Who plays the bartender in Tulsa King? Meet Garrett Hedlund

Bruno Cooke November 21, 2022
Who plays the bartender in Tulsa King? Meet Garrett Hedlund
Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Vox Media


Sylvester Stallone stars as New York Mafia capo Dwight “The General” Manfredi in new TV crime drama Tulsa King, but who plays “wise and useful” bartender Mitch Keller?

Tulsa King marks Stallone’s first ever leading role in a scripted television series. 

“Mafia capo” refers to a person of a particular rank within the Mafia, both in the Sicilian Mafia and Italian-American Mafia. Its longer name is caporegime, or ‘capodecina.’ 

Capos, otherwise called “captains” or “skippers,” are below the don (boss) and street boss (underboss), in terms of the overall hierarchy of the Mafia family. But they sit above the so-called “soldiers” and associates.

Tulsa King | Official Trailer | Paramount+

Tulsa King | Official Trailer | Paramount+

Who plays bartender Mitch Keller in Tulsa King? Meet Garrett Hedlund

Born September 3, 1984, Garrett Hedlund is an American actor. Age 38, he’s been in the business for nearly two decades.

He’s from Roseau, Minnesota. Garrett’s father, Robert Martin Hedlund, is of Swedish descent; his mother is of Norwegian and German descent. 

His mother, Kristine Anne (née Yanish), named him, he told the Evening Standard Magazine in 2014. But his mother and father separated when he was just a toddler, and he lived with his wrestling coach father.

At the age of 14, Garrett Hedlund went to live with his mother in Scottsdale, Arizona, having craved a change from the rural isolation of Wannaska. He has two siblings, both older: Nathaniel and Amanda.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

What movies and TV shows has he been in?

Just months after graduating from Horizon High School, Hedlund upped sticks. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.

He made his feature film debut as Patroclus in Troy – Brad Pitt’s younger brother. So that might be where you recognise him from. It came out in 2004.

In the same year, he co-starred alongside Billy Bob Thornton, Amber Heard and Tim McGraw in sports drama Friday Night Lights. