‘An absolute lie’: Kevin Costner’s lawyer denies ‘Yellowstone’ production rumors
The fate of “Yellowstone” remains questionable after another report indicated that the folks behind the hit ranching drama are frustrated with star Kevin Costner and were entrenched in an availability standoff.
But Costner’s attorney Marty Singer pushed back on a Tuesday Puck report that said the lead actor is making production of the show challenging by truncating the amount of time he was willing to shoot Paramount Network’s flagship series on location in Montana.
“The idea that Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of Season 5 of Yellowstone is an absolute lie,” Singer said in a Thursday statement to The Times. “It’s ridiculous — and anyone suggesting it shouldn’t be believed for one second.”
“As everyone who knows anything about Kevin is well aware, he is incredibly passionate about the show and has always gone way above and beyond to ensure its success,” he said.
Paramount Network says it isn’t moving on from ‘Yellowstone’ just yet — but wouldn’t mind having Matthew McConaughey in its Montana-centric universe.
The top-rated cattle-ranching drama is in its fifth season and its midseason finale aired in January. According to Puck‘s Matthew Belloni, the season was originally meant to be 10 episodes but expanded to 16 to be shot in two tranches. Costner, 68, a two-time Oscar winner, had reportedly “negotiated short shooting windows,” potentially complicating production of the series “given its reliance on exterior shots out on the range.”
Season 5 was supposed to finish shooting in its entirety in 2022, but was delayed for various reasons — depending on whom you ask. Puck cited some sources saying that Costner contracted COVID-19 after his promotional trip to the Calgary Stampede rodeo in July 2022 and further pushed back shooting, but that he still charged the production with days worked. Others said that “Yellowstone” co-creator Taylor Sheridan, who was reportedly busy with several other projects, failed to deliver scripts on time and constantly moved the schedule around. Another told the site that the “Dances With Wolves” star performed exactly as his contract required.
“As we previously stated, Kevin has been a key component of the success of our ‘Yellowstone’ series, and we hope that continues from here on out,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said in a Thursday statement to The Times.
The future of the ever-expanding western has been up in the air since Deadline reported earlier this month that the show would be ending as Paramount Global and Paramount Network would be pivoting to focus on another spinoff series from Sheridan that would star Matthew McConaughey.
But a source close to the production denied that report and said the series, which debuted in 2018 and centers on Costner as the Dutton family patriarch, would continue.
About 120 Showtime employees were laid off Monday, amid a major revamp of the premium channel’s management and branding.
“We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of ‘Yellowstone’ and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come,” a Paramount Network spokesperson added in a statement to The Times. “Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built.”
Puck also reported that Sheridan and the cast, crew and executives behind the hit series have been irked by Costner’s ego and unavailability for years, suggesting that Paramount Chair Shari Redstone and Chief Executive Bob Bakish are ready to lean into other offerings in the Sheridan-verse.
The purported McConaughey series would be Paramount Network‘s most recent effort to expand the world of Sheridan’s “Yellowstone.” In December 2021, the network premiered the limited-series prequel “1883” featuring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill; in December 2022 came the series “1923,” starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford.
The move comes as the New York-based media conglomerate is placing a huge bet on its streaming future with its year-old Paramount+ streaming service.
In August 2021, Paramount Network said that its strategy is to make “Yellowstone” into “a global hit franchise” with plans to debut spinoff series on Paramount+ to fuel the growth of its nascent streaming platform.
Times staff writer Alexandra Del Rosario contributed to this report.
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