Kevin Costner Clarifies Misunderstandings Around ‘Yellowstone’ Departure and Contract Controversy

Actor and filmmaker Kevin Costner has recently opened up about his disputes with the producers of the Paramount Network hit “Yellowstone,” particularly addressing his issues with the show’s showrunner, Taylor Sheridan.

Until now, Costner has remained relatively silent about his departure from the series, only making brief comments at CinemaCon in April. As he gears up for the premiere of his western epic, “Horizon: An American Saga,” at the Cannes Film Festival, Costner is now sharing a more detailed explanation of the situation.

“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,” Costner said in a lengthy interview with Deadline. “I made a contract for seasons five, six and seven. In February, after a two- or three-month negotiation, they made another contract.

”They wanted to redo that one, and instead of seasons six and seven, it was 5A and 5B, and maybe we’ll do six. They weren’t able to make those. Horizon was set in the middle, but Yellowstone was first position. I fit [Horizon] into the gaps. They just kept moving their gaps.”

According to Costner, he fulfilled his contractual obligations by working 43 days on the first half of “Yellowstone’s” fifth season, which was broadcast in late 2022. He had to leave the set of his project “Horizon” to film the second half of the season, scheduled for a November release, but encountered issues when he found the scripts were not ready.

“And then things imploded,” he said. “You’ve been reading one version [of what happened] for a year and a half. I left my movie to be on time for them for [season] 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. They needed four more days just to complete the first eight episodes. I left early to give them what they needed to have a complete eight, and I felt bad that the audience didn’t get 10. They didn’t have the scripts for anything else.”

Despite needing to resume production on “Horizon”—a film he directed, co-wrote, and stars in—Costner was willing to extend his stay on “Yellowstone” for an additional week if necessary. However, he states that this offer was misrepresented, leading to incorrect reports that he only intended to return to the show for a limited time.

Costner admits to being displeased with the way the story has played out, but he also says he’d return to the series if he’s asked. “If they’ve got so many other things going on, maybe this circles back and it’s a really cool two seasons,” he said. “Or end it, if the writing’s there and I’m happy with it. I’m open to that. But I took a beating over these guys not speaking up for me and allowing crazy stories to come out. I’m not happy about that. But if the writing is there, I will be there too.”