Taylor Sheridan Did the Impossible for 1 Kevin Costner Scene in Yellowstone That Needed Clint Eastwood’s Permission

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Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan had a bad falling out with Kevin Costner, that essentially ended the series’ successful run. However, Sheridan was fully committed to the series which was inspired by all the Western films he saw as a youngster. One film that influenced the Wind River director was the Oscar-winning film Unforgiven. Sheridan approached his icon Clint Eastwood to get permission to use the Unforgiven theme song in one Yellowstone scene.

Taylor Sheridan on the sets of YellowstoneTaylor Sheridan on the sets of Yellowstone
Taylor Sheridan on the sets of Yellowstone

Eastwood saw the heart in Sheridan’s Western project and allowed him to use Claudia’s Song, something he never allowed other filmmakers to do. The song was written and performed by Eastwood in the 1992 film.

Taylor Sheridan Pulled Off A Near-Impossible Feat For One Yellowstone Opening Scene

Clint Eastwood in UnforgivenClint Eastwood in Unforgiven
Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven

In a behind-the-scenes clip of Yellowstone, series creator Taylor Sheridan explained how he got to use the Unforgiven theme song in one of the opening sequences in the series. Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 6, titled The Remembering, had the number Claudia’s Song in its intro portion. Sheridan explained in the clip that he was unsure of an intro for the 45-minute-long episode and came up with the idea of filming a music video, featuring this song.

He was almost sure that Clint Eastwood, who wrote it for Unforgiven, would never permit them to use it. Nevertheless, Sheridan shot the song in the dying light, with the help of cinematographer Ben Richardson. The Hell or High Water writer then sent it to Eastwood, asking him to allow the song in the series in any capacity. Sheridan shared in the clip (via CinemaBlend):

“As far as Claudia’s theme goes, I had 45 minutes one day, and I didn’t know exactly how I was going to intro that episode. So I turned to Ben and I say, ‘Let’s just shoot a music video to this song. I’ll never get it, but let’s do it anyway.’ So we started throwing up cameras, since the light was dying, and we filmed it. And I reached out to Clint Eastwood, and I sent him the scene and asked him permission if I could use it. Because he’s never allowed anyone to use it, in any capacity.”

However, Sheridan’s vision somehow clicked with the Million Dollar Baby actor who allowed the series to use the 90-second music in the series. Even Sheridan was surprised that Eastwood allowed him to use the music fully intact. For Sheridan, using the music in the series was about paying homage to Eastwood and Unforgiven. It was the Western film that got Sheridan into the world of movies and series. Sheridan shared:

“You know, it’s the theme of Unforgiven, which, for me, it’s the film that made me decide that’s what I want to do for a living. So to have an opportunity to pay this abstract homage to the man who both directed that movie and wrote that song and performed it…that was a 90-second homage to Clint Eastwood.”

Yellowstone was a massive hit when it debuted on Paramount+. But things went bad by its fifth and final season, when Sheridan and series lead Kevin Costner had a feud over creative differences.

Yellowstone Drama Between Taylor Sheridan And Kevin Costner

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan and lead Kevin Costner's feud led to a tragic ending for the seriesYellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan and lead Kevin Costner's feud led to a tragic ending for the series
Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan and lead Kevin Costner’s feud led to a tragic ending for the series

The feud between Taylor Sheridan and Kevin Costner came out when the first part of the final season aired. Costner was largely absent in the series and fans initially believed it was due to the filming of Costner’s passion project, the Horizon film series. However, the creative differences between the creator and the lead came to light shortly after.

According to Puck News, Costner had several demands to continue in the show. Costner reportedly had a moral death clause in his contract that allowed him to decide the manner of his death in the series. He also demanded a huge salary, fewer shooting schedules, and script revision rights. Sheridan did not want others interfering in his creative process as he preferred to “tell his stories his way” (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Industry insider Matthew Belloni reported that matters got out of hand from the studio and Costner reportedly parted ways with the series before the second part of the fifth season began filming. While Season 5 Part 2 awaits a release date, other seasons of the acclaimed series are now available on Paramount+.

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