The ‘Tulsa King’ Showrunner Got Real About Why It’s So Funny To Drop Stallone’s Gangster Where ‘It Might As Well Be Mars’

Sylvester Stallone’s actually starring in a TV series, which is already wild but more so when one considers that the show’s called Tulsa King. The show was largely filmed in Tulsa as well as Oklahoma City, and Sly got real about the hellishly hot summer that he endured this year. Still, he’s excited about having never worked harder (in his words), which is quite something from the guy who played John Rambo and Rocky Balboa. The Paramount+ series’ showrunner, Terence Winter, comes by the gig honestly, given that this is a mob story, and he hails from Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos-land.

Tulsa King sprang from he mind of Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan, who had his star in mind when he wrote the lead role. And Stallone is certainly a big gangster boss in an atypical smallish world for a gangster. His character, Dwight “The General” Manfredi, kept his head down for 25 years in prison before emerging and being thanked for his troubles by being shipped to the land of the Tulsa Driller. Winter spoke to Entertainment Weekly about why this city became the setting for this show:

“It was originally set in Kansas City, which felt too big, too cosmopolitan. They already have an active mob presence in Kansas City. So I wanted somewhere that you’d never heard an Italian mafia family have anything to do with. And there probably could have been other states, but Oklahoma also just felt so American. I mean, obviously the musical comes to mind. It just feels like the heart of America. We said, ‘What is the most unlikely place you might put this character?’ And certainly Tulsa is; it might as well be Mars.”

“Tulsa: it might as well be Mars” might not be the slogan favored by city officials, but locals might take a shining to it. From there, Winter went into more detail about how Stallone’s now hanging around “rodeo riders” with scenes that happen “at actual ranches,” which is obviously amusing to see from a former action king like Stallone. Given that the vast majority of Tulsans don’t hang at ranches or ride at rodeos, this should be a treat for all while watching Stallone’s mob boss try to build an empire in a city with more churches than he’s probably ever seen in his life.

Tulsa King also stars Vincent Piazza, Andrea Savage, Martin Starr, Max Casella, and Garrett Hedlund. You can watch it on Paramount+ beginning on November 13.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)