‘Special Ops: Lioness’ Star Dave Annable On How He Landed Taylor Sheridan Drama After Dying On ‘Yellowstone’: “There Might Have Been Some Version Of An IOU”

fans of yellowstone Those still mourning the surprising death of Lee Dutton in the pilot episode of the Paramount Network drama should be pleased to see Taylor Sheridan built to kill Dave Anablecharacter of Annabel now plays doctor-husband zoe saldana in Sheridan̵7;s latest series Special Ops: LionessWhich premieres Sunday on Paramount+.

Here, Annable remembers the day she fought (in vain) to survive yellowstone, and how her character, Neil, is much more than just the poor fellow who has to watch over Saldana’s kids while she’s fighting a covert battle in the CIA. (Note: This interview was done before the actors staged a protest).

Deadline we still haven’t gotten over how you died in the first episode yellowstone, Did Taylor give you an IOU at the end of this, and that’s why we’re here?

Dave Anable This is a great question. We used to coach together a long time ago, and we had lost touch for a few years when I read the script for Yellowstone. And I say, ‘Yo, that’s amazing.’ Lee was the son who was supposed to take over the ranch, the best herdsman. And I said, ‘I’m from New York. I have ridden a horse twice in my life.’ So I actually forwarded it, not knowing if Taylor would even know I read it or anything. And then my wife gets the call because she’s the one who introduced me to Taylor, and it’s from Taylor. And he’s like, ‘I heard your guy just came on my show. what is he thinking about? Tell him to put his ass on tape tomorrow.’ I said, okay, come on, let’s do this. I went to cowboy camp for three or four months of Yellowstone and the experience of being a cowboy. And I fell in love with everything. I liked the artist very much. I love living in Montana and Utah. So when we were shooting my death scene, on the second or third take I said, ‘I’m fine. This is just makeup. Like, you don’t have to kill me.’ I actually started the whole Save Dave Enable campaign, not knowing what happened and the show became the number one show on the planet. I’m really grateful for that experience and the funny thing is Sherni existed a few years ago and then went away and then came back and Taylor told me he wanted me to play Neil. When it came back Taylor asked me if I was still interested. And I was like, oh my god, This is amazing. There may have been some version of the IOU out there, you know, he looks bad. But I think I am the right person for the role. And you know, Taylor has really proven over and over again that he knows what he’s doing when he puts together a crew and a cast. I’m over the moon I am very grateful.

deadline how was the time you shot too walker for the cw,

annable The world works in mysterious ways. I was doing Walker, but I actually booked a pilot for NBC and was in the middle of a softball game, a doubleheader, and checked my phone in between. I came to know that the pilot was not moving. I was very low. Correct? He didn’t last due to being in business for a long time and having another pilot. I have two children. It was actually the next morning when I heard from Taylor. I was at a real low point within 24 hours. That’s the blessing and the curse of being an actor.

What did Deadline Teller tell you about the character? Are you the poor man who is at home with the kids?

annable My wife is out and about and I’m home with the kids, but at the same time, I’m a brilliant surgical oncologist saving lives. We know his schedule is weird. So we go through the whole world of marriage and work that leads to this interesting relationship of love and sacrifice. Throughout the series we will see Neil struggling more and more with all his responsibilities. It’s really interesting to have this marriage with Zoe’s character because she really can’t talk about her work and what she’s going through. In response, I think Neil has a hard time talking openly about his work and it’s actually the lack of communication that becomes troubling.

There was an interesting scene in the Deadline premiere episode that sounds like you have an open marriage. did i hear that right?

annable Yes. This was one of the lines that stood out clearly when I was reading it. Neil says, ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ And it becomes this very layered moment of, ‘Wow, I didn’t see that happening.’ I mean, do they have a deal? How was that conversation? Whose idea was it? It will be really fun to find out throughout the series what this marriage looks like and whether it is working for them.

Deadline Did you know that your wife works for the CIA?

annable I think he knows this because the story shows that they have been together for a long time and they have nothing but love for each other. Like we are really soul mates, but this interesting mix of passion, career and nationalism. So I think she must know that she is into some things that she is not allowed to talk about. But you know, it also kind of brings in another layer, oh my god my wife is potentially in danger every day and i have these two girls that i’m taking care of, And how is that? Is she going to come home from this? There is a moment in the series where he realizes that he has been beaten up and is not able to talk about it.

Deadline Are we going to see how your daughters are being adversely affected by the whole situation?

annable Yes. Without giving away too much, Taylor does this wonderful job of showing all these different perspectives of reality, a 16-year-old girl looking up to her parents and maybe not having the mother figure she wants, and two kids trying to rebuild the relationship and relationship with the father.

Deadline Have you all finished producing?

annable Yes. This is quite funny. I remember when I got the show, they were talking about filming logistics and how we were going to be filming in Mallorca and Morocco and Baltimore. Dave? You’ll be in Baltimore. Neil is clearly not part of the CIA, which is the exciting aspect of the story. But in the second episode, you actually follow my character to work and see a much heavier story, the stuff that Neil has to deal with on a daily basis before he comes home and becomes a father. I’ve had the privilege of playing the Doctor a few times on a few different shows, but this one feels really special.

Deadline Did you see Taylor on set? did you have some good time with taylor?

annable I did not do it. Actually he had made a joke. He says, ‘If you see me on set in Baltimore, it means things aren’t going well.’ Oh. I said, ‘Oh, okay, great. it’s good to know.’ One of the beautiful things about Taylor was that he was an actor and he knew exactly what we were feeling and thinking. He’s really been able to help guide us through all those questions in the beginning. He is always available if I have any questions about work. I mean, he’s got 270 shows running and he’s obviously pretty busy, but I couldn’t have asked for a better boss, I’ll tell you that.

How are you feeling about the prospect of a deadline strike?

annable I think there are many justifications for this. I am part of the union and I would be happy to support the union. There are many crew members and people who are out of work who are living paycheck to paycheck at the moment. It would be great to get back to work and get this industry moving again. That being said, it needs updating. Time changes, things change. Obviously our whole business is changing. In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, it’s like night and day how much has changed. This needs to be reflected in all deals.