Last week I got to talk to Taylor Sheridan for his new film Wind River. The film marks directorial debut of the Oscar-nominated screenwriter (Hell or High Water) and follows a wildlife officer (Jeremy Renner) teaming up with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate a murder on a Native American reservation. It’s a powerful conclusion to Sheridan’s “frontier trilogy”, and I definitely recommend checking it out when it comes to a theater near you. Click here for my full review from Sundance.
During my conversation with Sheridan, we talked about how the frontier trilogy (which also includes Sicario and Hell or High Water) ties together thematically, if there’s a particular order to watch them in, what he learned about Native American reservations from his time living on one, and much more. We also talked about his script for the upcoming Sicario sequel Soldado and how he’s planning to tackle a TV series by writing and directing all the episodes for Yellowstone.
Check out the full interview below. Wind River is now in limited release.
TAYLOR SHERIDAN: I mean, it’s not that I wanted to. It’s that I was … With this specific subject matter I was very worried that, you know, someone else would have a different vision for it and slight alterations to very specific things in here would alter the course of what I was trying to convey, and, you know, in order to write this story I had to … I had given my word to some people in Indian country, you know, it took a lot of trust to let me tell the story and I just couldn’t run the risk of someone altering that vision.
Is that something that you’ve sort of run into in the past where, you know, you went in with the script and there were just a lot of changes to it?
SHERIDAN: No. I’ve been very lucky, especially with the original screenplays I’ve written. You know, when you write an original piece by yourself, you know, with no one attached yet and then you being attaching be it a Director, or Producers, and then start piecing it together, everyone is really coming aboard, you know, to create the world that you imagined as opposed to an assignment where you’re writing essentially for a Director or a studio, where you know they’re going to want their opinion heard, and with a Director certainly rightfully so. But it’s distinct when it’s an original piece. But still, everyone is going to have, you know, it’s going through a filter and it’s a different filter and so, you know, I’ve been very lucky with Sicario and Hell or High Water but I just didn’t, I couldn’t trust I would get that lucky a third time. And it was a natural evolution. I wanted to tell the story a really specific way and directing it’s the only way to make sure that happens.