“We definitely had a natural ease with each other out of the gate and it came across on screen it seems. 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, exclusively told Us Weekly at PaleyFest in L.A. on Saturday, April 1, describing the vet actor as “very collaborative” and “really professional.”
She continued: “Working with him has just been really easy and a pleasure and we find humor in our scenes together and playfulness and I think that helps with the dynamic too.”
Moniz plays Senator Lynelle Perry, who at times mixes business with pleasure with Costner’s John Dutton, the new governor of Montana, in the Paramount Network drama.
“I kind of knew it was coming, so it wasn’t a shock when I read it,” she told Us of John taking over Lynelle’s title. “But I thought it was a great twist and I think it makes for a more layer complicated dynamic between the two of them. It certainly has been this season because his character is very stubborn and so she’s gotta kind of go in there and school him and try to get him to bend a little bit and it ain’t easy.”
As for Lynelle’s future, she teased: “Running for president!”
“She just keeps going up the ladder,” she told Us. “I would want her to end up just killing it in her field like she has been. And I guess I just want her to continue to climb because that’s what she’s good at.”
Moniz noted that the characters really “care about each other,” but she didn’t mind the addition of Dutton’s new love interest Summer Higgins, played by Piper Perabo.
“I thought that it threw a little curve into the groove that they were in together,” she told Us. “And I think that kind of friction makes for good TV and fun storytelling.”
Moniz stepped in to represent the show at PaleyFest alongside Josh Lucas, Mo Brings Plenty and Dawn Olivieri when Costner, 68, creator Taylor Sheridan, executive producer David Glasser and lead cast members Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser, Luke Grimes, Kelsey Asbille, Wes Bentley, Gil Birmingham and Jacki Weaver dropped out last-minute due to — according to the network — scheduling conflicts. A source, however, told Us that “ongoing issues between Kevin” and Sheridan, 52, were to blame.
“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 told Us, adding that it’s “no secret” that the two men “butt heads” behind-the-scenes. “It seemed like a lose-lose situation for him. It just wasn’t worth it to Kevin.”
The shakeup came amid rumors that Costner is exiting the series over scheduling issues, but development president, Keith Cox, said he was “very confident” in Costner’s commitment to Yellowstone at the Saturday panel. (Last month, Costner’s lawyer Marty Singer also shut down speculation that his client was involved with production issues. Although the western drama’s part 2 of season 5 is set for a summer release, they’ve yet to start filming.)
“We know he is writing and we’re looking forward to getting back,” Moniz told Us of Sheridan. “I’m along for this ride for as long as it goes. That’s what I can tell you. It’s just been a dream job.”
As for Costner’s fate, she added: “I have no news to report about it. We’re all just, you know, finding out what everyone else is finding out as it’s going. I’m excited to get back to work.”