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  4. Kevin Costner says 'Yellowstone' spinoff '1883' may have 'borrowed' from his new movie as creator Taylor Sheridan read a script in 2019

Kevin Costner says 'Yellowstone' spinoff '1883' may have 'borrowed' from his new movie as creator Taylor Sheridan read a script in 2019

Eve Crosbie   

Kevin Costner says 'Yellowstone' spinoff '1883' may have 'borrowed' from his new movie as creator Taylor Sheridan read a script in 2019
  • Kevin Costner has suggested that "Yellowstone" spinoff "1883" took inspiration from his new movie.
  • He claims that Taylor Sheridan read the script for "Horizon" in 2019; "1883" premiered in 2021.

The first installment of Kevin Costner's multi-film franchise, "Horizon: An American Saga," will be released in theaters next month. If audiences see some similarities between the movie and the "Yellowstone" spinoff series "1883," it may not be a coincidence.

Both the upcoming movie and the limited prequel series, which follows the lives of the ancestors of Costner's "Yellowstone" protagonist, focus on the westward expansion of the US in the late 19th century.

Speaking to IndieWire at the Cannes Film Festival, where the "Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1" premiere was greeted with largely negative reviews, Costner shared his belief that "Yellowstone" co-creator Taylor Sheridan may have drawn inspiration from his American frontier story.

Costner and his screenwriting partner Jon Baird sent Sheridan the then-unproduced script for "Horizon: An American Saga" in 2019. At the time, the second season of "Yellowstone" was in production, and Sheridan was looking for additional writers, the outlet reported.

While nothing appears to have come from it (Costner and Baird are not credited as writers on any of the episodes of "Yellowstone" or its spinoffs that have aired since), the 69-year-old floated the idea that Sheridan may have "borrowed" from his script when it came to penning the eight-episode season of "1883."

"So I don't know if there's any duplications there," Costner said.

"Whether he borrowed something, only he'd have to admit to," he told IndieWire.

Costner's comments come over a year on from the reports that a falling out between himself and Sheridan over shooting schedules and contract disputes was delaying production on "Yellowstone." As of this month, season five of the show resumed filming without Costner.

On his future in the series, the actor-director told IndieWire: "I know they'll probably do that without me."

"I'm open to coming back," he said, echoing his previous comments this year.

He added: "But I basically have to see what the scripts are about. But now 'Horizon' has my first position."

Representatives for Costner, Sheridan, and Paramount+ did not respond to a request for comment sent by Business Insider.

The two projects share a lot in common

"1883," which began airing in 2021, told the story of the first members of the Dutton family and their treacherous journey from the Great Plains to the Wild West before settling in Montana to establish what would eventually become the Yellowstone Ranch.

It was set against Civil War-ravaged America in the titular year and starred country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in its lead roles. A large ensemble cast of characters of German and Romani immigrants, Comanche natives, and Black cowboys supported them.

Meanwhile, Costner's "Horizon: An American Saga" spans the four years of the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, and, per its synopsis, "explores the lure of the Old West and how it was won—and lost—through the blood, sweat, and tears of many." It, too, features a cast portraying pioneer men and women and Apache tribe members, as well as other characters from minority backgrounds.

"1883" received mostly positive reviews upon its release and holds an 89% fresh rating critics rate on Rotten Tomatoes. It was well-received by audiences, too, with an 83% audience score based on more than 500 ratings.

As it stands, "Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1" has a 33% rotten critics rating on the review aggregator site based on the 18 critics who have reviewed it so far. An audience score won't appear until the movie's official release on June 28.

Critics have noted, however, that "Horizon" feels a lot like an episode of television

Interestingly, several critics noted in their reviews for the first installment (Costner has stated that he intends to make four "Horizon: An American Saga" films) that it was structured like an episode of television.

Vanity Fair's chief critic Richard Lawson compared it to "Game of Thrones," writing that the film "introduces us to a television season's worth of characters and plot threads."

"Yet Costner never lets us feel the grand interconnectedness of these stories," he added.

David Rooney, chief film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, echoed this, writing that "Horizon" was like "a limited series overhauled as a movie, but more like a hasty rough cut than a release ready for any format."

Meanwhile, Variety's chief film critic, Owen Gleiberman, wrote that the movie lacks a "moving" story for viewers and "feels like the seedbed for a miniseries."

"What you realize, after a while, is that 'Horizon' isn't just a glorified TV series made with more expensively gritty production values. It's the setup for a TV series," he wrote later in the review.

"It's the early stuff we need to know before the drama totally kicks in. It doesn't weave these stories together; it stacks them next to each other like a series of cabooses."

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