John Dutton (Kevin Costner) Yellowstone Still

Kevin Costner Clarifies Controversial Yellowstone Exit: “I Don't Know Why They Didn't Stick Up For Me”

May 14, 2024 4:19 pm GMT

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Following months of rumours and conjecture of a deep rift, Kevin Costner has set the record straight on his sudden departure from the hit neo-Western TV series, Yellowstone.

After playing the lead role, the Godfather-esque John Dutton, who commands a sprawling Montana ranch under attack from neighbouring empires, political enemies, his own family-members and - most urgently of all - modernity, it was announced that Kevin Costner would be abruptly departing from the show following legal disputes.

The narrative had previously been that Costner, one of the executive producers of Yellowstone alongside its creator, Taylor Sheridan, had shifted his attention to his passion project, Horizon - another Western-themed production - at the expense of Yellowstone.

Kevin Costner has put $100 million into Horizon, which is set to premiere at Cannes Film Festival this weekend, with reports emerging that his Horizon commitments had rendered him incapable of fulfilling his Yellowstone Season 5 Part 2 filming schedule.

However, in a new interview with Deadline, Kevin Costner has clarified what actually went down, underlining, “I made a contract for seasons five, six and seven. In February, after a two- or three-month negotiation, they made another contract”.

The Bodyguard star went on to emphasise, “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”.

Despite previous speculation, it seems Costner never chose Horizon over Yellowstone, and he instead claims the Yellowstone organisers kept messing him about with timings, “Listen, 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 fucking 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”.

He then underlined why he hadn't addressed the topic before now, “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”.

From what Costner has said, it feels like there's no bad blood between him and Sheridan, with the latter having also shared previously that the issue didn't arise from anything personal, rather, it stemmed from respective legal teams muddying the waters.

In a THR interview, Sheridan shared, “My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t altered. His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful…and I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t work out on the phone. But once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true, and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting. He took a lot of this on the chin and I don’t know that anyone deserves it”.

We're hoping Costner and Sheridan can take a leaf out of the famously direct, cut-the-nonsense book of John Dutton, and have a heart-to-heart to clear up all the miscommunication. With Costner having confirmed he'd be open to a Yellowstone return, we're keeping our fingers crossed there's still time for a cameo in the forthcoming final instalment of the hugely popular series, which is due to air in November 2024.

For more on Yellowstone, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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