“Yellowstone” will be one of the first television series to go back into production during the coronavirus pandemic — but filming will not take place in Utah.
Taylor Sheridan, the series’ co-creator, executive producer and writer, confirmed that work on Season 4 of the hit Paramount Network series will take place entirely in Montana. Between 70-75% of the first three seasons was filmed in and around Park City, with production based at the Utah Film Studios.
“We’re going to shoot exclusively [in Montana] this year,” Sheridan said in an interview with Deadline.
The series stars Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the patriarch of a highly dysfunctional family and owner of the largest contiguous ranch in America. Dutton does battle with developers and an American Indian tribe to maintain control of the ranch, while he and his adult children often battle one another.
The producers of “Yellowstone” spent an estimated $80 million in Utah during production of the show’s first 30 episodes, and were eligible for rebates of up to 25% from the state. But Utah’s $8.29 million annual cap on incentives for all television and movie production in the state left the Utah Film Commission unable to match “Yellowstone’s” rebate for Season 4.
And Montana instituted its own incentives — budgeted at up to $10 million a year — in 2019.
Two years ago, Sheridan told The Tribune, “We probably would have shot the whole thing [in Utah] if we’d had time to build all the sets.” But because producers had only two months between when Paramount ordered the show and filming began, 20-25% of the show has been shot in Montana — primarily at the Chief Joseph Ranch in Darby, which doubles as the Yellowstone Ranch in the show.
The interiors of the real ranch house were re-created on soundstages at the Utah Film Studios. Those sets have been transported to Montana.
And, Sheridan told Deadline, Season 4 of “Yellowstone” will be much more centered on the ranch than past seasons, to mitigate the possibility of anyone catching COVID-19 in Montana. There are “no active cases” in that area now, Sheridan said, and the cast and crew will be subject to “very rigid testing” and will be quarantined there for two weeks before filming begins.
“Once we’re there,” Sheridan said, “we’ll be very cautious. … And everyone will just stay there for the duration.”
Season 3 of “Yellowstone” is airing Sundays at 9 p.m. on the Paramount Network.