Kevin Costner talks the making of 'Yellowstone'

The actor appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers," and talks about why he decided to take on a role as a TV series regular in "Yellowstone."
20:23 | 06/26/19

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Transcript for Kevin Costner talks the making of 'Yellowstone'
And one of my favorite can I mean this what my favorite. TV show is Yost on. But before we get into any that Kevin Costner welcome to the show up and value that you are and congratulations on season to thank you yeah. What attracted you to this well. It's answered that's where more complicated than that. Like usually doesn't sometimes there's a different there's a different spin on a when I was approached with this weird it was going to be one long movie attendance at episode movie art Hatfield and mccoys. And it somewhere along the line. The show got. Put together and it was no longer going to be that and I felt. In a way a lot of it had been put together because of me. It's a grain that I would do and so lonely holder went from one season to some it was going to be a multi ceiling and I had to make a real fundamental decision and Aaron my. I thought II thought actually. If I would have said well now I'm not doing. That maybe it might have crumbled before it got started. Sort of I kind of took the weighed on of emotionally not wanting to have the show. Crumbled but that's not how it started. Describe a little to those people who haven't seen it yet who John Dutton is who is this deserve he's a patriarch of a family that's been in Montana. Since C eighteen homeowners caught five generations if you well. He's a person that's kind of locked in the past but also has a mentality of a CEO. So is actually blow on the ranch up into the largest contiguous piece of property and in the United States. And is conducting modern day rancher that life is still going on people were still making a living on horseback. And in Montana it's alive and well although it's a struggle justice and rumors it's been for farmers and the the normal things that ranching struggles with our no longer. What his ancestors dealt with he's now dealing with outside forces with the EPA there's. Native American rights with casinos urbanization. The idea that on his death. His children not inherit this flannel would be just because of inheritance these are external pressures and he's not able to arbitrate those problems the way his predecessors that. Which was when they had no agents no publicity people the lawyers. You handled your problems on your property. And that DNA is alive and well. In and yellows and we should look at a clip you. Commissioner to pursue them according to Donnie. Stood Florian. He can be sure of support for me. The earmarks but there's a war going on this valley. There's a great future site. So he's in control. In every sense the sheriff couldn't be this year. Yes and you know and and in and that looks pretty dirty and maybe it is pretty dirty but you realize that it's later. In that country when you do someone a favor you feel like it's got to be done back I've stood for you. And did you do you gotta make up your mind where you stand bonds on the Mike this. There are also standing in front of a group of people that that just killed like 200 can house. And they end and because are trying to drive drive me out. He steps over the line now. That's not one that's over the law lighten so you know I know what I step over the line and in this. You know what happens is he doesn't make he doesn't distinguish them. The I mean there's the righteous fight and then there's over KO. You never really attracted to somebody who's just black hat you know or why he's not. He also has qualities to ride that thing beyond this you know this series has unfolded for me very much. Like it housing audience I'll tell you what I mean by that. A cassette arrived that a pilot. And that's all that was there there were no other episodes. And so the arc of this should show. It is the revealing itself not only to an audience on broadcast but it really revealing itself to me has groups. Com comes from so that's that's a different. Way of working than I've ever worked before. So are you enjoying it. Is this this whole idea of doing TV series enjoyable to you you know I love working and I love working in this economy you know it is in this genre although it's not the western that's used is modern day so I like putting myself there. I just have to sit back and con analyze this situation. When it's all done because I'm in the middle of it as we ago and it's really. You know it's it's it's. It's. It's organized chaos. What is your attraction to the western why is it something that that you've done so often because Dances With Wolves is. The main deal I mean we all remember it it says Academy Award winner not won an Oscar for it. To me made another western that I think is equal of that cove open range thank you which is a you directed as well. And it's about that it's about the people that live in this place the not just much. Oh look at the scenery it's great. It's also about what this really does today they're literary have to be literate you know it's too much black cat white hat it's too much people say yep no. It's not the truth it was a Victorian age people wrote beautiful letters and their use of the language the common cowboy yeah he was shy he was. There there was an economy of language. They didn't feel like they needed to fill up the air. So it's it's that there's there's a musical dance allied field and I do a western. And might might draw to it isn't the gun fight my draws it into how people talk with each other. And and the and the real randomness that was out there in the west for violence and him and that type of characters were finding themselves on the way after the civil war there was no place if you believe the current war heroes. And people in war are dealing with this post dramatic stress which we do believe that. Imagine imagine