Kevin Costner Almost Played the Most Spiteful Villain in 1 Quentin Tarantino Movie That Makes His Yellowstone Character Look Like a Saint

Film audiences missed seeing Kevin Costner in his most ruthless cowboy role yet.

kevin costner in yellowstone, quentin tarantino


  • Long before his success in Yellowstone, Kevin Costner turned down a role in Quentin Tarantino's Western-themed film Django Unchained.
  • He was cast as a dark villain character who's the right hand man of Leonardo DiCaprio's Calvin Candie.
  • Costner dropped out of the project citing scheduling conflict and other personal reasons.
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Kevin Costner is heavily into Western drama when he’s not doing his sports drama films. The actor headlined Taylor Sheridan’s series set in a Montana ranch, Yellowstone. He’s also currently working on his two-part dream Western project, Horizon. With all his love for the cowboy genre, it would be surprising for fans to know that Costner turned down a villain role in Django Unchained.

Yellowstone star Kevin Costner turned down a role in Quentin Tarantino's Western film
Yellowstone star Kevin Costner turned down a role in Quentin Tarantino’s Western film

The Quentin Tarantino film had a stellar star cast, including Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson. Costner would have been an interesting addition to the film if he didn’t have to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.

Kevin Costner Turned Down A Role In Quentin Tarantino’s Western Film

Man of Steel actor Kevin Costner dropped out of Django Unchained due to scheduling conflicts
Man of Steel actor Kevin Costner dropped out of Django Unchained due to scheduling conflicts

Kevin Costner was offered a role in Quentin Tarantino‘s Western-themed film, Django Unchained. He was taking on some major supporting roles at the time, including the role of Pa Kent in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. In the Jamie Foxx film, Costner was supposed to play Ace Woody, a Mandingo trainer who served as the right-hand man of the villain Calvin Candie.


Just two months after his casting news went public, Deadline reported in September 2011 that Costner was no longer a part of the film. It was reported that he dropped out due to “a combination of scheduling and personal reasons.” He was the second major actor to drop out from the film after Will Smith gave up the titular role to star in M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth.

According to IndieWire, Costner could’ve dropped out from the movie to star in Kevin Reynolds’ film The Hatfields & The McCoys, which narrated the legendary Western feud for the History Channel. Given the relationship between Costner and Reynolds after Fandango and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, it is highly likely that Costner would bail on Tarantino’s major project for Reynolds’ comparatively smaller project.

However, it is also entirely possible that Costner did not want to do the dirty deeds in the role of Ace Woody, who was supposed to punish the slaves in the film. Ultimately, the character was cut from the film and replaced by Walton Goggins’ character Billy Crash. The film did spark some controversies despite winning two Academy Awards, including the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the Pulp Fiction director.


Kevin Costner’s Other Western Roles Were Much More ‘Safer’ Than Django Unchained

Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves star Kevin Costner may have found the Django Unchained role risky

Kevin Costner did not hesitate to get his hands dirty in the Western roles, but audiences generally loved his badass roles. As John Dutton, the owner of Yellowstone ranch in Taylor Sheridan‘s series, he and his family go into conflict with other parties who look to get a piece of the Montana ranch. These conflicts often turn bloody and Costner’s Dutton is the one pulling all the strings.

Costner has a history of playing such gray-shade Western characters. He won his first Oscar in 1990 as a director and actor in the Western drama Dances with Wolves. He also went on to star as the Western legend Wyatt Earp in the eponymous film of 1995. In 2003, he starred in another drama set in the American West, Open Range. His fans still love seeing him in such roles.

However, Django Unchained would’ve been a risk in his portfolio of Western films. He would’ve had to play a dark and villainous role that audiences would have absolutely hated. All that said, it would’ve been an interesting role for Costner to play and he even would’ve received critical praise like Leonardo DiCaprio.


Django Unchained is now available for streaming on Starz.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1476

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.