Kevin Costner spoke out for the first time and told his side of the months-long dispute with the hit show Yellowstone.
Costner testified at his divorce hearing on Friday, and the conversation covered his finances from the Paramount Network series, which has become the most-watched drama on television.
According to People (along with other reports), the 68-year-old Golden Globe-winning Yellowstone star said he might take the show to court to resolve their differences. Costner claimed he was owed $12 million for the unfilmed second half of season five after Paramount “broke off” negotiations.
“That’s a little disappointing [it’s the] #1 show on television [and] “I’m not participating,” said Costner, whose wife of 19 years, Christine Baumgartner, filed for divorce in May. “I’ll probably go to court.”
Costner’s representatives and Paramount’s representatives had no comment.
Yellowstone has been on hiatus since the first half of season five aired late last year. The reason for the delay remained somewhat unclear. Production sources blamed the actor’s busy schedule, sources in the actor’s camp claimed showrunner Taylor Sheridan had taken on too many projects, and Sheridan himself pointed to Paramount’s increasing demand for more content for its streaming service.
One factor is that Costner has signed on for a dream project, a four-part film saga called Horizon, with at least the first film, Horizon: An American Saga, already finished filming. After the decision was made last year to split Yellowstone’s fifth season into two seasons, Costner said he rearranged his production schedule with Horizon. But when he wanted to start filming, the scripts for the second half of the season were not yet ready. In May, Paramount surprised fans by announcing that the show would end with the second half of season five.
Costner claimed he wanted to return for season six, but “I couldn’t help them anymore. We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than in previous seasons [and] There were creative issues.”
In ‘s cover story profile of Sheridan, the showrunner weighed in on the matter.
The actor had asked to work fewer and fewer days at Yellowstone in recent seasons to focus on his films, which Sheridan said frustrated producers.
“My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project that he wanted to lead,” said Sheridan, who is currently pushing hard to support the WGA strike. “He and the network argued about when he could finish Yellowstone. I said, “We can certainly work out a schedule.” [his preferred exit date]’which we did.”
There are ongoing discussions to convince Costner to film a few scenes to encapsulate his character, although the scripts are not ready yet.
“My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t changed,” says Sheridan. “His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful… and I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t sort out over the phone. But once lawyers get involved, people can’t talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and trying to shift blame on the apparent reaction of the press or public. He took a lot of it on the chin and I don’t know if anyone deserved that. His film seems to be a big priority for him and he wants to shift the focus. I really hope so [the movie is] that it’s worth it – and that it’s good.
“I’m disappointed,” Sheridan added. “It shortens the unity of his character. It doesn’t change it, but it cuts it down.”
Sheridan suggested that John Dutton would never be around to the end of the series and that the ending of “Yellowstone” remained unchanged from his original script. Still, Costner’s statements in court today suggest that if Costner’s role does indeed end in season five, it will be a huge cut considering the original plan was to keep him for seven seasons.