Cary White interview: ‘Yellowstone’ production designer
“I was sitting here minding my own business and the art director sitting next to me said, ‘you will never guess what happened! We’ve just been nominated for an Emmy!’ I was like, ‘come on, that’s not right,'” an incredulous Cary White jokes about his surprise production design bid for “Yellowstone.”
It’s the first ever nomination for the hit show and his third career nom, decades after his first two, for “Buffalo Girls” in 1995 and “Lonesome Dove” in 1989. “You know, I think it may be a lifetime achievement sort of deal they’re doing here, I’m not sure,” he smiles. Watch our exclusive video interview with White above.
Paramount Network’s hit neo-Western, created by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”), centers on a powerful Montana ranching family under constant threat by politicians and developers. It stars Oscar winner Kevin Costner as a tough-as-nails family patriarch keeping his family’s legacy alive by any means necessary, and it co-stars Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser and Gil Birmingham.
“Yellowstone” has become a huge hit for Paramount, with its viewership surging 214.8 percent in time-shifted viewing for its third season, which concluded a year ago with 5.16 million live viewers. That made it the most-watched scripted cable series of 2020, up from the 2.8 million that tuned in for its sophomore finale in 2019 (which was still impressive as the show only trailed “The Walking Dead” as the second most-viewed cable series of that year). The show was unsurprisingly renewed for a fourth season and is expected to premiere this fall.
Despite its impressive commercial success, “Yellowstone” has inexplicably sailed under Emmy’s radar so far, which makes White’s nomination for Best Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program all the more special. He shares the nomination with collaborators Yvonne Boudreaux and Carla Curry.
White is proud of the nomination not only because he gets to represent the show at the Emmys, but also the Western genre, which he holds dear. “You know they’ve written the obituary for the Western so many times and it’s not dead by a long shot,” he declares. “It is part of our culture, the mythology of the Western with good guys and bad guys and wide open spaces. It appeals to people, and this is a modern western but it’s still the same thing. We’re still doing good guys and bad guys.”