. Taylor attracts amazing artists and good people to his projects, and that's been an incredible gift.

Any funny or memorable moments on set that stand out in your mind?

Cole Hauser ... every scene with Cole, I'm always amazed at his physical presence. When he's in character as Rip, he really is like a center of gravity in any room he's in. So that's always fun and rewarding as an actor to be in his presence, and to feel that center of gravity that both the character and the actor have. That's always amazing. And then Kevin Costner, Jimmy's relationship to John Dutton is exactly like my relationship to Kevin. Jimmy looks up to John Dutton, he's constantly trying to learn from him, he has tremendous respect from him, and is a little bit afraid of him. That's exactly how I feel about Kevin. He's the nicest guy in the world. He's much nicer and kinder than John Dutton, but I still can't help but be a little bit of afraid of him all the time.

He digs deep and really gets to know the cast on the Official Yellowstone Podcast

Kelly Reilly, as Beth, is a huge fan favorite, and one of the best bad girls on TV right now. I got a chance to interview her a while ago, but I'm wondering what your take on her is. What's it like to work with her?

I've known Kelly for four years now and I feel so lucky to have known her for that time, but Jimmy and Beth never really share the screen together, which is very lucky, I think, for Jimmy. I don't imagine that would go well for Jimmy. But doing "The Official Yellowstone Podcast" was an opportunity that I hadn't had before to sit down with Kelly, talk to her for an hour and a half about her process, about her experience of playing Beth. It was incredibly exciting and rewarding for me to get to know her as an artist by talking to her for the podcast. So, I was really grateful for that.

Kelly is a real actor's actor. She's an incredible performer who is so capable of fully embodying Beth — making Beth not only a full, well-rounded, rich character, but also bigger than that. A force of nature when she needs to be, an incredible explosive powerhouse. I think that's such a very, very difficult task. Taylor has asked Kelly to do something very, very difficult, and Kelly has risen to the challenge and exceeded it in so many ways — and really, in a lot of ways, I think, is responsible for so much of what makes the show work as a whole. I think, in many ways, Kelly, and Cole, and Kevin are at the center of the show and really muscling it forward in such an impressive way.

Now, piggybacking on that, and talking a little bit more about the "Official Yellowstone Podcast," how did that come to be, and how'd you get involved?

Well, one of the amazing things about the fan response to the show is that there's been this community and culture growing around it for four years now. We just got to the point where, for me, the podcast has been this incredible opportunity to participate in some of that conversation that's been going on around the show. I'm very active on social media, and the podcast has been a way to take conversations that I've seen in the comments section of Instagram posts and have those conversations with Kelly, with Cole, with Luke Grimes, with Wes Bentley. That's been such a gift.

As much as anything, I'm a fan of the show. I love the show dearly, and so I thought of the whole podcast experiment as a way to participate in the conversation of the show, and to hear that conversation from the horse's mouth, from the actors and the creative team that bring the show to life. [I] felt so lucky for that opportunity.

Who's been your favorite interview so far?

They're all spectacular. Kelly was someone who I hadn't gotten a chance to talk to much other than as friends, so digging into Kelly's process was an incredible opportunity. The same goes for Wes. Jimmy never spends any time on screen with Jamie, really, so it was amazing to get to talk to Wes about his experience, [and] also because that character, Jamie, is such a complicated and polarizing character. It was amazing to get to talk to Wes about his process there. And then talking to Mo Brings Plenty about his experience of working on the show was an incredible gift.

I got to talk to Taylor about his experience writing the show, making the show. I got to interview my own boss, which is a rare opportunity — a rare and terrifying opportunity, I would say. It's impossible to choose just one. I just feel so lucky that everybody gave me their time. Everybody in the cast and crew was so gracious, and patient, and generous with their time. I'm so grateful for that.

He thinks his next gig will be his 'dream job'

Who haven't you had on the podcast yet that you'd love to have, and what would be the first question you'd ask them?

I'd love the opportunity to talk to fans of the show. I hope that sometime down the road, in the podcast, we can talk to fans of the show, because I think their response to it really is the reason we get to keep making the show. It also is so personally fascinating to see people's interpretations of these characters. I think we often learn about these characters from the audience's experience of them to a certain extent. I would love a chance to sit down with some fans of the show and talk to them about their experience.

Also, so much of it for me, about making "Yellowstone," has been about learning. It's been about learning about this way of life, learning about riding, and ranching, and cowboying, and rodeo. I'd love to keep learning from the show's audience, many of whom are cowboys, many of whom are ranchers, many of whom live in the world that we're depicting. So, talking to people who are authentically living this lifestyle, like Forrie J. Smith, like Ryan Bingham, like Mo Brings Plenty is always an incredible gift.

Now, just one more question and I'll wrap up. What is the one role you wish you could play, whether past, present, or future? Is there a dream role for you?

In "Yellowstone," or beyond?

Whichever way you want to go with that question.

I hate to answer with a cop out, but I think as an actor, so much of our job is about responding to material. It's about figuring out how to make it work in circumstances that are new, and surprising, and strange to us. I'm excited to do that, and part of that is, I don't make a lot of decisions as an actor. I land where I land, and it's a joy to figure out how to conform myself to those contours. I'm excited to find out. I think the dream job is always the next job to a certain extent. I'm looking forward to finding out what that dream role is.

In addition to playing Jimmy on "Yellowstone," which just wrapped Season 4 on the Paramount Network, White also hosts the ongoing "Official Yellowstone Podcast," with new episodes released every Thursday. The first season of "The Official Yellowstone Podcast" was recorded at the Wynn Las Vegas' state-of-the art recording studio. Listen and download wherever you get your podcasts.