‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Reportedly Wrote First ‘Tulsa King’ Script in Less Than a Day

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Listening to Taylor Sheridan discuss his creations is awe-inspiring and a little intimidating. He talks about the intricate universes constructed in his mind and subsequently brought to life with an unnerving level of calm, in a matter-of-fact way as if they’ve always been in plain sight, he was just the only one to notice them.

If David Glasser is to be believed (and why would he lie?), this is because the mind of Taylor Sheridan is apparently an endless well of incredible ideas, the next one just waiting for the Yellowstone creator to bring it to the surface.

According to the Tulsa King producer, he and Sheridan were enjoying one of their many creative talks late one Friday night in 2021. Knowing the 1883 creator is always looking for new stars to work with, Glasser casually mentioned Rocky icon Sylvester Stallone. Glasser explained that, despite Stallone turning the tough guy persona into an art form, he’d never played a gangster – and he’d always wanted to.

One passing comment was all Taylor Sheridan needed to birth a new story, entirely separate from his beloved Yellowstone universe. “Taylor starts to spitball the idea of a fish out of water story,” Glasser told The Holywood Reporter. “Then, Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m., he goes, ‘Check your inbox’. There is a script he’s already written called Kansas City King and it’s incredible.”

In twelve-ish hours, assuming Taylor Sheridan got no sleep that night, the Yellowstone creator had a completed script, ready to pitch to his starring actor. Two days later, he and David Glasser were on the phone with Sylvester Stallone himself, painting a picture of how he would look and sound as Dwight “The General” Manfredi.

Taylor Sheridan Hires ‘Sopranos’ Producer for ‘Tulsa King’

With two award-winning producers and one of the biggest action stars in history on board for Tulsa King, Taylor Sheridan set out to find the perfect showrunner for his mafia drama. And, of course, who better than a producer from the king of mafia dramas, The Sopranos?

Sheridan and Glasser reached out to Terence Winter, a writer and executive producer for the history-making series. According to Winter, Taylor Sheridan met with him only once. He then handed over the reins and shifted focus back to his other projects. “Taylor said: ‘It’s your baby, I just have visitation rights,'” Winter recalled.

From there, Winter began to chisel the final product from Taylor Sheridan’s original idea. Both Winter and Sylvester Stallone agreed that this couldn’t simply be another Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire. No, this series needed to go deeper. It needed to go past mod drama cliches and bring in a few unexpected elements from the Western genre.

“In the original concept, Dwight was a thug,” Stallone said. “A tough, strong-arm guy. His name was like Tony or Sal – that kind of thing. Then we started adding things like: How do you get sentimentality in there? It’s about the journey. It’s the inability to be recognized or taken seriously, or about pride or hope. Those kinds of things.”

“This felt like a new way into familiar territory,” Winter added. “The genius of Taylor’s pilot is it’s a marriage of two genres: the Western and the gangster movie.”