Two weeks ago, Deadline reported that Paramount was mulling whether to dump Kevin Costner over his lack of availability to shoot the back half of season five of Yellowstone. No decision has been made yet, but it’s not looking good for Costner or Yellowstone, based on the deeper dive taken by Puck News, which reveals that friction between Costner and Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan has been going on for a long time, in spite of the fact that Sheridan basically resurrected Costner’s career and gave him the clout he needed to direct his dream project, Horizons, the very project that is preventing Costner from fulfilling his duties on Yellowstone.
Reportedly, Costner has long been a pain in the ass, not just on Yellowstone but over the course of his career: I had forgotten that he essentially got the same director fired on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Waterworld; I didn’t know he was an asshole to Sam Raimi on For Love of the Game; that he demanded his own edit to Message in a Bottle, and that he refused to trim The Postman under three hours.
He also apparently began giving notes to Taylor Sheridan early on (Sheridan is the surly prideful type, and not likely to take being noted well), that he’s insisted on being paid for promoting Yellowstone, and that Costner’s assistant apparently tweeted (and later deleted) about Sheridan’s Tulsa King: “Stick to westerns, bro. You don’t know SHIT about THIS life. Stay in your lane, country boy. I’m actually embarrassed for you as a writer and creator.” Yikes.
The impasse on Yellowstone continues, although based on Puck’s reporting, Costner might have made himself more readily available had Paramount picked up distribution rights to Horizon and released it late this year after Warner Brothers refused, citing its busy release schedule. What does that say about the prospects of Horizons?
Paramount didn’t bite, and scheduling is still in limbo, so much so that Taylor Sheridan hasn’t even written the episodes for the back half of season five yet because he doesn’t know whether he will have Costner to work with. The back half of season five was supposed to air this summer, but Costner is now telling Paramount that he’s going to be busy with Horizons until October, which means that the back half of season five couldn’t possibly air until the end of the year, or when season six should have been released.
It’s all a real shame, too, because apparently, the cast and crew have been “frustrated by his ego and his unavailability for a few years now.” For several of the cast members — Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser — Yellowstone has completely resurrected their careers. And while the same can be said for Kevin Costner, he’s apparently the only one who doesn’t appreciate that, even though he apparently uses Yellowstone branding while he’s on tour with his rock band. (Kevin Costner has a rock band?)
It’s a mess, and Paramount really does have to decide whether to take a risk and end Yellowstone and all the promotional value that it affords the network, or continue to work with a huge pain in the ass until they figure out a better game plan. If Costner doesn’t start playing ball, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if headlines about Costner’s past sexual allegations resurfaced.