Has ‘Yellowstone’ finally made Kevin Costner America’s undisputed king of Westerns?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — While much of America waited for Sunday’s return of the hit series Yellowstone, star Kevin Costner was in Moab, Utah, scouting locations for another western epic, Horizon.

Costner’s 60 film credits, which include Field of Dreams, The Bodyguard, JFK and Bull Durham, are an eclectic mix of dramas, baseball-centric tales and the occasional comedy. But the history and land of the West proved the foundation of his work.

His breakthrough was made in 1985. in Silverado, followed by starring roles in Dances with Wolves, his Oscar debut. Wyatt Earp and Open Range, which he also directed. He donned the actor-director’s Stetson again in Horizon, planned as a four-film saga of the migration west before and after the Civil War.

The Paramount Network’s contemporary Yellowstone, created by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), already spawned the successful prequel 1883. The second, 1923 (formerly 1932), headlined by Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, will be released on December 18.

Season five of Yellowstone opens with Costner’s Montana rancher John Dutton awaiting his reluctant run for governor, a monumental effort to protect his family’s vast land and business from challenges from developers and empowered Native Americans.

Dutton’s populist-style campaign promised to protect Montana’s values, or, presumably, those that align with the interests he has gone to extremes to defend. Would Costner himself consider running for office? “No, I don’t think so,” he said.

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WATCH YELLOWSTONE LIVE FOR FREE: Philo (Free Trial) | FuboTV (Free Trial) | DirecTV Stream (Free Trial). In addition, Sling has promotional offers.

In an interview with The Associated Press, he discussed why Yellowstone gained fans, the show’s portrayal of Native Americans and his long-standing take on the Western genre done right. Notes have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Kevin Costner

This image released by Paramount Network shows Kevin Costner in a scene from Yellowstone. (Paramount Network via AP)AP


AP: When you joined Taylor Sheridan in the drama series, what made you think it might work?

KEVIN COSTNER: I thought it had a chance to be relevant because this work is still happening in America and most people take for granted how things end up at their dinner table. We intuitively know, but we don’t actually know. The show can emphasize the beauty of the farm at times and really talks about how hard it is. We are located in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I think the idea of ​​mountains and rivers has captured people’s imaginations. But it’s a working ranch. It still does. I think it spoke to that well, with a heightened sense of drama.

AP: Although John Dutton says he’s not a politician, he’s after power and is more than a proposition, which he intends to use for his own purposes. How do you see the character?

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KEVIN COSTNER: He’s not naive. He is not a politician in the sense that he wants to cooperate. I think he can hear the best idea, but he’s not looking for a middle ground. This is not how he led his life. What can be good for his ranch can be good for all the rest of the ranches in Montana – preservation of the way of life, less development. His ranch is highlighted, he says it out loud. But I think he sees it working for other farmers.

AP: Yellowstone, like Dances with Wolves, has a lot of Native Americans. How do you feel about the show’s approach to characters?

KEVIN COSTNER: I think they show that things are complicated. They had everything ripped off, they had this little niche called gambling, and even that is being gnawed at, clawed at. Anytime there’s money involved, there’s going to be controversy, no matter what culture you’re dealing with. So you see power plays in the Native American community. You see ambition, you see selfishness. This is really normal behavior. We may cringe at it, we may be ashamed of it, but it exists on all levels. The political machinations of what is happening on the rez (reservation) parallels what is happening on our national stage. There is bitterness, there is resentment. There are good ideas and there are bad ones. So who is left in distress? Generally speaking, it’s people.

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This image released by Paramount Network shows Kevin Costner, from left, Kelly Reilly and Wes Bentley on stage from Yellowstone. (Paramount Network via AP)AP

AP: The series received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for best ensemble drama, but was largely overlooked by the Emmys. Could this reflect a bias towards Westerners?

KEVIN COSTNER: I’m not sure because we’re a very verbal show. We are not reduced to yes and no. It is very literate in its expression. Can be minimized, can be marginalized, can be ignored. But we managed to create a show that wasn’t popular, but built on its own terms.

AP: You’ve said that when you were a kid watching 1962 How the West Was Won made you a Western fan. What chord did it strike and why does the genre continue to resonate with you?

KEVIN COSTNER: When it’s done well, you realize how vulnerable (people) were. Now we see highways and cities, but if you went back 120 years or so, you were alone. How you succeed or not will sometimes depend on your decisions and mostly luck. There was no law, no army, we took the land away from the people who had lived there for thousands of years. I think to myself, “My God, what made people keep coming to the West?” They sometimes did not speak the same language, they were from different European countries. When I see it in its raw form, it inspires me, I admire it. I understand that what made people cross the country was nothing more than the hope of something better than where they came from.


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