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Yellowstone's Brecken Merrill Views Kevin Costner As A Role Model

Brecken Merrill may be the youngest member of the "Yellowstone" cast, but the actor who plays Tate Dutton has a role as consequential as anyone else's. Tate has found himself caught in the bitter battles between his parents, Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) and Monica (Kelsey Asbille). He even found himself picking up a gun and modeling himself after the rest of the Dutton clan after using it to defend his mother from an assassin.

Merrill's first role was on "Yellowstone," and since then, he's appeared on "This Is Us," but mainly stuck to his Tate Dutton duties (per IMDb). Kayce cuts some of the distance he's kept between himself and his father, John Dutton (Kevin Costner), at the start of "Yellowstone," and through ups and downs since then, John and Tate have held a special bond. John has plenty of children, but Tate is his only true grandchild, with Jamie Dutton's (Wes Bentley) child kept separate from his adoptive family.

Merrill has not only the pleasure of kicking off his acting career with a popular drama, but he's also growing up on set around some impressively experienced and storied characters, the biggest among them inarguably being Kevin Costner. In an interview discussing his role in "Yellowstone," Merrill opened up about his relationship with Costner and viewing the filmmaker as a role model.

Kevin Costner treats Brecken Merrill as a peer

Discussing "Yellowstone" Season 4, Brecken Merrill referred to Kevin Costner as a role model. Speaking to NewsNation in November 2021, the young actor recalled a time on set when he called cut, not knowing that an actor typically doesn't do that. While the cast and crew laughed at the innocent mistake, Costner wanted to know why Merrill called cut, asking as he would any other actor if there was a problem he was having with the scene.

"He treats me as a peer, more than just a little kid. I don't see him as a grandpa. I see him more as a role model," Merrill told NewsNation.

Merrill has spoken plenty about the mentorship of Costner. In an interview with ET, he even revealed that the veteran actor asked if performing was really what he wanted to pursue. Costner then guided the young actor through his decision, with Merrill deciding he ultimately wanted to continue pursuing something he's had such success with at such a young age.

"This is my career. This is my passion ... I wanna be here. I just wanna thank Kevin. I'm so blessed to work with such an amazing cast," Merrill said.