when half the country was fighting when that war was op over where those people went. And lot of them could never go home again and lot of them from themselves from the west with disturbed and a lot of and there was no law out there have you always been a western fan. I'm not a fan of all weapons most westerns I am a fan of only about 510. I had time. Yeah I'd I'm I'm I'm love the beauty of the country but I won't tolerate bad language meaning literacy. Not western and in on on TV and film I hate it. I don't like it when it's come. At all. Because I think there's such great opportunity because architecture of a western. Should be to actually frightening sitting in the dark watching me thinking. Packages happened to me I don't know what I would have done. Too often. You know this movie start with you know fifty people dead and that gives that person right on revenge killings. Certainly revenge played a big part people that continue to kill. And we think about the Hatfield and mccoys is a great vendetta. The debt has happened for sixty years after the civil war. World where people were still getting even. With other people or using that war is a terrible excuse to get even with something to take. America was a wide open place and violence was random and we knew and when he really. Invest in the writing to actually. Make that a character a random house. And it can be really scary to be out there by yourself to be a decent man and come across psychopaths. What was the first western song that had an effect. It was How the West Was Won. All they do grand scale Bremer here and Spencer Tracy's voice. And and and the camera was moving. Over these mountains. And then it. And I was thrilled by nothing being there and and now so nice. This canoe gore across a lake where there wasn't report was Jimmy Stewart and birch worker and what happens costumes were very authentic. And I knew right and that's what I'd even as the five year old I didn't like Russian Tuesday look following the didn't fight right. They they they didn't draw a right they didn't move. But now one started to see our direction that was and then he pals across the lake ends up. On the shore where there is exotic people and feathers and farmers were standing there. They were authentically. I wish thrilled with the beauty. And I loved. That this guy. On a zone. Came up to those people and was on threaten. I felt what kind of guys that so I've built Rican is after that. Recchi and Jimmy Stewart coming in his canoe right you know we know lie about means so that we understand that these image firearm magic nation I mean you've become a critic. There was some reason. That happened issue I don't know it was a definitive moment where he thought. I don't I don't I don't do this I don't do this but I can write about it and I can sense something the great you know you don't have to be a great athlete. To know what a great athlete and you don't have to be a great singer to know when your hearing a great singer. You don't have to be able to direct a movie in order to critique one and the idea. Find your own yellow brick road. Where you fell the most comfortable where you've made your reputation. At least professionally. That you know. If you had a definitive moment. I didn't have a defend their moment that I would be an actor because. I actually. I'm has pretty naive Qaeda and Iran are very conservative background I actually thought that the people were on screen were born on the story. No I can think that was an option for me. You know I was born Compton California. And I didn't think they're that could be that was you know that was that's what somebody else us but but I could look at it and go that's phony. I could look I go that's real I could look at and say that moved me. And what I knew for a long time was I actually. Understood how to. Isolate what it was I was saying. I can see where it went off track bracket see where we had. And being really experience in the business I have a lot at the readers I know how they get off track you went from being in nigh eve kid. Who just was overpowered in some way by what he saw. And wanted to be part of it you wouldn't build a commitment it did rod I wanna be there I wanted somebody wanted those men their then then that this op practical idea that. I could maybe work in that business so if by look at the bread crumbs of my life. I see that I was writing torture receive. That I was writing stories I see that I was playing music I was and acquire you know my desire to perform. But I never translated into how you would get a check I just thought those were things I love. But there. Background that I grew up with it was a real kind of blue caller. You get a job you go do this and that's what you gonna do. And you steady conservative background that are really conserve background so you become into a whole world where that isn't the case where. There are in Hollywood it's especially liberal. Right come into it. Had you reacted. Well actually I was really glad the two experience liberal points of view. I can't have. My foundation is conservative but not my view of the world my view of the world is. Is a not everybody can pick yourself up by their bootstraps. And when you have 300 million people people fall through the cracks. And if you don't if you look rovers or they're just not hustling. Third they they could work they got two legs area. That's a that's a very small is that I've a lot more empathy. You know went out from and I am and doesn't mean conservatives don't but it means. A different point of view the semi I was. I was against all the people who were against the Vietnam War. And out but I was thirteen and my brother was in Vietnam mouth and my parents at the table when they'd look at the TV and see people protesting. And spitting on the soldiers and calling him baby killers my parents hated the quarter grew at hippies they hated the protest marchers. Only two. Find out forty years ago was wrong for them to send my brother to Vietnam there was no real