As Taylor Sheridan’s production universe expands across many networks, his latest, Mayor of Kingstown, premieres Sunday on Paramount+.
This new series from Sheridan and Hugh Dillon stars Jeremy Renner, Kyle Chandler, Dianne Wiest, Taylor Handley, and Aidan Gillen.
We had the chance to chat with Sheridan’s frequent collaborator and Mayor of Kingstown executive producer, David Glasser.
Hi David. This is Carissa. How are you?
Good. How are you doing?
Good. Thank you for chatting with me today.
Oh, thank you so much. It’s we’re out in the middle of Montana in the middle of a field. So coming back up to the house is a nice place to be for shooting Taylor’s next show, 1883, which is a spinoff of Yellowstone, a prequel.
Yep. Yep. It is. What is it about working with Taylor Sheridan that works for you?
You know, we’ve been together for a long time, and I’ll tell you it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been very lucky in my career to work with a lot of phenomenal filmmakers and writers, but this guy is, he’s a force of nature. I mean, there is nothing too tall, too big, too wide, for him to ask.
My job is easy right, I get to execute his vision, but he’s a force of nature. I’ll have a conversation with him on a Friday night about a big idea, and by Sunday or Monday, I’ll have that script on my desk.
And he’s somebody who sort of knows exactly what he wants; it has to come to him. And when he does, he’ll sit at that computer, and it will just pour out of him. And I think there are few writers out there that are at the level that he’s playing at right now.
So I can see into the next 24 or 36 months of all the shows we have for him. And it’s just spectacular, each one different, each one a different world. And I just absolutely love working with him.
He’s very serious about his execution. Authenticity is key. He will die on the hill over authenticity and making his shows real and authentic and not compromising. So that’s no easy task, but I love every minute of it.
Yellowstone has obviously been an off-the-charts hit. How will Mayor of Kingstown appeal to that particular audience?
Look, I think there’ll definitely be Yellowstone fans that will come over to Mayor of Kingstown. And then I think there will also be a whole new set of fans that probably see it from a completely different point of view of like this world really interests them.
So again, like I said, with everything he sort of does, it’s a different world. This is something that he had developed early on in his career and always wanted to make, and it was about sort of finding the right combination here.
It was obviously, teaming up with Jeremy again and Antoine Fuqua and sort of putting it together, but it’s a world, and he builds the world in a very authentic way with all of its bumps and bruises and gives you a really sort of clear perspective from all points of views. And I think that’s what’s so great about it.
So I think it’ll garner definitely part of the audience of Yellowstone and will garner an entirely new audience as well, too. People who haven’t maybe seen Yellowstone or Jeremy Renner fans, or sort of love this world, I think, could be very much attracted to this show.
You said that he had this in development for years. Do you know what his vision was behind the series?
Look, it was always the same, right? He always had the same vision. He had written the pilot; he and Hugh had cranked out the pilot.
Hugh Dillion is also part of our Yellowstone world, we’re sitting around, and they were sort of, in the days when they didn’t have much and came up with this idea, and Taylor found out the script. So we’ve always had a script we read.
We actually always had two scripts, believe it or not. And for three years, we would always be one of those conversations. We sat around and said, “Hey, should we go see how to make mayor?” And “How did we think about it? Where would it fit in the schedule?” And it sort of all came together in that perfect world.
But Taylor doesn’t do a synopsis or pitch an idea. He sits at a computer and writes a script, so that’s the incredible thing. So there’s not much to have to think about. He always knew he wanted to make this world. He was always fascinated with this world and knew that he could build a series around it.
So he had put out two scripts, and then the moment was right. Sort of came to him what the show would be, went out to only Jeremy because I think there are very few actors who could crush this type of role, and that’s how it came to be. And why do you think it’s a story that needs to be told now?
I mean, I think at the end of the day, it’s a very interesting look at a world, right in a world that just may be very timely to take a look at as well. I don’t think there was anything special with the timing of it. It was how it came together and where it fit into the schedule and all of that.
So, I think a lot of people act like, wow, this is sort of an interesting and incredible moment for this show. But it was sort of organically, like I said, something he had had on the show for years and wanted to make. And it was just a matter of it all coming together at the right moment in time.
And there are some pretty heavy political statements in the first two episodes. And why do you think it’s important to have those messages so early in the show? How does that set up who these people are in the world that they live in?
Well, so the interesting thing is I think he sets the tone for the journey you’re about to go on. Right? So one thing that Taylor does is he puts you in it from moment one. He doesn’t want to sit there and get a bunch of explanations.
He wants you to sort of get in, and, you know, you’re going 90 miles per hour with the windshield down the minute you get into one of his shows and sort of his world. So I think what he does in the beginning of this is he sort of sets the tone.
And like I said, I think a few minutes ago, he sort of lays it all out in a big world for you.
Again, bumps, bruises, positive, whether what you may agree, you may disagree, but it allows everybody at the end of the day to sort of make a point of view, right. To sort of have a thought process and a conversation around, okay, “do I agree? Do I disagree?”
When two people are sitting at a table, they’re going to sort of look at the show and think about it maybe from two different ways, but I think that’s so great about what he does at the end of the day.
And you mentioned that Jeremy Renner was always at the forefront of who you want for this character. And of course, then we have Hugh because, of course, he’s in it.
And how did the rest of the cast come together? Did you have any specifications for what you all wanted to see with the rest? Or did you just let the casting process do its thing?
No, no, no, never, never, never. Taylor’s world of casting is this spectacular process. He comes, as you know, from the acting world. And we sort of share that relationship to each character; every character is looked at, every character.
He’ll watch 20, 30 tapes we’ll discuss them, but no, it’s a very deep process. Dianne was hand-picked; he really goes into everything top to bottom and sort of figures out where to go.
For example, Emma Laird was literally somebody that he watched everything, and as soon as he, funny enough, got to her tape, he knew she was the one.
I mean, he immediately called and said, “Hey, I found who’s going to play this role.” And she is just a force of nature. She just shines on the screen. I think she’s going to end up being a very big star coming out of this.
Yeah. I like that she’s so fresh. And you also have the spinoffs upcoming, and you’re working on one of them now.
He’s prepping the other one. And then we’ve got about two or three new shows for next year. That’ll come into the fold. Kansas City will come into the fold. Lioness will come into the fold next year, all different worlds and new things for Taylor Sheridan universe.
And it’s been incredible, Viacom and now having Paramount+ as sort of the partners in this journey. Chris McCarthy [President and CEO, ViacomCBS] is just incredible with what he has allowed us to do here.
And with his team and Keith [Cox, President, Development of Production for Paramount Network and TV Land], it just allows us to make some of the greatest content ever.
And the short of it is Taylor has sort of a phrase he uses. We totally agree. We’re not making TV. We’re not; we won’t make TV. We make 10-hour movies. We shoot them like movies. We treat him like movies. We cast them like movies. And that’s how Taylor thinks. And that’s sort of his process.
Well, that’s good. I was going to ask what the through-line was with all of these different projects and how he makes them independent of each other yet still in the same universe. And that’s a perfect answer — they’re all independent. They’re all movies in that same world.
Yeah. Agree. 100% agree.
Mayor of Kingstown premieres on Paramount+ on Sunday, and you can catch more of this team’s incredible later that night on Paramount Network with the premiere of Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 3.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.