“Someone should rob this place blind”: Taylor Sheridan’s Unlikely Inspiration for $37M Movie Changed His Fortune Forever That Made Yellowstone Possible

For one of Taylor Sheridan's crime dramas, the inspiration surprisingly came from a unique aspect of Texas.

Taylor Sheridan In Yellowstone

SUMMARY

  • Before Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan was finding his way as a writer and a filmmaker.
  • Sheridan write the 2016 Hell or High Water and he was inspired by Texas' Archer City.
  • The city was quiet and had no momentum going, birthing the idea of bank robbers entering the city to rob it.
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Taylor Sheridan is now a big-name filmmaker creating some of the most acclaimed projects for Paramount. The multi-talented writer/director is responsible for the creation of the network’s most successful show Yellowstone. He has also created various spinoffs and other intriguing shows that have become hits for the streamer.

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Taylor Sheridan's cowboy in Hell or High Water
In addition to being the writer of Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan played an anonymous cowboy in the film

Before Yellowstone, Sheridan was relatively unknown in the industry and was trying to make a name in the industry. His first script Sicario directed by Denis Villeneuve turned out to be a hit and he had another script for another crime drama Hell or High Water. The Texas-based story had to be rooted in the state’s history and the problems plaguing people, with one city’s environment becoming the film’s inspiration.

Taylor Sheridan Got Inspired For Hell or High Water From Archer City’s Deserted Atmosphere

The Howard brothers are desperate
Chris Pine and Ben Foster in Hell or High Water

Back in 2014-15, Taylor Sheridan was not the big-shot filmmaker/ writer that he is today. He had two scripts Sicario and Hell or High Water written. Both films were hits at the box office with the latter being an indie film directed by David Mackenzie. The 2016 film starred Chris Pine and Ben Foster, brothers on the run from Texas rangers led by Jeff Bridges.

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The story of the film is set in West Texas and Sheridan was inspired by many problems and financial dilemmas that people faced in those areas. As a Texan himself, he had a vast knowledge of the economic decline in Texas cities. For the idea of bank robbers in the film, Sheridan got the inspiration from experiencing the state of Archer City during one of his visits.

In an interview with Indiewire, Sheridan explained how Archer City felt like a ghost town where robbers would have a field day robbing it blind without any interruptions. This intriguing idea became the lynchpin for the story of Hell or High Water. Sheridan said,

“The towns physically felt abandoned,” he said. ‘Someone should rob this place blind,’ I said. That’s where I got the idea for the bank robbers.”

Like Sicario, Hell or High Water became a surprise hit grossing $37 million against a $12 million production budget (via Box Office Mojo). Sheridan made his directorial debut with Wind River, which also was a hit. these steady and successful projects slowly built up Sheridan’s resume, and thus led to Paramount backing him up for his passion project that became Yellowstone.

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David Mackenzie Felt In Love With Hell or Hell Water Script In His First Read

Marcus and Toby having a conversation
Hell or High Water earned Taylor Sheridan an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay

Director David Mackenzie came on board to direct Hell or High Water starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. The crime drama was written by Taylor Sheridan and showed the essence of the Midwest through the guise of a thrilling chase between two bank robbers and a Texas Ranger. For Mackenzie, it was love at first sight when he read the script for the first time.

In an interview with Collider, Mackenzie praised Sheridan’s script and how it shows the heart and poetic environment of the West through its characters, while also being a captivating crime drama. The director said,

“Well — I read Taylor’s script. It was love at first sight. I had a very immediate reaction upon reading it. [Hell or High Water] had this gritty bank robbery stuff and then the warmth of the characters and then the poetic space of the Midwest and the issues. The movie feels like it’s about a big subject and then it’s a bank robbery movie and now it’s a film about the heart of the West. I just loved that journey.” 

As of 2024, Sheridan has many projects in development. In addition to finishing off Yellowstone, the second seasons of 1923 and Tulsa King are in development. He is also currently on another new crime show called Lawman for Paramount+. Considering these ventures, Sheridan may arguably be the busiest person in the industry.

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Fans can watch Hell or High Water on Paramount+. 

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Written by Rahul Thokchom

Articles Published: 926

Rahul Thokchom is a content writer at Fandomwire who is passionate about covering the world of pop culture and entertainment. He has a Masters Degree in English that contributes to the richness and creativity in his works.