Taylor Sheridan isn’t one for big Hollywood shindigs.
On Friday night while Paramount+ presented the world premiere of the newest installment of the Sheridan universe — the Yellowstone prequel 1923 starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren — the Oscar-nominated creator was miles away doing what his close collaborators say he does best: working.
“He’s in a hotel room in Las Vegas cutting future episodes of this show right now,” confirmed 101 Studios CEO David Glasser, executive producer of Sheridan shows like 1923, Yellowstone, 1883, Tulsa King, Mayor of Kingstown and more. “Taylor is one of those people that, at the end of the day, is really good in his element. He loves being on the ranch, living the ranch life and writing — that’s where he’s most comfortable. It’s his cathartic way of doing everything, and when he’s in that zone, he’s great.”
With his ever-growing slate, no one could fault Sheridan for not showing up, and with star power like Ford and Mirren, he may not have been necessary to sell the show to the press that was gathered under a tented structure on a rainy Friday evening in the heart of Hollywood. Also, in his absence, his 1923 family was more than happy to gush about their boss by explaining what makes his creations so special, shows that have struck a chord with viewers by becoming record-setting ratings hits.
Paramount+ will find out if 1923 can do the same when it debuts Dec. 18. It’s the next installment of the Dutton family origin story, casting Ford as Jacob Dutton and Mirren as Cara Dutton in a series that explores the early 20th century when pandemics, historic drought, the end of Prohibition and the Great Depression all plague the mountain West. Marley Shelton, Michelle Randolph, James Badge Dale, Brian Geraghty, Darren Mann, Aminah Nieves, Jerome Flynn, Sebastian Roché, Tim DeKay, Julia Schlaepfer, Jennifer Ehle and Timothy Dalton round out the cast of the MTV Entertainment Studios, 101 Studios and Bosque Ranch production.
On the gold carpet at Friday night’s premiere, The Hollywood Reporter asked Ford, Mirren and select cast members to share their experiences of working with Sheridan and what it’s like to step foot in his universe.
“He’s an incredible horseman. He’s a genuine athlete, and that’s something you might not expect to find in such a talented writer and intellectual thinker.” — Harrison Ford
“He’s fabulously hands-off. He presents the script, and it’s so extraordinary that you don’t want to change a word. You want to do it exactly as it’s written because it’s written with incredible precision but without being labored. To be able to be a part of a franchise in a world that is so singular on American television is very exciting. There’s nothing else quite like it.” — Helen Mirren
“Taylor’s reputation precedes him. He’s such a talented and brilliant writer, director and producer, and what he’s created with these characters in this world is so expansive and epic. How he manages to flesh out this many characters and tell a balanced story is mind-boggling. He invited us all to go to Cowboy Camp before we started shooting, while we were in pre-production. All of us castmembers were invited to Montana for two weeks to ride horses, and we learned how to drive and rope cattle. I had to learn how to drive a buggy. Not only did he want us to familiarize ourselves with ranch life as a way to let it seep into our pores but also as a way for us to bond with one another and feel like we were a part of something special — and we are.” — Marley Shelton
“I expected someone totally different when I met him. He told me great stories of his time as an actor, about the process and how he hired some of the younger actors on the show by giving them a break over some really big-name actors. I love that because we all need that break. I got it 15 or 20 years ago and a few of the actors on the show got that from him. I thought that was great and wonderful. Because he’s an actor, he’s really empathetic to actors. He is this tough cowboy, but underneath all of that, he really empathizes. I think he casts really well, and he does not care what you have done, for the most part. He casts the people who are right for the role. When you show up to work, everyone raises the bar. He creates that, and it starts from him, but he also is very welcoming and gives you the tools you need to get there.” — Brian Geraghty
“I got a text from Taylor that said, ‘I’m getting the band back together, do you wanna come and play with us?’ I thought it was so cute that he texted that, and of course, I said yes. Tell me when and where — let’s do it. First of all, he really has an incredible gift for understanding and knowing great talent. He also has a great point of view. Taylor is a great writer. He creates amazing characters, and because he is such a great leader, that becomes inspirational for all the department heads and actors. He also has a very specific point of view and allows us to collaborate and create with him as well, which is so amazing. It’s the best kind of relationship to have. It’s a great family to be a part of.” — costume designer Janie Bryant (1883)
“He’s such a talented writer and the way that he writes his characters, he gives them such depth and such unique storylines, no matter how many different situations are going on at once. Every character is so uniquely themselves and that’s really hard to do as a writer, especially for the amount of shows that he’s writing for.” — Michelle Randolph
“You can’t stop reading his work. When we got the scripts, I couldn’t put it down. That’s the first time I’ve ever had an experience like that, where I opened up a script and just could not put it down. As hard as some of the scenes were, I kept going and going and going. I could read what Taylor Sheridan writes forever.” — Leenah Robinson
“He’s an actor himself so he has a lot of experience acting and writing and rewriting scripts and twisting and turning lines to make his characters believable. When he writes, he knows exactly how a character like me — captain of a little ship — talks and acts compared to the other guys; a wealthy man talks differently than a poor man. He writes very, very much like the Coen brothers and [Quentin Tarantino]. Characters spar and they talk when they need to talk. It was very comfortable to be on set because it’s like shooting a great movie. We didn’t have to hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry. We had time. That’s rare for TV, but this trailblazer, as he has been, knows how to create, and if it has to cost a little more, that’s fine because the result will be much, much better.” — Peter Stormare
“Funny enough, I had no idea about Yellowstone or Taylor Sheridan until I read the script but I knew instantly I needed to do this. I couldn’t stop crying when I auditioned because it’s an honor to tell our stories. I’m so blessed because we don’t have a lot of Indigenous representation and to be able to make sure that everything was correct by working with a [consultant] and speaking with my family and other experts. It’s our job to tell our stories and do it in such a way that our youth can feel safe and the elders can feel like their voices are being heard. Taylor allowed that by telling the stories.” — Aminah Nieves