'I Have Been Taking A Beating From Those F---ing Guys': Kevin Costner Was Asked About Yellowstone Drama, And It Sounds Like He Disagrees With The Narrative

A screenshot of Kevin Costner as John Dutton sitting at the dining room table in Yellowstone.
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

2024 could theoretically be one of the biggest years of Kevin Costner’s career, in large part due to his return to frontier filmmaking with the upcoming western Horizon: An American Saga. As well, the Oscar-winning director is now expected to make some kind of return to the final episodes of Yellowstone’s fifth season, despite prior reports indicating he was out for good. He’s finally been opening up about the fallout, and it sounds like he doesn’t agree with the existing narrative.

As an actor who purposefully limits the amount of press and promotion he engages with for any particular project, Costner maintained radio silence for all things Yellowstone-related throughout 2023 and the first months of 2024 as he worked on Horizon, even as he was recognized for his work as John Dutton. Now, after having previously voiced a hope to close out John Dutton’s story, the actor has addressed the behind-the-scenes drama that went down, and seems to be shedding some doubtful light on past reports that the feuding was between him and co-creator Taylor Sheridan.

Kevin Costner On The Schedule Issues

Speaking with Deadline, he called things about as being untruthful, aiming to set the record straight with the following:

Well, I haven’t felt good about it the last year, what with the way they’ve talked about it. It wasn’t truthful. So now I’m talking about a little bit about what the real truth of it was. 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.

That's an intriguing update, and one that does more or less counter the going theory throughout the bulk of 2023 that it was Kevin Costner himself who started the drama over Yellowstone's scheduling not matching up with his plans for Horizon. He did shed a little light on the situation when speaking in court during his divorce proceedings about confusion over Season 5's split, but none of that was stated in such a straightforward manner as he put it in the above quote.

The way he puts it, he was on board to film whatever Yellowstone needed, but the expectations for what was needed kept changing due to decisions made at high levels. And it sounds like he's saying non of his work on Horizon caused a conflict for the Paramount Network drama.

Kevin Costner Seemingly Defends Taylor Sheridan, Blames Other Execs

With Taylor Sheridan and Kevin Costner known to be the two biggest personalities on the set in terms of on-set power, it probably wasn't so hard for fans to believe reports that their in-house feuding was causing issues behind the scenes. But Costner appeared to debunk those reports as well, even though he wisely didn't name any specific names when addressing it. As he put it:

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 was also having to write so much. And I don’t know why they didn’t stick up for me. You asked me the question, I’m going to answer it.

Costner very well could have been referring to someone else besides the Yellowstone showrunner when referring to "this poor guy," but it's a known fact that Taylor Sheridan prefers to work alone on scripting the series he's in charge of. Plus, the fact that he continues to use "they" as the opposing force makes it seem like his bone to pick is with more than just a single entity on the show.

As well, Costner pointed to the idea that while he's now publicly sharing his take on that situation, those who spoke against the actor did so anonymously. Which also ties into the idea that he's speaking about network bosses and not Sheridan, who did an interview or two surrounding the WGA strike that further delayed Yellowstone's fifth season. He went on:

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. I won’t say my life is fair game or that any questions are fair game, 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.

To be sure, this whole dispute will likely never become anything other than a "he said/they said" situation, regardless of whether or not Kevin Costner returns to Yellowstone. If he does get to portray John Dutton again before the series is done, Paramount suits will no doubt sing his praises as loudly as ever. And if he doesn't make his way back to Paradise Valley again, the network bosses will sing the praises of all the other actors who did return. The damage has already been done there, even with the proposed Band-Aid of the continuation series, which reportedly still hasn't locked down Matthew McConaughey.

The world of upcoming Yellowstone series is currently in flux, but we know the final episodes will be filming by the end of May 2024, with a November premiere window planned. Here's hoping Costner & Co. can come to some peaceful agreements before all is said and done, so that John Dutton can ride out in a blaze of glory.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.