How This Clint Eastwood Movie Put Luke Grimes on ‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan’s Radar

by Taylor Cunningham

Luke Grimes’ role in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper led him right to a spot in Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone. And it’s thanks to both Sheridan’s love of Eastwood and the obvious similarities between Grimes’ two famous characters.

In Eastwood’s movie, which is based on the true story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle’s four tours in Iraq, Grimes plays Marc Lee, the first Seal to die during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And in Yellowstone, the actor portrays Kayce Dutton, a former Seal with ties to both the Dutton Ranch and the Broken Rock Reservation.

Both Lee and Dutton share a deep desire to protect their family, whether it’s a family by blood or country. And, of course, they’re also united by their background in the Navy’s most distinct branch. So when Sheridan watched Luke Grimes in the Clint Eastwood classic, he immediately pegged him as a frontrunner for Kayce. Or, at least, that’s what the actor thinks may have happened.

“I heard that he’d seen that film with [co-creator] John [Linson] while he was writing [Yellowstone], which was a couple of years before it actually ended up going. So just the correlation between Kayce being a Navy SEAL and then seeing me do that on American Sniper, I think, clued him in that maybe I could play a role like that. And thank God,” Grimes told The Hollywood Reporter in April.

” I don’t know if that helped my chances or got me to the top of the list or what,” he admitted. “But I do know that he saw that movie and that he’s a big fan of Clint Eastwood, as am I.”

‘Yellowstone’ Co-Creator John Linson Personally Called Luke Grimes Years After Starring in a Clint Eastwood Classic

Though Luke Grimes starred in the Clint Eastwood film in 2014, it wasn’t until 2017 that he got a call about Yellowstone.

The actor remembers exactly where he was when co-creator John Linson gave him a call about auditioning for Kayce Dutton, too. He was driving from a job in Acton, CA, and Linson said, “Got this Taylor Sheridan script.”

“I was like, “Well, you have me right there. Whatever it is, I want to be in it,”’ Grimes remembered telling him. “I’d just seen Hell or High Water. And I obviously loved Sicario, so I was already excited.”

Grimes got the script and “immediately” got to work figuring out what to do to land the part.

“Kayce is my favorite character I’ve ever read,” he gushed. “But every character was amazing in that script. And I had already started having visions of being on horseback every day for work.”

Luke Grimes filmed an audition and sent it off “hoping and praying” that Taylor Sheridan would choose him from the many hopefuls. And, of course, we know how the story ends.

“Then I got a call from Taylor a couple of days later and he said, “We need to get you riding a horse immediately,” Grimes finished. “And that was that.”