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Taylor Sheridan Waited to Prove Himself as a Storyteller Before Directing ‘Wind River’

After a long journey to the big screen, “Wind River” made its way to The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. Writer-director Taylor Sheridan was joined at the premiere by Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Jon Bernthal, and Gil Birmingham.

The Weinstein Company’s “Wind River” made its debut earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews, and eventually made its way to Cannes, where Sheridan won best director in the Un Certain Regard sidebar. In his first directorial effort in six years — after he helmed his first film: the little-known 2011 microbudget indie-horror “Vile” — Sheridan describes his process as a “constant evolution.”

“Once I finished ‘Sicario,’ I knew I wanted to follow it up with ‘Hell or High Water,’” Sheridan said. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for, and have been patient with, until I had proven myself as a storyteller and [been] trusted with the responsibility.”

The film follows novice FBI agent Jane Banner (Olsen) and veteran U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Cory Lambert (Renner) as they investigate a murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation during the frigid Wyoming winter.

In preparation for her role, Olsen completed training in martial arts, self-defense, and shooting, months before filming began. Although the instruction readied her for filming in harsh weather conditions, she said it was the strength of her character that allowed her to push through the hardest of times.

“I really admire [Jane’s] tenacity and her belief in her own abilities and bravery,” Olsen said. “I’m someone who is a fear-based person, so it’s a quality that I wish I had more of.”

Renner, who also starred with Olsen in “Avengers: Infinity War,” also felt a special connection to his character. He said most of the training he applied to the role was a result of his own life experience.

“This role was special to me because it was very personal,” Renner stated. “[Cory] is a type of person I aspire to be and try to be. It requires a lot of strength, dealing with tragedy and loss, and still be compassionate and thoughtful and giving. He’s a protector without being aggressive.”

“Wind River” hits theaters nationwide on Aug. 4.

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