Hollywood multi-hyphenate, Taylor Sheridan, has opened up about why he walked away from his role on Sons of Anarchy after season 3. Sons of Anarchy was a hit series created by Kurt Sutter that ran for seven seasons on FX. The show followed an outlaw biker gang known as the Sons of Anarchy, focusing on Jax Teller as he sought to balance family with his illegal endeavors. The show featured Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Kim Coates, and Ron Perlman, with Sheridan appearing throughout the first three seasons.
Sheridan portrayed Deputy Chief David Hale, a member of local law enforcement who was out to foil the Sons of Anarchy’s numerous illegal dealings. While Hale was technically a good guy in the eyes of his profession, Sons of Anarchy tended to frame him as an antagonist, even pitting him against Chief Wayne Unser, played by Dayton Callie, who was often helping the outlaw gang. Sheridan appeared in 21 episodes before Hale was killed off in the third season. At the time, Sons of Anarchy’s creator stated that Hale’s death had been planned in the event of failed contract negotiations with Sheridan. Now, Sheridan has shared details on why they couldn’t reach an agreement.
While speaking recently with Deadline about his new show 1883, Sheridan discussed the “unfair wage” that “was less than virtually every other person” on Sons of Anarchy, saying it was “not enough for me to quit my second job.” However, when Sheridan’s attorney asked for more money, he was told Sheridan wouldn’t be getting a raise because “he’s not worth more.” At that point, Sheridan decided to quit Sons of Anarchy, but his reasoning was no longer about money and more about the disrespect he suffered from the executives wielding power behind the scenes. Check out Sheridan’s comments below:
“At that time, they were offering me what I thought was a very unfair wage. It was less than virtually every other person on the show, and not enough for me to quit my second job. So, the business affairs attorney, who I won’t name, here’s what he told my attorney who said, ‘look, there’s kids on the Cartoon Network making more than you’re offering this guy.’ The guy goes, ‘I know and you’re right that he probably deserves to make more, but we’re not going to pay him more because guess what, he’s not worth more. That’s what he’s worth. There’s 50 of him. He is 11 on the call sheet. That’s what that guy is, and that’s all he’s ever going to be.’ And that’s really when I quit. It wasn’t so much over money. It was so much more that that’s how the business saw me.”
“I decided right there that I didn’t want to be 11 on the call sheet for the rest of my life. Now, I am happily 11 on the call sheet on Yellowstone, but I don’t think anybody wants to watch me do anything on television for an hour because the business told me they don’t. They told me I’m supposed to story tell behind the camera.”
Following his exit from Sons of Anarchy, Sheridan would ultimately have the last laugh as he began writing and directing to critical acclaim. The first film Sheridan wrote was Sicario, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin. After the success of Sicario, Sheridan penned Hell or High Water, a crime drama about bank-robbing brothers, which saw him nominated for Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Sheridan then wrote and directed Wind River, a film about the search for a missing woman on a Native American reservation, which again saw critics and audiences praising his work.
Sheridan then set his sights on TV, creating the hit show Yellowstone, which is now in its fourth season. In 2021, Sheridan has debuted two new shows that he created, Mayor of Kingstown and 1883, which serves as a prequel series to Yellowstone. Sheridan also released a movie this year that he wrote and directed called Those Who Wish Me Dead with Angelina Jolie. Since stepping away from Sons of Anarchy, Sheridan has taken on a few acting roles, though he’s made a statement with his work behind the camera, where he is now an acclaimed and in-demand talent. So while Sons of Anarchy may not have worked out for Sheridan, his career is stronger than ever.