It appears the drama surrounding Yellowstone has gotten worse. It’s no secret that Kevin Costner has been in a disagreement for a long time now with Taylor Sheridan and those running the Paramount Network Western. However, according to a new claim, reportedly, the actor and the creator of the hit drama had a phone call earlier this summer about John Dutton’s future. Costner apparently made a big demand that Sheridan couldn’t get on board with during the conversation, making this whole situation murkier.
With the second half of Yellowstone’s fifth season up in the air, Costner and Sheridan reportedly got on a call to negotiate the actor's involvement in the show, according to a report from Matthew Belloni in Puck News (via Esquire). That call apparently did not go to plan, and it allegedly made things worse. While there has been tension between the two about Costner’s shooting schedule, especially in relation to his own Western movies Horizon, reportedly they wanted to try to find common ground and reach an agreement so they could finish Season 5B. However, the conversation allegedly went south when the two reached an impasse, the report explained:
Costner and Sheridan indeed got on a call together in early July to discuss how a return would work... But on the call, Costner, while speaking in a friendly tone to Sheridan, unfurled his list of demands: Increased money, reduced shooting schedule, and—here’s the kicker—the right to review, approve, and potentially veto every Sheridan script. That last part was a non-starter for Sheridan, who famously writes 'Yellowstone' himself and believed that 4.5 seasons of megahit TV earned him the right to say no. Paramount walked away shortly thereafter.
Taylor Sheridan has full control over his show and writes every epiosde, so it makes sense that Costner getting a say in or even veto power over the scripts would be a non-starter. This massive demand for some creative control goes along with other reported asks the actor has made during his contract negotiations. This famously included his shooting schedule, and wanting to spend less time filming the show. Apparently, he was also asked to be paid more, and he had a “moral death” provision already in his contract that made it so he had a say in how John Dutton was killed off the show.
The conversation reportedly started with Costner making it clear he wanted to keep playing John Dutton in Season 5B, after reports alleged that he wouldn't be returning for the rest of the season. Sheridan was also reportedly prepared to rewrite the episodes after the strike to send off the Yellowstone patriarch in a good way and introduce the sequel series starring Matthew McConaughey.
While Sheridan and Costner haven’t confirmed that these demands were made, there has reportedly been big drama behind the scenes of Yellowstone for months now, and the actor’s future on the show has been a question mark for a long time. Also, during his divorce hearing, the Dances with Wolves filmmaker said there’s a chance he will sue over what’s happened with these negotiations. During his explanation of said talks about his contract for the rest of Season 5, the actor said:
We did negotiate. There were issues about creative. I tried to break the logjam. They walked away.
We sincerely don’t know if Kevin Costner will come back to Yellowstone or when Season 5B will premiere. It was supposed to drop this summer on the 2023 TV schedule, however, amid the strikes and this ongoing tension, it’s unclear when the acclaimed drama will return.
As we wait for more updates about why there’s been so much reported tension between Kevin Costner and Taylor Sheridan, you can stream all five seasons of Yellowstone with a Peacock subscription.