‘1923’: Meet the Real Spencer Dutton [Dutton Rules]
The actor who plays Spencer Dutton on Yellowstone prequel 1923 is as mysterious as the character. Brandon Sklenar plays the rugged, tortured and toned second son to James Dutton. If you've never heard of him, you can be forgiven.
Part of why the New Jersey native is so mysterious is because he'd not yet had his breakout role. So, maybe we're just projecting his character's personality onto him. That's not fair, right?
Who Plays Spencer Dutton on 1923?
Brandon Sklenar has built up a very nice resume, but he's only been a part of a few commercial projects. Most notably he fought Christian Bale's Dick Cheney in Vice and played actor Burt Reynolds in The Offer. A turn in FOX sitcom New Girl also stands out among several critically-acclaimed arthouse projects.
He doesn't appear to come from an acting family, but has done quite well for himself while managing to create healthy boundaries between work and private life (a sparse Instagram feed exemplifies this). One piece of trivia that's relevant to Sklenar's current job is that his great-grandfather fought in World War I and the family saved letters he wrote to Sklenar's great-grandmother. Those messages helped shape his character and dialogue.
This week's episode of Dutton Rules is focused on Spencer Dutton and Sklenar. Since the show debuted in December, he's given several interviews and has spoken candidly about his place on the Dutton Family tree (he's not sure if he's John Dutton's grandfather or not), his chemistry with Alexandra actor Julia Schlaepfer (immediate and intense) and how he'll be different once the series resumes on Sunday (Feb. 5).
Taste of Country did some digging to learn that creator Taylor Sheridan might have had a real-life big game hunter in mind when writing Spencer in his current form.
Was Spencer Dutton a Real-Life Person?
We have to hat tip Collider for first spotlighting a line of dialogue that shot right past us as we watched early episodes of 1923. During one of their first meetings, Alexandra mentions the Tsavo Man-Eaters, a pair of lions that attacked and killed dozens of workers trying to build a railroad in Kenya in 1898.
For nearly nine months, the two lions worked together to terrorize the community before John Henry Patterson brought them down. Flash-foward to (fictional) 1923 and find famed big game hunter Spencer Dutton after two cheetahs with a taste for human flesh.
Next up, a pride of lions threatening to pull him and Alex out of a tree after their joyriding trip goes horribly wrong. It's another example of how Sheridan has rooted his drama in truth.