When we think of Taylor Sheridan, his rugged portrayal of Deputy Chief David Hale in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ might spring to mind. Yet, it was this very role that led Sheridan to a pivotal crossroads in his career. Taylor Sheridan in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ was a significant chapter, but as Sheridan himself said,
I was a fair actor, but that’s all I was ever going to be, signaling a desire for more creative fulfillment.
From Acting To Crafting Worlds
The transition from acting to screenwriting wasn’t just a leap—it was a metamorphosis for Sheridan. As he ventured into the realm of screenwriting, he found his true calling. It began with the pilot for ‘Mayor of Kingstown’ in 2011, and soon after, he realized that screenwriting was where his passion truly lay. His journey into this new field was marked by an unquenched thirst for storytelling and a quest for creative freedom that acting couldn’t satisfy. He remarked,
This volume of work is not sustainable for a long period of time, but it’s an opportunity to tell stories the way I want to tell them with a creative freedom that just doesn’t exist in this space, reflecting on his newfound path.
A Breakout Screenwriting Star
Sheridan’s first major success as a screenwriter came with ‘Sicario’ in 2015. The film’s intense storytelling and gripping performances earned him a nomination for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay. The crime thriller, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro, marked Sheridan’s emergence as a formidable talent in the industry.
A String of Successes
Following ‘Sicario’, Sheridan’s script for ‘Hell or High Water’ brought him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His ability to weave compelling narratives continued with ‘Wind River’, where Jeremy Renner delivered an Awards-worthy performance, thanks in no small part to Sheridan’s powerful script. This period marked Sheridan’s steady rise as a screenwriter whose works resonated deeply with audiences and critics alike.
The Birth of Yellowstone
In 2018, Sheridan co-created ‘Yellowstone’ with John Linson, starring Kevin Costner in his first television role as Montana ranch owner John Dutton. The show quickly became the #1 series on TV, captivating 11.6 million viewers with its modern Western drama flair and strong supporting cast. This success not only solidified Sheridan’s reputation as a creator but also had a profound impact on contemporary Western storytelling.
A Growing Universe
The ‘Yellowstone’ universe expanded with prequels like ‘1883’, and there are plans for future projects that promise to further explore this rich narrative landscape. The franchise model has proven successful in driving audiences to Paramount+ for spin-offs and other series created by Sheridan. With an eye towards global hits and their potential extensions, Paramount has tapped into an audience eager for more content rooted in the Yellowstone world. The franchise’s reach even extends into consumer products, showcasing remarkable growth and financial success tied to the series.