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Kevin Costner Clashed With Yellowstone Creator Over John Dutton's Worst Crime

"Yellowstone" fans were undoubtedly shocked when Kevin Costner, who plays family patriarch John Dutton on the hit TV series, had a falling out with the show. Costner commented on his departure, saying how it basically came down to scheduling and creative disagreements. Based on a new interview with the show's creator Taylor Sheridan, such differences of opinion have been around for a while. 

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan touched on Costner's leaving, dispelling some rumors that have emerged. However, he did reveal one moment in production where Costner shared his thoughts on what kind of person John Dutton should be. "There was a time in season two when he was very upset and said the character wasn't going in the direction he wanted," Sheridan recalled. "I said, 'Kevin, you do remember that I told you this is essentially "The Godfather" on the largest ranch in Montana? Are you that surprised that the Godfather is killing people?'"

John Dutton certainly has blood on his hands, and it sounds like Costner wanted the character to be more of a family man whose biggest moral failing involves not changing with the times and avoiding finding other ways to keep the ranch profitable. Suffice to say, killing someone is probably his biggest moral failing now. 

Taylor Sheridan admits Kevin Costner may have had a point

Kevin Costner was an experienced leading man going into "Yellowstone," so it makes sense he would have ideas on the direction of a character he would embody for several years. And to his credit, Taylor Sheridan went on to admit that Costner may have been onto something when it came to how John Dutton should be more committed to family than getting his hands dirty, "Kevin felt season two was deviating from that, and I don't know that he was wrong. In Season 3, we steered back into it."

While Sheridan gave Costner some credit, he did definitively state that his direction for the character was clearly doing some good: "I recall [Costner] winning a Golden Globe last year for his performance, so I think it's working." Such an early disagreement may have sowed the seeds for Costner's eventual departure. But even though the actor's leaving, "Yellowstone" will live on. "Yellowstone" Season 5, Part 2 is coming down the pipeline, and yet another spinoff is on the way that will star Matthew McConaughey

A big part of the appeal of watching "Yellowstone" is seeing the lengths John will go to in order to protect his family and ranch. And even though Costner left before the franchise wrapped, he helped launch a new media empire.