Uber writer-producer Taylor Sheridan is excellent at keeping secrets, namely how Casey Dutton’s vision quest at the end of Season 4 of Yellowstone changes the character as he moves forward. But star Luke Grimes wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I should know a lot more when I read some of season five scripts,” Grimes told the crowd at Deadline’s Contenders TV event. “I didn’t know what that wolf was about. But I don’t ask Taylor. It’s fun to go on the ride like everybody else. He knows where the show is going and how it ends but he’s not going to tell us. That’s the joy. I get to go on the ride, too. I’m curious to see where he goes, and whether that experiences change him in any way.”
During his discussion onstage with moderator Mike Fleming, Grimes acknowledged that Sheridan sees a lot of The Godfather‘s Michael Corleone in Casey, the youngest Dutton family member who came home to the ranch after serving in the military and was expected to work in the family business. “He’s dealing with major PTSD from the stuff he had to do which you finally get a little taste of that end of Season 4. This guy has had to see a lot of things that most people never see,” said Grimes, who was joined on stage by Jefferson White (Jimmy). “He’s got a big heart, he loves his family and unfortunately he was forced to do some things he’s not proud of. Michael Corleone is a reference we talked about in Season 1. Casey is between a rock and a hard place. He has loyalty to his family and the legacy of him there. It’s something he could lead but he’s constantly having to amend that decision. As the seasons go on he has to pick a side.”
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White, meanwhile, reflected on his character’s huge arc on the Dutton ranch, from the day he arrived as a drug-addled newbie to an old pro who knows how to breed a horse. In many ways, Jimmy’s experience emulates White’s own in joining the Western drama. “I really had no idea what to expect. I never touched a horse in my life. I was sort of afraid and intimidated by the process. I am surrounded by these brilliant, brilliant cowboys, these performers who have a mythical quality to them. Jimmy is thrust into difficult new circumstances, which mirror my experience on the show. He learned how to masturbate a stallion.”
“Every time I tried to guess what was going to happen next, Taylor comes up with is so much better than what I could come up with,” White continued. “I’ve given up on guessing.”
The experience became so immersive, White said, that Sheridan actually allowed him and other cowhands to improvise the dialogue in the bunk house. “We get to riff and depart from the script. He knows how to take that improvisation and shape it on the day and in the editing room to create atmosphere he was writing toward.”
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