‘Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner Brings ‘1883’s Faith Hill to Tears as He Reveals John Dutton’s Untold Backstory

by Jon D. B.
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Placing her hand on her chest, Faith Hill was moved to tears as Kevin Costner revealed the Yellowstone history we haven’t seen.

Last week, Costner, Hill, and Tim McGraw traveled to London to support the international debut of Paramount+. For married superstars Hill and McGraw, this meant revisiting their brilliant portrayals of 1883’s ancestral Duttons, Margaret and James. For Costner, however, it meant a hefty departure from ongoing Yellowstone Season 5 filming in Montana.

And much like his John Dutton, you can feel the longing Costner holds for the American West as he delves deep into the patriarch’s untold story for Deadline.

“I’m not Dorothy from Kansas, but there’s ‘no place like home,'” Costner offers. “The place marks him. He knows how it smells,” he tells of John.

As the trade’s Mike Fleming Jr. (a fellow frequent reporter of all things Dutton) asks the iconic actor to further explore this, Costner begins to reveal parts of John’s backstory audiences (which includes Hill and McGraw) don’t know.

“My character went to Vietnam,” Costner reveals of his stalwart patriarch. The horrors of war are a generational thru-line for the Duttons. McGraw’s James Dutton was a Tennessee veteran of the Civil War. And several generations on, Luke Grimes‘ Kayce Dutton also becomes a veteran of combat like his father, John.

Yet as powerful as this information and topic is, it doesn’t bring the depth of emotion out of Costner that discussing John’s late wife, Evelyn Dutton (Gretchen Mol), very much does.

‘I co-wrote a song about my wife that I never have a scene with’

“I co-wrote a song about my wife that I never have a scene with,” Costner reveals of John. “And I can play it and it can then inform me where I need to be when I listen to it. It’s not any different than any other man who understands the love of his life,” he continues in the presence of a couple that’s been married for over a quarter-of-a-century.

“But I do know this. I know things would be different on my ranch if my wife was alive,” Costner continues with great feeling, visibly moving Faith Hill to tears as she places a hand on her chest.

“I know that she would know how to handle our children in a way that wouldn’t change the spirit of who they are. But she would’ve been able to do the things that I can’t, and don’t know how,” he says of John as tears well in his own eyes. As they do, Hill looks to McGraw, who flashes a knowing smile.

“You just made me cry, stop!” Hill pokes to Costner as the interview closes. Yet the sit-down offers plenty more from the icon’s self-crafted John Dutton pantheon.

‘Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner Speaks to the ‘Facts of the Script’ Informing his John Dutton Backstory

Earlier on, Costner broaches the “generational” information that series crafter, Taylor Sheridan, has built into the script. Speaking to how he “became the rock” his character’s father, John Dutton Sr. (Dabney Coleman), could always rely on, Costner isn’t sure there’s ever a moment when men “know” we’re becoming our fathers.

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In a flashback, John Dutton (L- Kevin Costner) cares for his ailing father John Dutton Sr (Dabney Coleman) in the Season 2 finale of “Yellowstone.” The episode, entitled “Sins of the Father,” premieres on Wednesday, August 28 at 10 p.m., ET/PT on Paramount Network. (Paramount Press Gallery)

“I don’t know if there ever is a moment where we cross that line where we are our dad,” Costner begins. “Our dads never think that we move fast enough, or work long enough. But the facts of the script are: 40-years-ago, when you were raised on a farm, you stayed on the farm. For five generations of people, they knew what their job was going to be.”

We’ve now seen how those first generations of Duttons came to inhabit their Rhode-Island-sized slice of Montana courtesy of 1883‘s McGraw, Hill, and chiefly: Isabel May’s ill-fated Elsa Dutton. And we’re slated to discover how that story continues into further descendants via Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford in the upcoming 1923.

But for Costner, his John would face the turning point; a societal shift that saw his children’s generation push back and reach out for life beyond what they’d always known.

“My children can look at the television and see Paris. That’s where Beth wants to go. She’s going to go these places,” he says of Kelly Reilly’s indomitable Dutton daughter. “But in the end, the land will probably be more important to Beth than any of them.”

In the end, “Different generations behave differently,” Costner offers. And that’s precisely why we can’t get enough of Yellowstone‘s budding television empire.

Kevin Costner returns as John Dutton for Yellowstone Season 5 this November 13, exclusively on Paramount Network.

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