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Kevin Costner Almost Lost Yellowstone Gig to This Oscar Winner

How Kevin Costner almost lost his iconic role to this star.


  • Kevin Costner was not the first choice for John Dutton in Yellowstone.
  • Robert Redford was first considered for John Dutton’s role, but the producers weren’t really planning to pick him. This left the door open for Costner to step in.
  • Other actors, such as Sam Elliott and Cole Hauser, had different initial roles in the Yellowstone franchise.
  • Can you imagine anyone other than Kevin Costner playing the tough John Dutton in Yellowstone? It seems almost impossible, but it turns out Costner wasn’t the first choice for the role.

Kevin Costner snagged his role in Yellowstone because he already had a deal with the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan. Back in 2018, this was a big comeback to TV for Costner. Before this, he hadn’t had a major TV gig since Hatfields & McCoys, which scored him both a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

Besides starring in Yellowstone, Costner also served as an executive producer, allowing him to work closely with Sheridan, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter known for works like Hell or High Water.

Kevin Costner landing the role in Yellowstone came from a pact he and Sheridan made. They promised to team up on a project that would be a win-win for both of them.

Costner Had an Unexpected Contender in Yellowstone

Robert Redford is an iconic figure in Hollywood with a career spanning several decades. He is best known for his roles in classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, both of which solidified his status as a leading man in American cinema.

Redford’s charm and versatility in acting have made him a beloved figure. Beyond acting, he is also renowned for his directorial work, notably in Ordinary People, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Director.

Was Robert Redford Really Considered For John Dutton?

Here’s where it gets interesting. Sheridan, eager to get the show greenlit, actually met with Redford, who agreed to take on the role. Imagine Sheridan’s excitement as he rushed to tell the producers the good news, only to be met with a surprising twist.

The producers had meant they wanted a “Robert Redford type,” not Redford himself. This mix-up left the door open for Costner to step in and make the role his own.

In the end, it seems like everything worked out for the best. Yellowstone has become a massive hit, and it’s hard to imagine the show without Costner’s commanding presence. It’s a classic case of a happy accident in Hollywood.

These Actors Almost Weren’t Cast in Yellowstone

The actors who reportedly refused roles in the Yellowstone franchise include Sam Elliott, who turned down a role in the flagship series but later starred in the prequel 1883.

Cole Hauser, who plays Rip Wheeler in Yellowstone, was encouraged by his management to pursue one of John Dutton’s sons’ roles but chose to play Rip instead. Ethan Lee, a cowboy and rodeo trick rider, initially turned down an offer to join Yellowstone but later joined the show as a ranch hand named Ethan.

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