In a recent interview, Yellowstone star Forrie J. Smith revealed how he landed the role of Lloyd on the hit Paramount series. While Lloyd is a fan-favorite on the show, his inclusion as part of the cast didn’t stem from a great audition. In fact, it sort of happened by accident.
Things could’ve looked very different on Yellowstone without Forrie J. Smith as Lloyd. A chance encounter with series creator Taylor Sheridan on the set of a Western movie is to thank for Smith’s character. While speaking from his home, Smith joined host Joe Leydon from Cowboys & Indians magazine to talk about his life and acting career.
Smith explained that he was working on the 2016 Western Hell or High Water. Sheridan wrote the movie and was working as a cowboy on the film as well. Smith was working on the set as a wrangler with the livestock used during the film. For those that didn’t realize, Smith doesn’t just portray a cowboy on Yellowstone, he’s lived that lifestyle his whole life. So when the livestock got a bit rowdy on set, Smith did what he does best and that got the attention of Sheridan.
“I had my own personal good horses on the set. I carry a 50-foot rope and a pack of whip,” Yellowstone‘s Lloyd explained during the interview. “The livestock after a couple takes, they get kinda sour going back and forth in front of camera. I got to use every loop i knew – my underhand, my overhand. And had to crack the whip on a few of ’em, and Taylor was watching all of this.”
Sheridan saw what Smith can do when working with livestock, and knew he was the real deal. The director, screenwriter, and actor grew up on a ranch in Texas and knows an authentic cowboy when he sees it. Sheridan knew he wanted Smith to be part of Yellowstone, but the future Lloyd actor was skeptical. He’d heard that before.
‘Yellowstone’ Actor Recalls Taylor Sheridan Hiring Him for New Show
As Forrie J. Smith’s story continued about getting the role of Lloyd on Yellowstone, he admitted he thought Sheridan was full of it at first. Smith had worked as a wrangler on multiple shows and movies, and even had some bit roles. Other higher ups had approached him about further on-camera roles, but none of them followed through with their promises.
After an incident on set between Smith and the Hell or High Water livestock coordinator, Sheridan intervened. The livestock coordinator wanted Smith fired, but Taylor Sheridan took Smith’s side in the argument. Not only did Smith stay on, but he was promised a role on Sheridan’s new show.
“The next day he told me, ‘I’m writing this Western, and you’re going to have a part in it.’ I said, ‘Yea, I’ve heard that BS before.’ ‘Not from me you haven’t,’ [Sheridan said]. You’re right, you’re right,” Smith said of getting hired to play Lloyd on Yellowstone.
“I’m sure you’ve had the experience of where you met somebody, and when you shake hands, it’s like old friends. You know like, hey, where you been? And that’s the way it was with me and Taylor,” Smith added. “When we shook hands we were like old buddies. That little incident [on the Hell of High Water set], he stood up for me. He was a man of his word.”
Around six months later, Sheridan sent Smith a text and told him to pack his bags. Yellowstone was picked up by Paramount, and Smith had officially earned the role of Lloyd.