Aside from the Paramount Network drama Yellowstone completing a third season as cable TV’s most watched show, the drama received its first Emmy nomination, for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program.
The MTV Entertainment Studios-produced series stars Kevin Costner and is written by Taylor Sheridan and has the benefit of spectacular outdoor vistas in Montana. But the responsibility to create the look of the sets falls to production designer Carla White, set decorator Carly Curry and art director Yvonne Boudreaux, who all joined the series’ panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees awards-season event.
“Shooting in Montana and the backdrop, we couldn’t be in a better location,” said Boudreaux. “The show is about the struggle for land, and having this enormous ranch and holding onto it, and we are lucky to be in one of the most beautiful places in Montana…being able to have those moments where the sun comes up, we experience that every day, working at the ranch and having that landscape be the backdrop for all of our sets, is really the best.”
Curry, who with her husband owns a ranch of their own, credits Sheridan’s cowboy know-how for the realistic feel of cowboy hangouts, including the bunkhouse. The secret weapon is the number of real cowboys Sheridan puts in the cast, who are helpful giving advice.
“We don’t do fake on Yellowstone, and the bunkhouse is everyone’s favorite set,” she said. “Forrie Smith, who plays Lloyd in our show, he is the real deal, a cowboy who lived that life. When we started putting our details into this, I had a pretty good sense of how cowboys live because I live with one. But talking to Forrie, he was able to give us a lot of little details you wouldn’t think of. Like the bottle of Tylenol by his bed, for his arthritis, the snuff cans that are all over the place, the Louis L’Amour paperbacks. When Taylor walked in for the first time, he was kind of blown away. He only had a few scenes written for that, but once he saw what was there, he brought it. He said, ‘I definitely need more scenes in the bunkhouse.’
Said Boudreaux: “That’s why the show is so good. Taylor Sheridan knows what he’s writing about.”
Yellowstone returns for a fourth season in November, and a spinoff and prequel are in the works.
Check out the panel video above.