‘Always a struggle’ Kevin Costner on challenges of launching project away from Yellowstone

Yellowstone: Kevin Costner talks about the show's popularity

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In addition to his career as a Hollywood legend and now the lead in one of America’s most popular cable series, Kevin Costner is also helping travellers discover more local history with his new app, HearHere. The Yellowstone star joined the start-up as co-founder in 2020 and has been continuing to grow its library of stories while his fans wait for the next season of his hit Paramount Network drama.

Film and TV A-lister Kevin has revealed some of the difficulties he’s faced for his latest project away from Yellowstone.

As well as portraying ranch owner John Dutton for four seasons of the hit drama, he is also an investor and podcast narrator for the HearHere app, which launched in 2020.

The app lets drivers listen to the stories and histories across the US, many of which are told by Kevin himself.

However, releasing and developing the project during the Covid pandemic, a period of strictly limited cross-country travel, proved challenging.

“Well, I’ve been a part of three or four start-ups in my life, and it’s always a struggle,” he recalled.

“You don’t anticipate half the things that come at you. You just know it’s going to be a struggle, it’s always a miracle when a good idea actually gets to where it wants to be.”

Kevin will soon be starting work on the now-confirmed fifth season of Yellowstone, which is expected to premiere later this year.

In the meantime, his road trip companion app has grown exponentially over the last couple of years.

After reaching 22 states last summer, the app is now nationwide and features thousands of stories told by the likes of Kevin, Phil Jackson and John Lithgow.

Kevin told CNBC: “I just started with the fundamental idea that I thought this was a really good idea. I felt it was in the wheelhouse of what I already do in terms of storytelling and my love of history.

“On the basis of that, I just kept going forward with it. I decided to be one of the original founders and just say, ‘Okay, I believe in this idea’.

“And I watched a lot of people do really hard work, and just watched it try and grow.”

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Having starred in films like Dances With Wolves and The Untouchables, Kevin has continued to explore his affinity for US history with the new app.

His passion is shared by Yellowstone creator and showrunner Taylor Sheridan, who launched its 19th Century-set prequel series, 1883, earlier this year.

Recalling the inspiration for the idea, Kevin explained: “What happens, quite often, is these [road] markers really meant something to me, the history that I would see.

“The idea was that if you could get in your car and you could push an app. If someone could figure out how to make an app, that would be something that would appeal to me to understand the first people who were here.”

“That was the fundamental for me to start, always, who were the first people? Because there’s no ‘here’ without knowing who was there before us.”

As John Dutton, Kevin is facing a constant battle with rival business owners as well as the local Native American reservation, who will stop at nothing to reclaim their ancestral land.

Outside of his newfound television career, Kevin is now helping tell the stories of the people who originally built America, with some ghost stories, crime capers and local oddities along the way.

Yellowstone seasons 1-4 are available to stream on the Paramount Network in the USA now. Yellowstone seasons 1-3 are available to stream on PlutoTV in the UK.

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