Kevin Costner Shares His Side Of ‘Yellowstone’ Exit Drama: ‘The Scripts Never Came’


Kevin Costner is sharing his truth when it comes to his dramatic exit from Yellowstone.

In a new interview for GQ’s Summer Issue, the actor opens up about what led to his departure from the hit Paramount series, claiming that an unreliable production schedule amid his attempts to film Horizon: An American Saga was at least partly to blame.

“We very rarely started when we said we would and we didn’t finish when we said we would,” he told the magazine, referring to various production delays resulting from the pandemic, Hollywood strikes, and more. “And I was OK with that. I really was. I was OK with it, but it wasn’t a trend that could continue for me.”

Costner said that when it was proposed that the fifth season be split into two iterations, he couldn’t push Horizon back any further.

“I said, ‘I have a contract to do Horizon, and I have people and money,'” he shared. “I think there was a belief that I couldn’t get it mounted, but I didn’t really care what anybody believed.”

Elsewhere in his interview, Costner revealed that he invested $38 million of his own money into his ambitious passion project. The upcoming western — which Costner wrote, directed and stars in — was self-funded by Costner and two unnamed investors

When it came to wrapping up his character’s storyline with Yellowstone, Costner said that time simply ran out.

“The scripts never came,” he said. “They still haven’t shot it. As far as I know. The scripts never came. And so then at one point they said to me that we don’t have an ending or anything.”

Costner claimed he suggested one of his own.

“I said, ‘Well, if you want to kill me, if you want to do something like that,’ I said, ‘I have a week before I start. I’ll do what you want to do,'” he said. GQ noted that a representative for Paramount Network refuted Costner’s account of the conversation.

In a statement to the magazine, Paramount wrote, “Kevin has been a big part of Yellowstone’s success. While we had hoped that we would continue working with him, unfortunately, we could not find a window that worked for him, all the other talent, and our production needs in order to move forward together. We respect that Kevin has prioritized his new film series and we wish him the best.”

The second half of Yellowstone’s fifth season was set to begin filming this month. Costner previously told ET that he’d be open to a return as John Dutton.

“I’d like to be able to do it but we haven’t been able to,” Costner said. “…I thought I was going to make seven [seasons] but right now we’re at five. So how it works out — I hope it does — but they’ve got a lot of different shows going on. Maybe it will. Maybe this will circle back to me. If it does and I feel really comfortable with [it], I’d love to do it.”


For now, he’s busy promoting Horizon: An American Saga. The story is set in the pre-and-post-American Civil War period, depicting the expansion of the American West. All in all, Costner’s massive project will total four films. The official description for the film says Horizon “explores the lure of the Old West and how it was won — and lost — through the blood, sweat and tears of many. Spanning the four years of the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, Costner’s ambitious cinematic adventure will take audiences on an emotional journey across a country at war with itself, experienced through the lens of families, friends and foes all attempting to discover what it truly means to be the United States of America.”

Chapter One will hit theaters June 28, followed by Chapter Two on Aug. 16.

On Sunday, the veteran actor, 69, was joined by five of his seven children on the red carpet for the premiere of Chapter One at the Cannes Film Festival. Inside the theater, Costner became emotional as he received a 7-minute standing ovation for the western drama that has been years in the making.

Last month, Costner spoke with ET and revealed his son Hayes’ special connection to the project and how he inspired him to get to work on it.

“I named him after the character I play in this. My character’s name is Hayes Ellison,” Costner told ET. “And I named Hayes that character. So I was watching him grow up and I was thinking, ‘Man, I better get with it and make this movie.'”

The Oscar-winning actor revealed that his son didn’t have to audition for the role. While that’s an unconventional take for the star, Costner gushed about Hayes’ work and dedication to the film.

“I captured him and I brought him on, and he’s very good in this small part that he’s done,” Costner raved. “If you see it, I think he has an impact on the movie.”