Taylor Sheridan says he wants to stop imagining actors while writing a character down.

HBO didn't want to greenlight Yellowstone with Kevin Costner as the lead.

The second part of the final and fifth season is scheduled to premiere in November 2024

Taylor Sheridan and John Linson created the popular neo-Western drama series Yellowstone for Paramount Network. The series, which starred Kevin Costner, Luke Grimes, Wes Bentley, and more, followed the conflict along the shared borders of Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the Broken Rock Indian reservation, Yellowstone National Park, and land developers.

Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone
Kevin Costner stars on the show as John Dutton | Paramount Network

Yellowstone premiered in 2018 and received mixed responses from critics and the audience, but over the years, the reviews for the show kept getting positive. The fifth season is set to be the final season, and its first part premiered in November 2022, and the second part is scheduled to be released in November 2024. The creator of the show, during an interview, shared one habit of his that turned out to be very helpful in the making of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan reveals why he wants to stop picturing actors while writing

Actor-showrunner Taylor Sheridan, who takes a bow for the creation of the Kevin Costner starrer Yellowstone, appeared in the writer’s roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter. The director who wrote Yellowstone after he was tired of acting and decided to switch to screenwriting was asked what the change of roles, specifically in terms of writing, has taught him. To which he said,

Exposition in dialogue is something that you do a lot on television. I was, so it gave me an allergy to that. I look for absurdly simple plots so that I can simply focus on the characters. Having an understanding of what dialogues are easy to say and hard to say—I think that’s helpful.

Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone
HBO didn’t want Kevin Costner for the part in Yellowstone

The maker continued that, as a writer, one probably finds oneself playing the scene in one’s head and hearing the characters talk or say things they wouldn’t say that way, adding that it just refines it. He was asked if he imagines an actor playing the character he is writing about, to which he said,

I certainly have. I mean, for Sicario, you know, how could you not think of an easy one? Oh, and I kept trying very hard not to do it, you know. I thought of Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water and Ben Forster. I kept trying very hard not to because you’re terrified you’re going to write this thing that then feeds specifically to this one person who then won’t do it.

The 2016 neo-Western crime drama movie follows two brothers, played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, who carry out a series of bank robberies to save their family ranch. Two Texas Rangers were persuading them. Upon its release, the movie received critical acclaim for its performances, screenplay, and editing.

Chris Pine played Toby Howard in the movie, and according to Collider, he deserved an Academy Award nomination for his exceptional work. His acting skills were highly appreciated by the critics as well as the audience.

Taylor Sheridan was adamant about starring Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone

In his interview with THR, the showrunner revealed that he was adamant about casting Kevin Costner as John Dutton on Yellowstone, but HBO did not see his vision. He said,

They said, ‘We want Robert Redford’. They said, ‘If you can get us Robert Redford, we’ll greenlight the pilot. I drive to Sundance and spend the day with him, and he agrees to play John Dutton. I call the senior vice president in charge of production and say, ‘I got him!’ ‘You got who? Robert Redford.’ What? ‘You said if I got Robert Redford, you’d greenlight the show.

Sheridan added that the executive told him that he could not make the s**t up and pointed out that they meant someone like Robert Redford. He shared that after a creative conflict, he hung up the call, and HBO didn’t call him back. It was eventually Paramount that greenlighted the series, despite Sheridan telling them that they’d be spending a lot of money on production and wouldn’t have any creative control.

Taylor Sheridan's Hell of High Water
Chris Pine and Ben Foster | Lionsgate

President of Development and Production at Paramount Network, Keith Cox, shared with Deadline at the time that their goal is to bring premium cinematic storytelling to television. Cox noted that with Costner in front of the camera and the renowned Taylor Sheridan behind the camera, they are off to a great start. TWC co-chair Harvey Weinstein shared at the time,

Taylor Sheridan wrote a giant character in the lead, John Dutton. There was only one actor who could be transformational—Kevin Costner. This is a coup for the show and fulfills a joint promise that Kevin and I made—that we would find a mutual project to work on.

The second part of the final season is scheduled to premiere in November 2024. Yellowstone is streaming on Paramount Network.

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