Kevin Costner in the modern-day western "Yellowstone"

Kevin Costner talks Season 2 of "Yellowstone"

Actor, director and producer Kevin Costner, who has appeared in dozens of memorable movies, is bringing his talents back to television, playing the patriarch of a powerful family of ranchers fighting to keep their land and legacy in the second season of "Yellowstone." The Paramount Network series starts Wednesday.

Visiting "CBS This Morning" Monday, Costner was asked why he thought it was important to dramatize the struggles of ranchers in the modern West.

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Kevin Costner as rancher John Dutton in the TV series "Yellowstone." Paramount Network

"I didn't think of it that way," he said. "I tried to put the audience on my shoulder the first time I read the script. You go to the TV, you go to the movies for something. When the lights go out, you want to just be transported. And so, when I read a script, I feel myself being transported – suddenly we're in Bitterroot Valley, the same valley that Lewis & Clark went down.

"People are reminded once again when they watch that these places still exist. You can get caught up in what you do, but quite a lot of history went down out there. I don't think we ever tire of seeing running rivers and valleys and mountains, and if you can set a drama against all that, it's fun. If you can set a boy-girl movie against minor league baseball in 'Bull Durham,' it's fun!"

He admitted that he tries to do as much of his own stunt riding as well. "I'm okay riding. I am around people who are really good with horses, but it's something I've done since I was little, and I think that's one of the joys when you go to the movies. Who wouldn't want to run with the buffalo? And I just don't like necessarily giving that up to stunt men. I want to do as much as I can. … It's the fun of doing movies. Who doesn't want to kiss the girl, save the day, climb the building, turn off the bomb?"

To watch a preview of Season Two of "Yellowstone" click on the video player below.

Yellowstone Season 2 Official Trailer | Paramount Network by Paramount Network on YouTube

Costner, who won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for the 1990 western "Dances With Wolves," also talked about two of his most memorable movie roles.

"The Bodyguard"

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Warner Brothers

CBS News' Adriana Diaz commented that her personal favorite of Costner's was his 1992 romantic drama about a music superstar (played by Whitney Houston in her first movie role) in a relationship with her bodyguard.

"I remember reading you said you didn't think it was going to have the kind of power that it ended up having at the time. Why not?" Diaz asked.  

"I think some people talked about the interracial thing, and I didn't think anything about that. I just kind of went for the prettiest girl that could sing, who could really sing," Costner said. "And so, for me I didn't realize what we were talking about later on, that there was a lot of power behind that [relationship].  That kind of created a … I don't know what it did. I just instinctually went to what I thought would make for the best movie."

"Field of Dreams" (1989)

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Kevin Costner in the 1989 "Field of Dreams." Universal Pictures

One of Costner's most popular films, the baseball movie in which an Iowa farmer reconnects with his dead father was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and recently added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

"I feel like it's kind of our generation's 'It's a Wonderful Life,'" Costner said. "And I understand it's in theaters the next couple of days. People are going, taking their sons. It's not just for men. It's crushed people from the very first day, broke their heart into a thousand pieces, that little movie.

"So much about relationships with your father go unsaid and you've got to break that cycle or you're going need a field of dreams to remind you of what you maybe missed." 

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.