Taylor Sheridan on wining and dining, freedom in writing, and selling ‘1923’ to Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford

Taylor Sheridan
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Taylor Sheridan is at the heart and soul of the Yellowstone Cinematic Universe, and yes, even existing as television series, the cinematic universe is the only way to describe the epicness that exists within each chapter of the Dutton family story. Fans who first tuned into Yellowstone had no idea what a journey they should soon be embarking on, but Sheridan knew all along.

In a three-part chat with Deadline, Sheridan is opening up about everything Dutton. He first speaks about 1923, the confusion between the new series and what would have been a second season of 1883, and how it felt to wine and dine Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford. When asked if it was hard to bring Mirren and Ford back for season two, as they originally signed on for only one round with the Duttons — Sheridan says it wasn’t work at all.

“They were excited. They only signed on originally for one season. They were so eager to continue it…Harrison made a comment at one point, he goes, ‘Taylor I think I’m making the best thing I’ve made in 20 years.’ And my response to him was, ‘what the f**k did you make 20 years ago as good as this? What was that? I missed that one. What was it?’”

Sheridan speaks with the confidence and power of someone who, well, is Taylor Sheridan. He has written an entire cinematic universe within just three television shows so far, and has already mapped out a future for enough spinoffs to feed viewers for years to come. The Dutton family story — no, legacy — is growing, and confidence is something he deserves to wear with pride.

When the interviewer at Deadline told Sheridan he speaks with a sense of autonomy; he doesn’t shy away from the notion.

“No one has had the freedom I’ve had since Robert Evans ran Paramount. Bobby Evans had made movies before he became the head of the studio and so he understood how to turn them loose. If you trust them, trust them, and turn them loose. And under his regime, Paramount made some of the best movies they’d ever made, some of the best movies ever made.”

Sheridan knows a thing or two about “the best ever made,” and with everything from record-breaking viewership stats to an intoxicating storyline, fans can’t walk away from the Dutton family once they’ve been introduced; we don’t want to leave Sheridan’s realm.

So how did he first bring Mirren and Ford into the universe that no one wants to escape? Easy, a friendly chat and a glass (or a bottle) of wine.

“Truth? I called him and said come down to my ranch and he flew down. I did the same with Helen. I said, ‘we’re going to do this thing together.’ He goes, ‘can I read a script?’ I said, ‘you can when it’s written, but it ain’t written yet, and you got to commit to it now. I need to know who I’m writing for. I’m done wondering who I’m writing for, and I have to go try to chase the person I had in my mind, and I can’t get the person because they’re doing some fu*king Netflix show. I don’t do that shit anymore. So, are you going to do it, or are you going to watch Chris Cooper do the next great thing? What do you want to do?’ I poured about two bottles of wine down him. He said yes. I got him on the plane as fast as I could, closed the deal, and said, send me the next one. Then came Helen, and the same thing. ‘Have a glass of wine…’”

We’ve never wanted to share a glass of wine with Sheridan more than we do now. Of course, it was more about the story than the wine — that fact isn’t lost on anyone, but it’s worth noting that Sheridan’s writing’s power is almost intoxicating once you get a taste of it. The heart of the characters he writes about, the way that they never exist in strictly one moral area, and how they can make us fall in love and leave us devastated in the same episode is a nod to everyone at Camp Dutton and the man himself.