An interview with Sylvester Stallone included this question: Surely no project before “Tulsa King” brought you to Oklahoma?
“The opportunity of playing a cowboy has never presented itself,” Stallone said. “The fact of a gangster coming to Oklahoma is really remote, but that’s what makes it special. Oklahoma is a special place. Very unique.”
Season one of “Tulsa King,” a series that premiered Nov. 13 on Paramount+, was shot in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. How was the experience of filming in Oklahoma? Cast members responded.
Andrea Savage: “I loved Oklahoma. We were shooting Oklahoma City for Tulsa. Sorry, Tulsa. I didn’t know what to expect, really. I’m from L.A. I think I had some preconceived notions. I thought Oklahoma City was fantastic. The people were amazing. Fantastic restaurants. Beautiful museums. Art. Culture. It’s a lot more progressive and young than I imagined this city in Oklahoma would be, and I really enjoyed myself other than experiencing apparently the hottest summer that ever happened there, which was hell.”
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Vincent Piazza: “I really enjoyed it. I had driven through Oklahoma City once before, but getting to shoot in Oklahoma and getting kind of intimate with your state to some degree over the course of five months was amazing. Incredible people. Very warm — not just the heat of consecutive 100-degree days throughout the summer. But you have an incredible thriving food scene that I didn’t expect. There’s this huge Asian-American community, and I was seeing the most delicious Vietnamese food and Laotian food and of course some of the greatest steaks I have ever put inside my belly. It was just a really, really great experience.”
Dana Delaney: “I actually enjoyed Oklahoma. I thought it was gorgeous.”
Max Casella: “It’s really pretty, some parts of it. I liked shooting at the ranch a lot. It was nice being around horses and being outside. It can be 110 in the shade some days, but it was nice to be shooting there, I found.”
Delaney: “I had a lot of time walking around. We were in Oklahoma City mostly. I love the museums. There are tons of great museums there. Every day I could find some new museum to go to. I thought the arts scene was really great and surprising. And food! There were some really interesting food places. I feel like it’s the whole creative, artistic side of Oklahoma that people don’t talk about.”
Casella: “I love a good steak, and you can certainly get those there. I was at Mahogany (Prime Steakhouse) a few times a week. My cholesterol is probably still probably elevated. Getting out of Oklahoma City was really beautiful, all the ranches and everything. If you go far out, it’s gorgeous.”
Jay Will: “It was different. For me, it was good to be away from the city a little bit and in the countryside. I have never worked out there before. To have the space and to take inspiration from the people out there, the lifestyle, you are in the core. You are in the town where the story is set so you have more to grab from.”
Garrett Hedlund: “I am from the Midwest through and through, so it was great to be shooting in Oklahoma. I had spent some time there before. It’s kind of like what Jay said about the relatability (of the characters on the show) that is going to attract people. Sly is the fish out of water on this one. His character, Dwight, comes from New York. Gangster background. Prison life. Everything like that. He comes and he is introduced to this whole scene of locals trying to figure out how he can build his empire, so you’ve got your weed shops. You have got your bars. You have got your small town sort of feel, and everybody is going to say ‘Oh, that’s me. That’s me. That’s me.’ … It’s making Oklahoma shine for all its glory. I loved it. It felt like home on the set every day.”