Sometimes it’s hard to separate Kevin Costner from his character on “Yellowstone”; we want them to be one and the same when the cameras aren’t rolling. Turns out, that’s not so far off the mark; on the red carpet for the UK launch of Paramount+ recently, AP Entertainment asked Kevin Costner if he could see himself living life like John Dutton, as a rancher in Montana.
“I think so, probably,” he replied, “I feel so lucky that I did find acting, I knew it was there but I grew up in a very blue collar situation and I thought that would be my life. I worked fishing boats, I framed houses, I think if somebody said ‘what would you do,’ maybe I would’ve had a hunting or fishing lodge or something. Or something like you just mentioned,” he said to the interviewer, who asked him if he could be a rancher. “Ranching would’ve fallen right into that too.”
Although he grew up in California–and recently spoke about his late father’s initial reaction to “Yellowstone”–Costner seems right at home in the wilds of Montana. It’s not at all hard to picture him staking a claim there, raising horses or cattle, and living the reserved, remote life of a rancher. Although, being a superstar seems to have its perks as well; he gets to essentially live that life as John Dutton without the responsibility and the commitment to his own ranch. Pretty sweet deal.
‘Yellowstone’ Star Kevin Costner Explains How the Western is ‘America’s Shakespeare’
In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Kevin Costner described the Western genre as “America’s Shakespeare.” What does that mean, you ask? He went on to explain, as well as discuss what drew him to the project in the first place.
When asked why there weren’t many Western projects in modern times, Costner replied, “Because they’re really hard to make. From a Western standpoint, the reason why there are so many bad ones is because they don’t realize how complicated it was. And Westerns aren’t based just on the gunfight. They’re based on the literature of how people lived their life and how they spoke with each other. The danger that was involved with living in an unknown area without really a level of protection that we know today, this particular century.”
He continued, “And so when you make a Western, if you don’t acknowledge those abilities, that native intelligence, and also the random acts of violence that occurred when you’re out here, I think that’s why they can miss the mark more often than they make it. It’s complicated. It’s our Shakespeare, really, the Western.”
What he means is, Shakespeare is difficult to perform and produce well, and so are Westerns. There’s so much to get wrong, so much innuendo and double meaning and complicated imagery. It’s more than the gunfight. It’s language, and people, change and conflict, and violence. The Western is definitely hard to get right, but when it’s right, it’s right.