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Yellowstone's Luke Grimes And Jefferson White Explain How Kevin Costner Has Influenced Them The Most

Luke and Jimmy in Yellowstone Season 4
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Having earned their first official award nomination as a group in 2022 (for the SAG Awards), Yellowstone’s cast is filled with extremely talented actors who excel at delivering all the heightened drama and dysfunctional family chaos that co-creator Taylor Sheridan throws at them on an episodic basis. And the way stars Luke Grimes and Jefferson White have experienced it, John Dutton’s portrayer Kevin Costner has just as much of an overarching influence on those around him as his fictional patriarch does, though the actor obviously doesn’t lean on his co-stars to commit to anything nearly as murderous as the tasks John sets for Rip and Kayce, among others.

Known to fans for four seasons now as Kayce Dutton and Jimmy Hurdstrom, respectively, stars Luke Grimes and Jefferson White were on hand for Yellowstone’s latest Deadline Contenders panel, where they talked about the western drama’s fourth season and reflected on how the series’ popularity has grown from year to year. When the two asked about their biggest takeaways from working with a Hollywood legend like Kevin Costner on a daily basis, Luke Grimes spoke up first, saying:

I would say his worth ethic, how much he really cares. I always say, at the level he’s at, he wouldn’t have to work that hard or care that much. He’s Kevin Costner. He could show up and phone it in and no one would say anything. But he really deeply still cares about the material and about the quality of his work, and how much he invests in making every single scene as good as possible.

Working on a Taylor Sheridan TV show doesn’t seem like the kind of gig where an actor can just sit back and glide without constantly busting ass. And the asses getting busted are probably also sore from riding horses and wearing tight jeans and running around all day. Such is life in Paradise Valley, and it almost definitely helps to be able to have someone like Kevin Costner around to serve as a motivator and inspiration for the cast and crew to rally behind. It’s a view that Kelly Reilly also shares from playing his oft-argumentative daughter Beth. (Their relationship’s verve is palpable enough that Costner is often asked by fans what he’s going to do about Beth.)

The dude’s done it all when it comes to acting (perhaps minus something like Nic Cage’s critically acclaimed meta-flick The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent), and would probably still be an influence even if he just gruffly went into his trailer any time he wasn’t being filmed. Such is the aura of professionalism that surrounds and consumes Kevin Costner.

Jefferson White followed up on Luke Grimes’ answer in agreement, saying just how wide that influence spreads beyond the lead actors.

Yeah, that permeates all the way down the call sheet. He takes it so seriously — it’s such a labor of love for him every day that he’s on set, that energy permeates everybody in the cast and the crew. And it really starts to feel like a personal labor of love for a crew of 150, for a cast of 30. His leadership at the head of that really trickles down in amazing ways.

Certainly both Kayce and Jimmy have taken character and behavior notes from John Dutton across the four seasons thus far. White’s character finally learned how to be a true cowboy after he pissed off the big boss enough to have Jimmy exiled to Texas’ 6666 Ranch, the setting for one of the upcoming spinoffs. And Kayce seemed to learn more ways how not to mimic his father, in that he chose to move away from the ranch to make his wife Monica happy, even though that inevitably ended up going askew thanks to his vision quest in the finale. Can’t win ‘em all, I guess. 

Both Kayce and Jimmy’s stories will continue in Season 5, which even came as a surprise to Jefferson White, but we still don’t know when those episodes will kick off, though production is said to be starting up this summer. In the meantime, fans can catch all four seasons streaming now for Peacock subscribers, as well as airing regularly on Paramount Network.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.