“They refer to it as ‘the conservative show’ or ‘the Republican show’ or ‘the red-state Game of Thrones,’ ” he told the outlet.
“And I just sit back laughing. I’m like, ‘Really?’ The show’s talking about the displacement of Native Americans and the way Native American women were treated and about corporate greed and the gentrification of the West, and land-grabbing. That’s a red-state show?”
Later in the interview, the “Yellowstone” creator said he aims for “responsible storytelling” that’s influenced by Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film “Unforgiven,” which he said changed the nature of good guys and bad guys in Westerns.
Sheridan said Eastwood “let the sheriff be a bully and the hero be this drunken, vicious killer.” He “shattered the myth of the American Western.”
He continued, “So when I stepped into that world, I wanted there to be real consequences. I wanted to never, ever shy away from, ‘This was the price.’”
This wasn’t the first time Sheridan rejected the idea that the show was made for conservatives.
“People perceive all my stuff as red state, and it’s the most ridiculous thing,” he told The New York Times in 2019. “If you truly look at this show or ‘Wind River’ or ‘Sicario,’ these are pretty wildly progressive notions. The people who are calling it a red-state show have probably never watched it.”
“Yellowstone” has extraordinary viewership numbers, yet has never won a major award, which has caused some critics to speculate that it’s because of bias against conservatism. It’s often compared to the HBO drama series “Succession,” which won 10 Emmys despite not having anywhere near the audience of “Yellowstone.”
The stars don’t seem very concerned about winning at awards shows, however, as long as fans keep watching. Actor Wes Bentley, who plays Jamie Dutton in the series, told The Daily Mail recently, “I personally don’t think awards validate anything. It’s an honor, as they say, but as far as it saying whether we are doing something good or not, that’s not what that is.”
“Hollywood is a fickle beast,” actor Gil Birmingham agreed. “I think that it’s more important that we have captured the hearts and minds of the audience and our fans.”