Kevin Costner Finally Breaks His Silence On Yellowstone Drama: “I Have Taken A Beating From Those F***ing Guys”

Kevin Costner Yellowstone
Paramount Network

John Dutton speaks.

The Yellowstone drama with Kevin Costner has been well-documented, on this website as well as others, and I have to say after following all of it for the past year or more, I still think Costner is getting the short end of the stick… at least, according to the media.

By now, most fans are well aware that Kevin Costner (who plays the Dutton family patriarch John Dutton) will not be featured in the second half of Season 5, the final installment of the Taylor Sheridan flagship series. Scheduling conflicts, delays, creative differences, and perhaps some unchecked egos have ultimately led to Costner and Sheridan parting ways, and it’s been reported that the conclusion of the show (which is filming now) has already been written without Costner in it. Costner, who is spending over $100 million of his own money on a 4-part movie series called Horizon, allegedly wanted more money to come back for more filming, Sheridan told him to kick rocks, the show is ending and here we are.

But to me, after reading all of the statements from everybody and even the scoops from “inside sources,” it sounds like there was always a plan in place, Costner scheduled his passion project around that, for whatever reason Yellowstone got moved around, and Costner could no longer meet his Yellowstone obligations without serious detriment to his own project. That’s what it sounds like to me, and now, Mr. John Dutton himself, Kevin Costner is saying… basically that.

In an interview with Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. Costner gets into all things Horizon, and briefly touches on the Yellowstone drama for the first time, well… ever. And according to Costner, as well as a number of other sources, it was the continuously moving timeline that ultimately torpedoed the show.

“I made a contract for seasons five, six and seven. In February, after a two- or three-month negotiation, they made another contract. They wanted to redo that one, and instead of seasons six and seven, it was 5A and 5B, and maybe we’ll do six. They weren’t able to make those. Horizon was set in the middle, but Yellowstone was first position. I fit Horizon into the gaps. They just kept moving their gaps.”

And it was pretty widely reported from insiders that Taylor Sheridan was late with scripts, production delays (whether strike-related or not) were slowing things down, and the goalposts got moved. And the blame probably doesn’t fall on one person, but with Costner sinking a ton of his own money into his Horizon project, you have to understand his unwillingness to pivot for the sake of the Sheridan series.

He goes on to say that he made Yellowstone priority #1, and yet, was still painted as the villain who was unreasonable and difficult to work with. Yet he doesn’t seem to blame Sheridan, it sounds like he blames the executives at Paramount:

“I don’t want to get down in the gutter with the Yellowstone thing but what I’m telling you is straight up. I have taken a beating from those f***ing guys and I know a lot of times where it’s coming from. I just elected not to get into that. But if you know me well enough, I made Yellowstone the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong. I did not initiate any of those things. They did. They were doing a tap dance and this poor guy [Sheridan] was also having to write so much. And I don’t know why they didn’t stick up for me.”

Costner goes on to explain why he’s been so quiet about Yellowstone amid all of this controversy:

“I don’t do press outside my movies. I don’t live in the press, in between. Now I’m promoting my movie. I could say ‘no comment’ all the way through… but this is a realistic question. I will address it. They should have known that there was going to be an opportunity for me to say something. I didn’t have to answer the slings and arrows over the last year and a half, because I’ve just been busy working. They’ve been pretty slick about keeping their hands off; nobody was ever on the record.”

You can sense the hurt in Costner’s words from this interview.

It clearly sounds like he was dead set on finishing Yellowstone strong, and making it a priority, even over his Horizon passion project. But at some point, when you’re sinking over $100 million of your own money into a movie series, you can’t keep waiting on Yellowstone to get it together. Of course, there are two sides to every coin, and we’ve heard what they tell the media and not what goes on behind closed doors, but it certainly doesn’t sound like Costner is the bad guy here.

And here’s the other consideration, Paramount licensed the streaming rights for Yellowstone to Peacock before the show took off and they built their own streaming giant with Paramount+. It would definitely make a of financial sense to end the show early, and but keep the buzz going with more and more spinoffs that they can stream on their own platform. Do the executives at Paramount care about the storyline? The cast? The conclusion? No, they care about money, and the prior streaming deal means Yellowstone isn’t bringing in as much as they’d like. Does that suck for the legacy Yellowstone? Absolutely. You just hope they can bring it home without Costner and give the show the ending that it deserves.

I guess we’ll find out come November…

Although prior to this interview, sources have said that Costner would still be on board for the finale, even in a cameo appearance, and I have to say, I hope that he does. I’m not that optimistic, but this show has been pretty great, and while I don’t think it ended the way fans hoped (or Sheridan even hoped), let’s try and give it a proper send off, eh?

Stay tuned…

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