Yellowstone finished its fourth season as something of an anomaly. So far into its run, how many series can lay claim to still-escalating ratings, and suddenly being noticed by the awards crowd as evidenced by a SAG Award nomination for Best Ensemble? Far and away the top-rated cable show once again, Yellowstone’s fourth season averaged 14 million viewers, and 15 million for the finale on Paramount Network.
Co-created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, Yellowstone’s pilot script prompted Oscar-winning movie star/director Kevin Costner to sign on for his first open-ended series run as John Dutton, the patriarch and owner of the largest ranch in Montana who spends most of his time trying to stop developers from carving up his picturesque real estate. Costner said he was certainly impressed by the script and the premise, but could not see he would be signing on for a juggernaut.
“I don’t think you can ever guarantee popular or critical success,” he said during the latest installment of the Deadline Virtual Screening Series. “The only thing you can guarantee is your belief in the quality of the script you’re doing. I could never have predicted the success of Field of Dreams or Bull Durham. Those were films made for under $10 million. But I knew they were good, I knew there was gold dust on the scripts. When I read the first script [of Yellowstone], I thought it had a little of that gold dust. I couldn’t have predicted its popularity, or looked five years ahead, but I’m never surprised at what quality can turn into. Being popular and really good doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. And so, I’m pleasantly surprised.”
The screening series begins with an airing of Season 4’s opening episode, which answered the Season 3 cliffhangers that saw John Dutton shot up by assassins, and dying by the side of the road, where he was helping a woman by fixing her flat tire. Son Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) was last seen overturning his desk and exchanging gunfire with assassins, and daughter Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) was a few feet away when her assistant tore open a suspicious package that contained a bomb that blew out the storefront of her office. Season 4 focused squarely on finding the culprits behind the assassination attempt, with frontier justice awaiting the perpetrators.
Excepting Grimes, all the actors atop the Yellowstone call sheet took part in this discussion of how their characters were put through the ringer, and they give a small sense of where all this is going and what ranch life has meant to them personally. The appearance came the morning that ViacomCBS and Paramount Network revealed that Yellowstone would get a Season 5, with shooting to begin in May. This was not exactly a surprise.
Aside from Costner, we have Wes Bentley, who plays black-sheep lawyer adopted son Jamie Dutton; Reilly, who plays daughter Beth Dutton; Cole Hauser, who plays Yellowstone Ranch boss Rip Wheeler; Kelsey Asbille, who plays Monica Long, wife of Kayce Dutton; Gil Birmingham, who plays Thomas Rainwater, leader of the Broken Rock reservation; and Jefferson White, who plays Jimmy Hurdstrom, the hard-luck rodeo rider who by season’s end turns himself into a real cowboy.
Check out our conversation above.
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