TV Prison-Drama Set in Fictitious Michigan Town Debuts Sunday November 14.

Mayor of Kingstown starring actors Jeremy Renner and Kyle Chandler

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Hugh Dillon had the idea for the new Paramount+ TV series [Mayor of Kingstown] – debuting Sunday, Nov. 14 – rattling around in his head for 10 years.

“It was Taylor Sheridan ([Yellowstone])and myself – that’s where it really exploded. Taylor is a force of nature; he was my acting coach… Instead of coaching me on an audition, it was about this: Building this world and these characters in our heads,” explained Dillon, the co-creator/executive producer of Kingstown, who also plays Ian Ferguson. 

Occurring in Michigan in the fictional town of Kingstown, the show follows the influential McLusky family, who oversees its 10 prisons. In Kingstown, incarceration is big business. The McLuskys, who are powerbrokers, attempt to restore order and justice to Kingstown and instead become swept up in its corruption. 

The show stars Jeremy Renner (who’s also appearing in Disney+’s [Hawkeye] Nov. 22) as Mike McLusky (the titular mayor), Kyle Chandler (Early Edition) as Mitch McLusky, and Dianne Weist (Parenthood) as Miriam McLusky, their mother. 

From L-R: Hugh Dillon, Hamish Allen-Hedley (back), and Jeremy Renner in a scene from Mayor of Kingstown. Photo by Emerson Miller.

A Dream Come True

For Dillon, working with Renner was a dream come true. “Jeremy came into this project and his work on this show is phenomenal,” he said. “Every emotional beat and nuance, the chemistry he brings to each scene with the other actors is incredible… It’s a combination of Taylor’s writing and Jeremy’s total commitment and grasp of that world and that material. The finished project is a testament to all those people who are committed. He’s just generous and thoughtful. He makes everyone in the scenes pop. It’s exciting to work with people like that.”

An Authentic American Voice

Dillon also spoke highly of Chandler and Wiest.  “We were lucky in our casting choices,” he said. “It’s the same thing with them. It’s effortless. It’s fun. It’s no longer work… When everyone’s on the same page and everything flies, it becomes exciting. It’s flawless.” 

The show is better served airing on a streaming service as opposed to a network, according to Dillon. “It allows us to do whatever we want. Taylor is uncompromising. To be in the Taylor-verse, that’s what I want. It’s the singularity of vision that’s uncompromising, that makes it what it is,” said Dillon. “I would put it this way: Taylor Sheridan is an authentic American voice who’s at the top of his game. For that reason alone, I would watch (this show). I know what he’s capable of.”


The promotional poster of Mayor of Kingstown. From L-R: Kyle Chandler, Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest. Photo by Emerson Miller.

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