Kevin Costner criticizes ‘Yellowstone’ producers over ‘Bulls-T’ drama, contract dispute


John Dutton takes a stand.

Kevin Costner, 69, has finally broken his silence about his rumored falling out with “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan and his exit from the hit show in its fifth and final season.

“I’ve been beaten by those kingly men, and I often know where that comes from. I’ve just chosen not to dwell on it. But if you know me well enough, you’ve made Yellowstone my first priority, and hinting at anything else would be Wrong thing. I didn’t start any of those things. They did that, Costner Deadline said on Interview published on Monday.

“I got beat up by those guys,” Kevin Costner said of the “Yellowstone” producers. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
“I didn’t start any of this stuff. They did it,” Kevin Costner said of the Yellowstone turmoil. © Paramount Network/Courtesy Everett Collection
“I haven’t had to answer to slings and arrows for the last year and a half,” Kevin Costner said of the rumors. AP

Costner was referring to the behind-the-scenes conflict in Paramount’s hit farm drama, which follows his character John Dutton and his adult children, including Casey (Luke Grimes), Jimmy (Wes Bentley), Beth (Kelly Reilly) and his parents. Brother-in-law of Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser).

In May 2023, news emerged that Costner would not be returning to “Yellowstone” after season five. (This was before Paramount said season 5 would be the series’ last.) In the same month, it was announced that the show would end with a fifth season. Which led to speculation that the show was ending in part due to Costner’s departure.

There were also reports that Costner refused to film for more than a week for the second half of season five, which Costner’s lawyer denied.

Beth Dutton (played by Kelly Reilly, from left), John Dutton (Kevin Costner), Monica Long (Kelsey Asbell) and Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley). Front row: Casey Dutton (Luke Grimes) and Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser).
Kevin Costner said the rumors about him are “bulls–t.” Kevin Lynch
Kevin Costner said speculation about his exit from “Yellowstone” is not “real.” © CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection

The first half of Season 5 concluded in January 2023. The final episodes are scheduled to air at an unspecified date in the fall.

Meanwhile, Costner was filming his epic western “Horizon,” a passion project into which he had invested his own money. The film is coming to theaters on June 28.

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“My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project that he wanted to direct,” Sheridan told The Hollywood Reporter in June, referring to “Horizon.”

Sheridan’s account made it seem like Costner was prioritizing “Horizon” over “Yellowstone.”

“He and the network were arguing about when he could finish ‘Yellowstone.’ I said, ‘We can certainly work on a timeline to make it happen.’” [his preferred exit date]“Which we did,” said the creator.

“Once the lawyers get involved, people can’t talk to each other and they start saying things that aren’t true and they try to shift blame based on how the press or the public reacts,” Sheridan added. “He took a lot of this on the chin, and I don’t know that anyone deserves that.” It seems like his movie is a big priority for him and he wants to shift his focus… I sure hope so [the movie is] Deserves all the effort.”

When asked if filming “Horizon” cut into the time spent filming “Yellowstone,” Costner said, “That’s not true. That’s a lie. That’s not true. Getty Images
Kevin Costner criticized the producers of “Yellowstone” and its network, saying, “They were very good at keeping their hands up.” Paramount Network/Courtesy Everett Cole/Everett Collection
Kevin Costner stars in the film, which he produced, co-wrote and directed, “Horizon,” which hits theaters June 28. A portion of the film will be released in theaters on August 16. YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures

Now, Costner is speaking out and telling his side.

“I’ll take it,” he told Deadline.

“I haven’t had to answer to the slings and arrows for the last year and a half, because I’ve been busy with work. They were very good at keeping their hands off them; no one ever registered.”

Costner said “Yellowstone” was “number one” on his list of priorities. “I didn’t take part in Horizon because I was tired of filming Yellowstone. This is a bulls-eye story. I didn’t shoot “Horizon” to compete with “Yellowstone.” this [project] “This is something I’ve had for a long time,” he said.

Costner said he “didn’t feel good about it last year,” and added that the constant speculation about what was happening “wasn’t honest.”

“They kept moving their gaps,” Kevin Costner said. Kevin Lynch for Paramount Network

He added: “I don’t know why they didn’t commit to me.”

The “Waterworld” star said he negotiated a contract for three more seasons — 5, 6 and 7 — but the powers that be “wrote another contract” shifting to Season 5A and 5B.

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His film “Horizon” was supposed to fit into the gaps between filming of “Yellowstone,” but “they kept moving the gaps around,” he said.

Kevin Costner’s “Horizon” is an epic Western. YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures

When asked if filming “Horizon” cut into the time spent filming “Yellowstone,” Costner said, “That’s not true. That’s a lie. That’s not true. They sent me away for seven days to go to London, to go to England during… Corona virus, to do this [promotion]. “They signed the contract, they chose the days.”

Costner said he “committed” to the contract he signed.

“I gave them 25 of my days for that second thing in November and December [2022]. “What they called 5B,” he said. “The entire month of March [2023]. I never shot the 5B. There was no script. “And then things exploded.”

Kevin Costner in “Horizon.” AP
Kevin Costner said things “blew up” when there were no scripts for filming “Yellowstone.” Getty Images for Cannes Lions Festival

But the problem is that there are no “scripts” for the final part of the “Yellowstone” episodes, he claimed.

“I left exactly when they wanted to, and that made it difficult for me. It turned out they didn’t have the scripts for 5B. They only needed four more days to complete the first eight episodes,” he said.

“I left early to give them what they needed to get a full eight, and I felt bad that the audience didn’t get a 10.”

He said he then offered “a week” on the show.

Kevin Costner said the problem was that there were “no scripts” to film the ending of “Yellowstone.”

“I didn’t have that week to give them, but I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ And then they [spun that] “I only wanted to work for a week,” Costner added.

“You think that’s how I am? I’ve never missed a day of work. I’ve never left before fulfilling my contractual obligations,” the Hollywood vet stated.

“More often than not, I stay as long as I can. In fact, I worked for nine days just to try to help them in July [2022]When I started [Horizon] August 1. I worked with them on Saturday and Sunday, and they still needed four more days. I gave it to them when I thought we were going to do the so-called B thing, but there was no B thing.

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Kevin Costner (from left), Taylor Sheridan, Kelly Reilly and Luke Grimes Getty Images

Costner attributed the show’s long delay to a lack of scripts.

“It all happened because they suspended a whole season, didn’t tell anyone, and I didn’t work for 14 months,” he said. “They wrote these other three shows,” he said, referring to the “Yellowstone” spinoffs, “1883” starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, “1923” starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, and “1944.” Which has not yet premiered.

“They never talk about it,” Costner said. “And all they did was remember that we were going to release the series in June, and then it moved to October. They came back and changed their release pattern. And that was about 14 months in. I said, ‘I can never go through that again,’ so I stopped working.” “For more than a year, I had nothing to do. All I did was protect myself.”

He added: “I was straight with it.” [Taylor Sheridan]He said what we would do, so I believed him and we did not get to that.”

Kevin Costner said he is not prioritizing “Horizon” over “Yellowstone,” contrary to rumours. AFP via Getty Images

Despite all the struggles, Costner said he’s open to returning to “Yellowstone.”

“If the writing is there and I’m happy with it, I’m open to it. But I got beat up because these guys didn’t speak up for me and allowed crazy stories to come out.

“I’m not happy about it. But if the writing’s there, I’ll be there too. It’s that simple: Paramount and 101 Studios mismanaged this,” Costner said. “They booked me for 5, 6, 7. And I agreed to do it. And then they steadily began to change their appearance.

The Post has reached out to representatives for “Yellowstone” and Paramount for comment.

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