In addition to writing, producing and directing, Taylor Sheridan is also an actor, having starred in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ and made appearances in ‘Yellowstone’ and ‘1883’. And those acting skills, according to actor LaMonica Garrett, are what set Sheridan apart from other showrunners.
“When you’re a writer, a producer, a director, a filmmaker, and you have that acting background, there’s a way to communicate with actors to reach them, and Taylor knows that language,” Garret told Looper. . “Taylor will never ask you to do anything he wouldn’t do. Even during cowboy camp [in preparation for ‘1883’], he set the tone for the work ethic. He was the first there, over 100 degrees. He wasn’t sitting in a cooling tent yelling at us to do certain things and go here and there. He was the first on horseback and he was arguing with us.”
An example of how this hands-on approach creates a desirable working environment for actors came during the filming of the first episode of “1883.” There’s a scene where Thomas and Shea (Sam Elliott) first meet James Dutton (Tim McGraw), who has just killed some bandits in a shootout. Thomas tells James not to take the horse or the bandits’ cronies will come after him, so he lets the horse run away. What happened next is what makes Sheridan so down to earth and beneficial to work with.
“When Taylor said ‘cut,’ there’s dozens of wranglers who could have gone for that horse,” Garrett said. “That horse took off. He hit the grass and left. Taylor jumped on his horse and got out as fast as I seen somebody riding a horse, and he tied that horse up and brought [it] back, then began to put in place the next plan. His hand is in everything. When you see that the main responsible for all of this has that kind of work ethic and cares about what’s going on in everything, it ripples through everyone. It set the tone for a good working environment.”
All 10 episodes of “1883” are now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.