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Kevin Costner doesn’t hold back in sharing his ‘real truth’ about the ‘Yellowstone’ drama

"If you know me well enough, I made?‘Yellowstone’?the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong," he said.
/ Source: TODAY

Kevin Costner's future on the TV drama "Yellowstone" has been contested between Paramount Network and the actor himself for more than a year.

But Costner, who has played John Dutton since the series premiered in 2018, has now opened up about the drama surrounding the series in an interview with Deadline published on May 13, where he explained the "real truth" of what happened behind the scenes.

"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 f------ guys and I know a lot of times where it’s coming from. I just elected not to get into that," Costner said.

"But if you know me well enough, I made?'Yellowstone'?the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong," he continued. "I did not initiate any of those things. They did."

Kevin Costner in Yellowstone
Kevin Costner in "Yellowstone."Alamy

Costner, who is promoting his upcoming film "Horizon: An American Saga," said that he didn't speak out about the "slings and arrows over the last year and a half" due to being busy with work. But now, he's ready to further address the “Yellowstone” controversy itself.

"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," he said.

Costner explained he made a contract for seasons five, six and seven, and after negotiating for two to three months, the contract turned into one for season 5A and 5B. He also said that he was fitting his film “into the gaps” of the "Yellowstone" schedule — but that the timing kept moving.

Costner said he lived up to the "truth of the contract" and alleged he never shot series 5B because there was no script, saying the public have been "reading one version (of this behind-the-scenes drama) for a year and a half."

"I left my movie to be on time for them for 5B. I left exactly when they wanted, and it made it hard on me. It turns out they didn’t have the scripts for 5B," he said, adding that four additional days was still needed to complete eight episodes. Costner explained that while he "felt bad that the audience didn't get 10" episodes, the lack of scripts made it not possible.

"So, what you read in the end was that I said, 'Well, look, I’m doing my movie. If you want me to work a week because you want to kill me or whatever else, I can give you a week.' I really didn’t have that week to give them, but I said, I’ll do that. And then they (spun that) into, I only wanted to work a week," he said.

Costner doubled down on the lack of scripts causing the friction on the show.

"I said, 'Look, if you want to end this elegantly, the best I can do is give you a week. And if you can figure out a storyline…' I’m usually working six or seven days per each, whatever they are. And they took that and a source on their side spun that into, well, he only wants to work a week for a whole season," he said, explaining that he's "never missed a day of work" and "never left before fulfilling" the obligations in his contract.

Paramount said in February 2023 that “Kevin Costner is a big part of?‘Yellowstone’ and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come” after reports circulated in Deadline and Variety that Costner had become less available to shoot the series and only wanted to film for a week for the second part of the show’s fifth season.

Costner told Deadline that the way the network and others involved with the show described the incident in the media bothered him.

"They were silent and that bothered me in the world of how you do things. Why don’t you stick up for me?" he said, going on to say that he "took a beating over these guys not speaking up" and "allowing crazy stories to come out."

Despite "not being happy" about it, Costner still said he is "very open to coming back."

"But if the writing is there, I will be there too. They had first position. I didn’t do?'Horizon'?because I was tired of doing 'Yellowstone.' That’s a bulls--- story," he said.

"I didn’t do?'Horizon'?to compete with?'Yellowstone.' This is something I’ve had a long time," he added. "(Sheridan) read that script three years earlier when he was contemplating other writers (for?'Yellowstone')."

To Costner, what happened is "simple:" "Paramount and 101 Studios mismanaged this. They had me for five, six, and seven. I agreed to do it. And then they steadily began changing their format."

Paramount Network did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

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