Max Rejected Making ‘Yellowstone’ Because Of Beth Dutton

Yellowstone - YouTube

Yellowstone fan-favorite troublemaker Beth Dutton, portrayed by Kelly Reilly, is one of the most iconic television characters ever.

However, before Paramount began production of their franchise series, creator Taylor Sheridan took it to Max. However, they rejected it because of Beth Dutton.

What exactly happened?

Yellowstone - YouTube
Yellowstone – YouTube

Max Rejected Yellowstone Over Beth Dutton

Yellowstone has many characters. However, the one that viewers love is Beth Dutton. Portrayed by Kelly Reilly, Beth is John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner) only daughter, who is smart, loyal, and says what she thinks.

However, when Taylor Sheridan first started to shop his series, one network was interested, but without Beth Dutton’s outrageous personality.

Sheridan spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how he stuck to his guns about keeping this mercurial character in his series. He had a luncheon meeting with a cornucopia of the network’s bigwigs along with his Yellowstone co-creator, John Vinson. Unfortunately, this lunch had a sour taste.

He quoted the Max execs, “‘We think she’s too abrasive. We want to tone her down Women won’t like her.'”

The showrunner then stated why he thought she was a great character, and why these unnamed executives were wrong.  “They were wrong because Beth says the quiet part out loud every time. When someone’s rude to you in a restaurant, or cuts you off in the parking lot, Beth says the thing you wish you’d said.”

Although Sheridan pitched this series as “The Godfather in Montana,” he could not sell it. Ultimately, they rejected Yellowstone. They told them that their brand was “avant-garde,” and labeled themselves “trendsetters.” Moreover, they rejected this modern Western as “Middle America.” They didn’t seem interested in making something for flyover land.

Yellowstone, used with Paramount's permission
Yellowstone, used with Paramount’s permission

Max Rejected Kevin Costner As Yellowstone Patriarch John Dutton

As if rejecting Beth Dutton was not enough, these same executives didn’t want Kevin Costner to star as John Dutton in Yellowstone. Instead, they wanted Robert Redford.

When they were in negotiations, the crack-shot executives and Taylor Sheridan all agreed that they needed a big name to play John Dutton. Sheridan already had his man in Kevin Costner. But, the execs “didn’t see it.”

Instead, they asked for Robert Redford. They even promised Sheridan that they would “greenlight the pilot” if they secured the iconic actor.

Taylor then headed over to Sundance and spent a day with the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid star. He secured him for this role and headed back.

Immediately, Sheridan contacted the senior vice president of production and gave him the good news. The executive seemed confused. Sheridan reminded him that they wanted Redford, and promised they would greenlight the pilot if he secured him. He told him that he got it done.

But, this guy then changed his stance and said, “We meant a Robert Redford type.”

The network formerly known as HBO gave him the big runaround.

Yellowstone - YouTube
Yellowstone – YouTube

One Executive Liked Taylor Sheridan’s Series

It should be noted that Michael Lombardo, then the programming president, was on board. But, his team was not. Lombardo thought that Taylor Sheridan was “real,” and that Yellowstone felt “fresh.” But, in the end, they did not make it.

Normally, a network would keep a show that they were developing. However, Michael Lombardo gave it back to Sheridan before he was fired.

Lombardo told Sheridan that he “always believed” in Yellowstone. He just could not get his colleagues to make it.

Eventually, Sheridan took the series to Paramount. They kept Beth Dutton the way he wrote her and hired Kevin Costner. Now, it is the biggest show on cable.

Georgia Makitalo

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