There certainly is a colorful history of contention behind Hatfields & McCoys, and not just on screen. The miniseries reunites Kevin Costner with frequent director Kevin Reynolds 17 years after the floating wreckage of their previous film — the open-ocean catastrophe Waterworld — drenched their friendship in acrimony. The Kevins’ relationship began in 1985, when Reynolds gave Costner one of his first starring roles in the small buddy film Fandango. They grew close, and Reynolds even helped Costner with his 1990 directorial debut, Dances With Wolves. But it was while working on their next film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, that the cracks in the dam began to appear, as the pair squabbled over story, screen time, and Costner’s accent.
Then came Waterworld, and after that, the flood. The two were still fuming over Robin Hood when the project was first pitched to them, but following a hatchet-burying session, they agreed to move forward on one of the most infamously disastrous productions in Hollywood history. A ballooning budget, sinking sets, and resurfacing creative differences led Reynolds to quit; he told EW before the film hit theaters, ”In the future Costner should only appear in pictures he directs himself. That way he can always be working with his favorite actor and his favorite director.” Harsh words, but apparently not insurmountable. The men have reconciled once more to make, appropriately, a miniseries about America’s most famous feud. ”We had differences,” Costner told EW in January. ”It happens, especially when the stakes are as high as they were with Waterworld. But out of fire comes steel. And I’ve always had a real belief in him as a director.” Sounds like it’s a whole lot of water under the bridge.