‘Yellowstone’ Boss Taylor Sheridan Reveals Sylvester Stallone’s Reaction to Reading ‘Tulsa King’ Script

by Suzanne Halliburton

It took only a few days for Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan to get a thumbs up from Sylvester Stallone to star in the new series Tulsa King. And Paramount+ quickly agreed to the show, too.

That’s the kind of creative gravitas Sheridan owns in the Hollywood community. He conjures up a character and a show, then convinces major Hollywood stars to come along for the innovative ride.

Taylor Sheridan enticed Kevin Costner to star in Yellowstone back in 2018. Now, he’s lured Stallone. So how’d he do it? Sheridan came up with the idea of Tulsa King, wrote the script for the pilot, then got the Rocky star on board in a week’s time.

The initial idea of the series came up during the first chunk of the COVID quarantine. There was plenty of time to brainstorm with a producer.

“Everyone’s kind of going stir-crazy,” Sheridan told Variety. “He was asking me about ideas. I said, ‘Look, all you need, in my opinion, to have an interesting TV show is take a really fascinating character and drop them in a world that we don’t know anything about.’”

So who was this fascinating character? That’s Dwight “The General” Manfredi. He was a capo, or mid-level boss, in a New York mob, but spent 25 years in prison. Once he served his time, his bosses sent him to Tulsa, Oklahoma. When you think of Tulsa, you might assume the city is all about the energy sector. How might a New York mobster thrive in the Midwest?

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan talked Sylvester Stallone into starring in new series “Tulsa King.” (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Like He Got Costner to Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan Worked His Magic on Stallone for Tulsa King

Sheridan told Variety that he picked up the phone and called Stallone to chat about the new series. He said Stallone was antsy as well and welcome to the idea of a new character to play. Sheridan said Stallone gave him the thumbs up a day after he read the script. That’s a quick turnaround.

Terence Winter is the executive producer, writer and showrunner for Tulsa King. You’ll probably recognize his work from The Sopranos.

Dwight builds his own team in Tulsa, guys who would be loyal to him and not necessarily the family. It’s all against an Oklahoma backdrop, tweaking a classic formula about the mob.

“’Tulsa King’ is a very interesting story,” Stallone said in an earlier interview. “He’s a lifetime gangster. He took the fall for his bosses and went to prison for 25 years, kept his mouth shut, and now he comes out. Next thing you know, he’s in Tulsa.”

Other cast members are compelling, too. Joining Stallone are Max Casella, Domenick Lombardozzi, Vincent Piazza and Jay Will. All but Will, a Hollywood newcomer, have experience portraying members of the mob.

Casella, Lombardozzi and Piazza all played major characters on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Casella and Piazza also were on The Sopranos. Plus, Lombardozzi played Fat Tony Salerno in The Irishman. Now imagine what this crew can do in Tulsa. They started filming on location last month.

Counting Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan now is responsible for nine series.