Kevin Costner, from being the face of success to losing a check for 24 million dollars

Kevin Costner is in Santa Barbara (California) divorcing Christine Baumgartner, his second wife and mother of three of his seven children.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
04 September 2023 Monday 16:24
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Kevin Costner, from being the face of success to losing a check for 24 million dollars

Kevin Costner is in Santa Barbara (California) divorcing Christine Baumgartner, his second wife and mother of three of his seven children. What Hollywood could not foresee is that this legal process of a personal nature would serve to find out more details of the controversy that surrounds the actor at a work level: his discrepancies with the producers of the Yellowstone series and with its creator Taylor Sheridan, who have led to cancel the production to kick him out permanently. With this decision, Costner has had to give up the 24 million dollars that he was going to receive in the next two years.

To understand the situation, a little context. Yellowstone, released in June 2018, became a phenomenon in the United States when traditional television was already invisible when it came to attracting public attention. Taylor Sheridan had found the formula for success by writing a family drama with the flavor of a western and one that could appeal to the conservative voter in the country. In it, Kevin Costner was John Dutton, the owner of the largest ranch in America and a man willing to do anything to keep the land his family owned.

The phenomenon was not a flash of a day. In the fourth season it came to gather more than 12 million viewers in front of the television, a particularly significant figure if one takes into account that it was broadcast on a cable channel like Paramount, not even with a generalist profile. As a result of these figures, the Paramount Global studio had given the green light to multiple spin-offs, such as the already released prequels of 1883 with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and 1932 with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. Who could be interested in killing this goose that laid the golden eggs that had given way to an entire television universe?

However, as the fifth season went into production, the professional relationship between Costner and Yellowstone soured. The actor, also known for his role as a director, had production underway on Horizon, a cinematographic tetralogy that he had written with Jon Baird (Tetris) for a rival studio, Warner Bros, and which also ventured into the western. Originally, he had agreed to allocate 65 days to shoot the first half of the new Yellowstone season, but then he changed his mind: he only wanted to shoot for 50 days.

It was a particular demand on the part of someone who made at least half a million per episode and who was the visible face of the series ahead of those who play his children, Luke Grimes, Wes Bentley and Kelly Reilly. And, in order to accommodate the production of Horizon in his schedule, he told the studio that he only wanted to spend a week filming the second part of the fifth season.

What was the reaction of MTV Entertainment Studios, owned by Paramount Global, and Sheridan? Inform that Yellowstone will conclude with the end of the fifth season and that the characters, with the exception of Costner, will continue on television under another title and with a new media signing: Matthew McConaughey, the Oscar-winning actor from Dallas Buyers Club and known in television for his work on True Detective.

According to Costner, his demands were a result of the changes in Yellowstone. "A series that I did once a year, suddenly I did it twice a year," he explained about the production of the fifth season and the decision to separate the chapters into two filming batches. This affected the shooting schedule for Horizon, which had to fit between the two Yellowstone halves of the season.

The situation became untenable when the scripts for the last part were not ready when scheduled. It is for this reason that he said that he only had a week to shoot what was left and, due to this clash, the episodes are pending production. Costner stated in court that he is even considering suing the Yellowstone studio for the unfilmed episodes of the fifth season, since he should receive $12 million for them. The episodes, in theory, will occur when both parties have reached an agreement both economically and creatively.

And it is that, despite Paramount Global's decision to close Yellowstone to continue without Costner, the initial plan was not this. Thanks to the trial, it has been known that he was offered 24 million dollars to shoot a sixth and a seventh season, but that later there were "creative problems" and finally the producers disengaged. It cannot be ruled out that the genre of Horizon had some weight: Paramount Global have resurrected the western and the neo-western starting with Yellowstone and initially the face of Costner, and Warner Bros. Discovery was going to benefit from the actor's new popularity in this genre.

These data have been covered in the Santa Barbara courts because they affect Costner's financial situation, who will not have the same income after becoming single as when he was with Baumgartner and, consequently, the amount he must pay his ex-wife for child support. the children will be smaller. Costner, who earned him $130,000 a month, will finally have to pay $63,000 and not the $161,500 requested by Baumgartner.