“The ongoing issues between Kevin, who’s also an executive producer, and Taylor is what led to the last-minute cancelation,” the insider says. “It’s been an ongoing power play between them.”
The Yellowstone star, 68, chose to forgo the Saturday, April 1, event in Los Angeles due to his strained relationship with the show’s creator, 52.
“Kevin didn’t want to come across as unauthentic and he would have if he was forced to dodge uncomfortable questions about their working relationship,” the source tells Us. “It seemed like a lose-lose situation for him. It just wasn’t worth it to Kevin.”
It’s “no secret” that the Oscar winner and the Hell or High Water writer “butt heads,” the insider says, adding, “It’s safe to say that the drama behind the scenes is far from over.”
Costner — who has played John Dutton on the Paramount Network series since its 2018 premiere — was slated to attend a PaleyFest panel, screening and Q&A with fans over the weekend. Sheridan and executive producer David Glasser as well as lead cast members Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser, Luke Grimes, Kelsey Asbille, Wes Bentley, Gil Birmingham and Jacki Weaver were all listed on the original schedule.
PaleyFest honors only a handful of shows every year. In addition to Yellowstone, the 2023 lineup included The Mandalorian, Yellowjackets and Grey’s Anatomy. Fans, who paid to attend the prestigious event, were outraged when the Yellowstone panel was changed.
Us confirmed on Saturday that attendees were not notified ahead of time that Costner and Sheridan, as well as their eight colleagues, were no longer participating. Their costars Josh Lucas, Wendy Moniz, Mo Brings Plenty and Dawn Olivieri took their places last-minute. Press was not informed of the talent lineup change until they were on the red carpet.
Yellowstone first came under scrutiny in February when rumors about the show’s return and Costner possibly exiting the series surfaced. At the time, Deadline reported that Paramount Network was considering shifting the cowboy-centered show to a spinoff series starring Matthew McConaughey due to alleged scheduling issues with Costner.
The network denied the report, telling the outlet in a February statement, “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.” (McConaughey’s spinoff was officially confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, March 28.)
That same month, the Bodyguard actor made headlines once again when Puck published an exposé claiming Costner and Sheridan’s tension was to blame for the western’s season 5 filming delays. The publication cited Costner’s longtime assistant Glenn Kleczkowski allegedly critiquing Sheridan’s show Tulsa King as an example of the feud.
“Stick to westerns, bro. You don’t know S—T about THIS life,” Kleczkowski reportedly wrote via Instagram in a since-deleted message. “Stay in your lane, country boy. I’m actually embarrassed for you as a writer and creator.”
However, the Dances With Wolves star’s lawyer Marty Singer shut down the claims, telling the outlet, “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 insisted that his client is “incredibly passionate about the show and has always gone way above and beyond to ensure its success.”
Despite all the offscreen issues, the Yellowstone stars that did attend Saturday’s panel had nothing but good things to say about Costner and his participation on the series.
“I think sometimes people have chemistry naturally and sometimes they don’t, and they have to fake it and it still works. It’s that intangible thing,” Moniz, 54, who plays Lynelle Perry, exclusively told Us at PaleyFest. “But working with [Kevin] has just been really easy and a pleasure and we find humor in our scenes together and playfulness and I think that that helps with the dynamic too.”
However, Moniz noted that the cast “haven’t started” filming season 5. She revealed to Us that Sheridan “is writing and we’re looking forward to getting back.”