Tulsa King stars Sylvester Stallone as Dwight “The General” Manfredi, a New York mob boss who is exiled to Tulsa, Oklahoma after serving a 25-year prison sentence. Once in his new position, “The General” assembles an unlikely crew and sets about building his own criminal empire. If that sounds like a story that could have been ripped from the headlines, you’re not alone. The success of Paramount+ has many fans wondering, “Is Tulsa King based on a true story?”
To put it simply, no. The premise for the show came directly from the mind of Taylor Sheridan, the creative force behind Yellowstone, 1923, 1883 and mayor of Kingstown. And the story behind the show’s creation is impressive.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Taylor wrote the pilot script in just one day. David Glasser, Taylor’s producing partner, explained that he told Taylor on a Friday that Sylvester Stallone had always wanted to play a gangster. David says, “Taylor starts spewing the fish out of water story idea for an hour. Then, Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm, he says, ‘Check your mailbox.’ There’s a script he’s already written called Kansas City King and it’s amazing.”
The following week, the duo pitched the script to Sylvester Stallone, who signed on alongside showrunner Terence Winter, the Emmy-winning writer behind The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. The show’s name was later changed to Tulsa King after Terrence decided Kansas City “didn’t feel remote enough”.
Sylvester Stallone himself had a hands-on role in creating the show. Terence told The Hollywood Reporter, “With Stallone, you’re going to have a writer, a director, a producer, an editor. He’s got big ideas and strong opinions about things, and he’s been doing that for a long time at the highest level possible. He’s also been in her skin for so long that she knows what works and she knows what’s good for her.”
Screenrant reports that the Tulsa King storyline is loosely inspired by the Inzerillo crime family of Palermo, Italy, who were exiled to New York City after a run-in with Salvatore Riina of the Sicilian Mafia. But the comparison stops there, and fans shouldn’t look for Tulsa King season 2 plot clues in the history of the Inzerillo family.
We’ll just have to wait and see what the creators of the show come up with! Tulsa King streams exclusively on Paramount+.