Writer and director Taylor Sheridan was so committed to his new contemporary TV western, Yellowstone, that he often took to helming the action on its Montana set by horseback.
“He comes riding over a hill, driving bulls toward me, rides up and says, Im Taylor,” series regular Josh Lucas recalled of their first meeting at the Paramount Network shows premiere Monday night on the studios lot in Los Angeles. “Hes a man of the earth, while being an artist in Hollywood—a rare or incredibly impossible combination.”
Then again, the shows star might give Sheridan a run in the Hollywood cowboy-poet department. “Those mountains [are] like the ocean, every day they look different,” said Kevin Costner of the five-month location shoot. “Its a feast for the eye, really.”
“Where most of the crew stays, which is about a mile away from the set, I found this place right on a stream, and I just moved my trailer there,” Costner said. “And even though Im not near all the food and all the stuff, thats where I go in the morning, start a fire . . .”
The show, which debuts June 20, centers on the fictional Dutton family, owners of the largest ranch in the country, dealing with land developers, clashes with an Indian reservation, and a complicated family dynamic. Sheridan, who earned Oscar nominations for his screenplays for Sicario and Hell or High Water, directed each of its 10 episodes. (“I treated it like a movie,” Sheridan said.) Costner stars as patriarch John Dutton. Castmates Danny Huston, Wes Bentley, and Kelly Reilly were also on hand Monday, as was standout Luke Grimes, who plays Cory—the youngest of the siblings and an ex-Navy SEAL living on the reservation with his son and Native American wife, played by Kelsey Asbille. He seemed somewhat less assured than some of his co-workers about the shoots requirements.
“Ill tell you, any time youre on a horse trying to act, its a crapshoot,” he said of his experience on set. “You never know whats going to happen. Wild animals arent very good actors. They have a mind of their own. Theres a lot of fun memories trying to hit marks and say lines on the back of a beast.”
An after-party followed where guests, including Anna Kendrick, could bid for various items from the show in a silent auction that supported two charities, the Barcid Foundation and the National Indigenous Womens Resource Center. “[There are] saddles, which all of you of course need, spurs,” joked Sheridan earlier as he introduced the series. “So, what I recommend is you go to the open bar for about an hour, and then you bid, but not before.”
Asbille made clear that the set wasnt all campfires and Mountain West stoicism. The cast also allowed for some 21st-century luxuries—Costner included.
“You know how iMessage has GIFs? Wes Bentley and I showed Kevin GIFs of himself. It was kind of amazing. There were a lot of Robin Hood GIFs.”
“He chuckled,” she said. “And then wanted to see more.”
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