reason for that. And he was just there it was it was and so. What I'm saying is so from a conservative background I've I was still hearing the voices of my parents for a long time had to find my own voice. I wasn't an angry teenager. I I actually had empathy for my parents because there were so worried about my older brother but I thought I didn't really want to cause them trouble. In it seems to me that you as an actor to. As well as a director when you're doing something you're fascinated by this sort of the man in the arena. The guide that is in this place whether it's sports you know. Whether it's baseball with a golf and can cop out in this kind of thing we're field of dreams is just headed thirtieth anniversary. What do you do you look back. That and think about that movie when it has an anniversary like that when people are talking about it again I look back on it and it feeds and two. Premise I've had a long time which is that if if you you know we you go back through your Rolodex of movies there's your classic movies. And uses so what I do is what I want I go through the Rolodex. Every movie do has a chance to beat us so you have to try to choose carefully she Kenya. With the idea that that's what you want to be eaten. And you have to believe that you shouldn't be surprised that a movie's success you should be surprised if a movie's a phenomenon. Well that you shouldn't be prize surprise that it's good or it's a success because you should have thought that. At the beginning when you said yes because you're gonna rip your way from her family. Go somewhere in the world and make it an if you have a family that means your your apps from them for a little bit so. Men make a living women make a living and you have to. You have to make the choices about work but for me that what I gonna put myself. Wedeman what I'm gonna give time. I have to are really look about it besides you can this. Can this. Can this stand will this stand at some way. You know I don't like missing the thing that my kids to on the other hand I have to live my life and that's what I want them to do. They see that I live my life. There are the focus of my attention. But when I'm away from them one day there will go and look at that things that I've done and are not capable while we see in the movies done because are all hours and certain instances. But they'll look back an hour ago. Maybe I'll get that way we will have that conversation I know now why you did that I'm I'm really. I love singing I didn't know anything about what this field nutrients movie was there's also movies that stand the test of time you have so I bring up that apple dorm is also elected just had thirtieth anniversary right. You those movies have stood the test of time ride me. That branch out tin cup thing that you did it there were numbered it was on the Friday that its but it. You can watch it and it speaking TT net. It's in the writing that then that's kind of it's the writing it will always sustain something. I'm and I are starting and with writing. My careers been propped up. Well that's good but there's a lot of elements including won all and that's when you see a movie. That's when humans seem really get off I can tell when a movie gets off I don't have to wait for the opening weekend need to know I could see that it happened. When the writing got manipulated I could see when it was perhaps Capstraw. When I can see it win. When we we've started the reissued an Indian because they decided they wanted the movie to go from. And RO PG because it would attract a bigger audience. So it's almost like a salmon headed upstream there's really a lot of things that can kill a movie. From a six year old boy with a trouble hook. This that or a big old bear or chemicals like there's a lot of things you know in you know fear based decisions. You know. You can't get to classic without breaking the mold of something I wanted to take at least one or two questions that we get from Al let's look at one of these. Joseph Al says how does it feel to shoot on such a beautiful ranch this the atmosphere affect the way you. Act I tea. It doesn't affect the way Iraq but I tell you what it does do is that. You can either work and I don't like doing movies with ties. And I Ghana depth. You know I'm him and none on me but I'm when I'm saying is. I'm not as comfortable in this city Newton. And and I realize that I have this great job that takes me around the world. When I find myself out in the west. I wake up every morning and that's that's my office that's what I'm looking at. So I know I know what they're asking and I will say stop that it necessarily informs my acting. Although it creates a set. That that you know it's just. You know there's two things for me in the in the in the business that I chose one. Is that. Is that there's the movie I made. Into their C experience I have. I don't value the outcome of a movie. In this box office more than my experience. They equate. I want that obvious thing for the movie to be successful but I never let the idea that what it did box office negate. The experience that guy. I won't let it out way. This show and we sands in something musical I was gonna ask you about Kevin Costner and modern Latin how are they doing. Richardson that are art we actually wrote three songs that are in Yellowstone. I need who leaked albeit. Oakmont oh lead I don't needy desperate terrible receive very bank is in its you know I could throw the popcorn I could give anymore you know. No I don't. Com not on I don't know there's there's a song I wrote about co wrote you know about. My wife and that. Sonic heroes. I asked to Waco reverend Moore man. You know the first thing the crossed my mind. Still some values we proved to. In the early afternoon news. That round win comes blown through the time. See it worked at that day yet thank you for thank you for coming up probably gonna get creamed for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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