News & Opinion | July 1, 2018 5:00 am

This Generation’s Greatest Western Storyteller: Taylor Sheridan

Once struggling actor has become an auteur exploring the saga of the modern American West.

Taylor Sheridan
Director Taylor Sheridan attends the "Wind River" photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals. (Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Seven years ago, Taylor Sheridan was 41, and living as a struggling actor in a grimy Hollywood apartment with his wife, Nicole, and their son, Gus. But now, not only is he a writer-director, but he is acclaimed as his generation’s best Western storyteller. He is the creative force behind Sicario, Hell or High Water, and Wind River, a thematic trilogy exploring the new American West, writes Esquire. Two new films of his will be released this summer: Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29) and the premiere of Yellowstone (June 20), a ten-hour drama made for the Paramount Network. Sheridan is hoping Yellowstone will deliver the “John Ford experience to television, now that even my cousin who works two jobs has a giant flat-screen,” he said, according to Esquire. 

In order to make this series, Paramount gave complete creative freedom and a $90 million budget to a guy who had no previous experience developing and running a TV show. Sheridan wrote and directed every episode, and for him, the stakes could not be higher. But those around him aren’t nervous, though.

“The people that Taylor admires from a film standpoint,” Kevin Costner, who stars in Yellowstone, told Esquire, “he has a real chance to be better than all of them.”