Kevin Costner Reportedly Caught COVID-19, Sparking 'Yellowstone' Production Setbacks
Kevin Costner reportedly caught COVID-19, which played a role in Yellowstone production delays. Yellowstone finished the first half of Season 5 in January, with the second half set to air sometime this year. However, the new episodes have yet to be filmed and may end up airing when a potential sixth season would have.
Costner reportedly contracted COVID after his promotional trip to the Calgary Stampede rodeo in July 2022, reports Puck News' Matthew Belloni. Instead of giving producers more of his time, Costner allegedly said his shooting window elapsed and left, according to Belloni. This forced the Yellowstone cast and crew to reassemble at a later date to film his scenes. That added to the show's budget and angered Costner's co-stars.
The COVID delay and "other issues" forced the filming of Season 5B into 2023. Costner's lawyer, Howard Kaplan, reportedly offered the Yellowstone production one week in the summer for Costner to film Season 5B scenes, as well as two days of pick-up filming in October or November 2023. This is understandably frustrating to showrunner Taylor Sheridan since Costner's John Dutton plays a major role in the series. Yellowstone also relies heavily on outdoor photography, and mother nature is a little difficult for Sheridan to control.
From Costner's perspective, Sheridan is the one at fault for the delays. Sources close to the production note that filming of all of Season 5 was supposed to be completed in 2022. Sheridan has many other projects in the works (Mayor of Kingstown, 1923, and Tulsa King, plus upcoming Paramount+ shows) that made it difficult for him to get scripts in on time. Sheridan "constantly moved the schedule around," a production source told Belloni. Costner's team claims he did change his window of availability after he came down with COVID and performed as he was required to.
"The idea that Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of Season 5 of Yellowstone is an absolute lie," Costner's litigator, Marty Singer, told Belloni on Friday. "It's ridiculous – and anyone suggesting it shouldn't be believed for one second. As everyone who knows anything about Kevin is well aware, he is incredibly passionate about the show and has always gone way above and beyond to ensure its success."
"As we previously stated, Kevin has been a key component of the success of our Yellowstone series, and we hope that continues from here on out," a Paramount representative told Belloni. Nevertheless, the delays mean Yellowstone Season 5B will not be filmed until this summer and fall to air in November, in place of a potential sixth season.
Sheridan is allegedly "furious" about the situation because he cannot finish writing Season 5B until the situation with Costner is ironed out. Sheridan, producer David Glasser, and Paramount Media Networks CEO Chris McCarthy have started planning for Costner's eventual exit, Belloni reports. Costner, who earns $1.2 million per Yellowstone episode, has been more interested in filming his multi-part Western film Horizon, which is why he's wanted to work less on Yellowstone.