HomeEntertainmentTVYellowstone‘Yellowstone’s Tate Dutton, Brecken Merrill, Cherishes ‘Growing Up On-Screen’ with Kevin Costner as His ‘TV Grandpa’ (Outsider Exclusive)

‘Yellowstone’s Tate Dutton, Brecken Merrill, Cherishes ‘Growing Up On-Screen’ with Kevin Costner as His ‘TV Grandpa’ (Outsider Exclusive)

by Jon D. B.
Brecken Merrill as Tate Dutton, Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

“This is the show you want to grow up on,” Brecken Merrill exclaims of his youth spent on Yellowstone, which is very much still in progress.

As Tate, Brecken has given consistent life to the Dutton family’s seventh generation since the pilot episode. We’re now five seasons in, and all those episodes hold the evolution of the 14-year-old actor, literally and figuratively. Cast as the son of Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Monica (Kelsey Asbille) Dutton when he was just 8-years-old, Brecken’s Tate began as a tiny, wide-eyed thing that brought levity amidst the Neo-Western’s hard-hitting drama.

Before long, however, he was stomping rattlesnakes, getting kidnapped, caught in gunfights, and escaping wrecked vehicles. That may sound like a lot, but it’s all in a year’s work for a Yellowstone actor. The perks of being on that callsheet are plenty for the teen, too.

Taylor Sheridan didn’t want to film it in LA or some big city, he wanted to film it in Montana,” Brecken tells me of the series’ architect from a desk in his California art school. “I’m in California for half the year, so I’m basically living a double life. I’ve got the city life, and the country life!”

Professionally, “It’s also good to look back at the older episodes and see how much I’ve advanced in my acting career. And I think this is the perfect show to grow up on, for sure,” he adds with that wide Tate Dutton smile. Which, of course, leaves Brecken Merrill in the category of actors who don’t mind watching themselves on screen.

“Oh man, I love watching Yellowstone,” he reiterates. If you’re going to have to watch your old performances, it might as well be as part of television’s top show. And who better to have as your “TV Grandpa” than Hollywood icon Kevin Costner.

‘Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner is Both an ‘Amazing Storyteller’ and ‘Perfectionist’ According to Brecken Merrill

“It’s amazing working with Kevin,” he lauds of the John Dutton star. “I admire him so much,” he adds, before demonstrating a bit of what it’s like to act alongside Costner.

“It could be the smallest scene that means nothing, and he will perfect everything. His attention to detail is so great. It’s like, let’s say there’s a half-eaten dish and the fork was one way,” Brecken offers. “And he’ll say, ‘No, when you were done, you put the fork this way!’ and then change it.”

Kevin Costner as John Dutton, Brecken Merrill as Tate Dutton in Yellowstone. (Photo Credit: Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom)

“He’s also a really good storyteller,” Brecken lauds. “In between takes, he tells amazing stories and gives great advice. He’s really amazing all around, truly.”

Regardless of your TV family, filming a juggernaut of a show can be taxing, especially for a teen working to finish their education simultaneously. Take this and double it into shooting a 14-epiosde Season 5, and you’ve got a recipe for chaos, Brecken says.

“It was very chaotic. We didn’t know if we were going to have a break, we didn’t know when we were going to be back. So should I go back to school, or should I continue to be online?” he recalls of filming’s start for Season 5. “It was kind of a mess of everything, we were scrambling.”

For the young actor in particular, “I do miss my friends a lot when we’re filming. We facetime every day,” he tells me before revealing the Yellowstone cast has yet to film the season’s second half (more on that here).

In the meantime, find our full interview with Brecken Merrill below. Yellowstone Season 5 returns each Sunday at 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT, exclusively on Paramount Network.

Yellowstone’s Brecken Merrill dives deep into that big Season 5 death, Tate Dutton’s future, and working with Kevin Costner in Outsider’s exclusive interview. Watch Season 5 of Yellowstone on Sundays on Paramount.