Anyone considering watching this? My wife is begging me to (she loves westerns) but I am mixed. Will watch the premier and see what happens.
Kevin Costner brings Western cred to ranch drama 'Yellowstone'
By Bill Keveney, USA Today
- Jun. 19, 2018
LOS ANGELES – Kevin Costner is no stranger to the wild West – on screen and in real life – and he returnsto itin Paramount Network’s modern-day Western "Yellowstone" (Wednesday, 9 ET/PT)
The 10-episode drama, filmed in Montana and Utah, is the 63-year-old actor's first regular TV role, after an illustrious film career that includes Westerns "Dances with Wolves," "Wyatt Earp," "Open Range" and "Silverado," along with such memorable films as "The Untouchables," "Bull Durham," "JFK," and, more recently, "Hidden Figures."
Costner's star power helps draw attention to the first drama series for the rebranded cable network, a show that cut its ties to its producer, The Weinstein Company, after Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault and harassment late last year.
In "Yellowstone," he plays John Dutton, the widowed patriarch of a long-running Montana ranching empire who’s trying to preserve Yellowstone Ranch against threats from the government, developers, a Native American reservation and his four dysfunctional adult children.
However, the rough-justice days of "Earp" and "Silverado" are over, Costner says of his contemporary rancher, who’s not just a cowboy but a "CEO."
“The hardball rules out there aren’t flying anymore,” he says, explaining that Dutton’s bold, unilateral actions will be judged differently than in the past. “One hundred years ago, (his actions) wouldn’t have been investigated. (But) we can’t operate in a world like that anymore, and that’s a problem for John.”
He likens Dutton's questionable behavior to that of 'Devil' Anse Hatfield, his character in History's 2012 miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys," who shoots a man in the back. (Costner insisted on the plot, against the objections of producers.)
"I had to put my foot down and say, 'This is good for my character,' because you understand, if you can look beyond that moment, why that may have happened," he says of that Emmy-winning portrayal.
Costner’s iconic Western heroes, as well as those played by Clint Eastwood, influenced creator and director Taylor Sheridan ("Wind River"), who credits Costner's Oscar-winning "Wolves" with reviving the genre.
“We were entering an era where the Western had sort of died … and 'Dances with Wolves' relaunched the genre, and reinvented it to a degree,” Sheridan says.
However, it was Costner’s strong moral presence that made the actor indispensable.
“Occasionally, you create a character and a world, and it can only be populated by one person,” Sheridan says. “There’s an internal strength in him that even when he’s doing something bad you believe he’s doing it for reasons that are right to him. He has an internal moral compass that may or may not be aligned with what is legal. He helps me make an audience question who they’re rooting for, or why they’re rooting for someone doing things they don’t agree with.”
When asked whether viewers should root for Dutton, Costner reframes the question.
“I need to root for myself. I need to understand why I’m doing things. I need to have my own level of doubt,” he says. “There are a lot of us that come off really certain and then we close the door behind us and go, ‘Did I do the right thing?’ ”
Costner has a reverence for Westerns, citing John Ford classics ("The Searchers," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Fort Apache") as favorites, along with George Stevens' 1953 classic "Shane."
Costner doesn't see a connection between "Yellowstone" and his own Westerns, other than in quality, but there’s a bond from filming in the great outdoors.
“You can do a courtroom drama or wake up and look at the Continental Divide. You can look at being the same valley that Lewis and Clark went down and close your eyes and understand that probably at one time you’re standing in the Garden of Eden. moved my trailer out of base camp … to this little stream. I’m really happy with that environment,” says Costner, who has a 160-acre Colorado ranch.
Although he grew up in Southern California, the actor-director says he’s always imagined living the outdoor life. He's an “OK” horseback rider, but has developed the skills needed to portray a rancher or a baseball player, as he did in "Bull Durham" and "For Love of the Game."
“If you can’t throw a ball, you can’t do a baseball movie. You can’t out-act something you can’t do when it comes to athleticism,” he says. “There’s a certain ballet that’s so obvious, and when you’re on a horse, it’s the same thing.”