Yellowstone is one of the most popular shows on TV, but fans were shocked last month after it was announced that the hit western drama will end this year after its fifth season.
The announcement came after months of reports about a feud between co-creator Taylor Sheridan and star Kevin Costner. Some sources put the blame on Sheridan’s “god complex” as the source of their feud, while others say Costner’s demands over the filming schedule were a dealbreaker.
Now, in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan broke his silence about what really happened between him and Costner — and what the future has in store for Yellowstone.
Yellowstone premiered in 2018, and follows the saga of the Dutton family who own Montana’s largest ranch, the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. The neo-western drama depicts their conflicts with local developers and the bordering Native American reservation.
Its ensemble cast is led by Oscar-winner Kevin Costner, along with Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley and Cole Hauser. The series has been a massive hit, gaining increasingly high ratings throughout its run. In 2022, it was reportedly the most-watched show on all of TV with an average of 16 million viewers.
The show’s popularity has led to two spin-offs on the streaming service Paramount+: 1883, starring Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Sam Elliott, and 1923, starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford.
Feud between Costner and Sheridan
But despite the show’s enviable success, things were not so harmonious behind the scenes. In February, sources from the show told Deadline that Costner had been asking for fewer and fewer shooting days — he reportedly wanted to spend just a week shooting the second half of season five — so he could direct a movie. This reportedly issues with Sheridan and his co-stars.
Another source told the Daily Mail earlier this year that Sheridan was to blame, suggesting the co-creator “developed a God complex” and told Costner to “stick to acting” when the actor raised concerns about the show’s direction.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, another source said Costner was “unfairly portrayed,” blaming the scheduling conflicts on Sheridan’s work on other projects and a reported lack of shooting scripts.
Last month it was confirmed that Yellowstone would end this year, and that a sequel spin-off starring Matthew McConaughey would continue the story. The news seemed to confirm the reported bad blood between Sheridan and Costner.
But the showrunner recently broke his silence, opening up to the Hollywood Reporter about his disputes with Costner and the end of the hit series.
Sheridan breaks silence
He confirmed that Costner did want to wrap up his work on Yellowstone earlier so he could direct a “passion project” film. Sheridan said that that Costner and the network argued about it but he tried to obey Costner’s request: “I said, ‘We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],’ which we did.”
Sheridan said that despite the ugly exit, he still respects Costner and there are no hard feelings between them. “My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t altered,” Sheridan told the Hollywood reporter. “His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful … and I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t work out on the phone.”
“But once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting.”
“He took a lot of this on the chin and I don’t know that anyone deserves it. His movie seems to be a great priority to him and he wants to shift focus. I sure hope [the movie is] worth it — and that it’s a good one.”
Sheridan also denied having a “god complex,” as some insiders have alleged:
What does ‘God complex’ mean?” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m very blunt with every single person — the production staff, the studio, the network.”
He said that he can be blunt with line producers and insists on having final say on how the budget is spent, but that the results justify the means: “If I’m parking 20 million people in front of a television, if I’m beating NFL Sunday Night Football routinely, I think the fact I wanted four cameras and worked late into Friday — I don’t think that’s a bad trade.”
With Yellowstone ending, Sheridan is still hard at work on his many other projects, including the prequel series 1923 and the upcoming spin-off starring Matthew McConaughey, who Sheridan praised as a “natural fit” in the Yellowstone universe.
We’ll miss the original Yellowstone, but we wish everyone involved with the show the best moving forward.
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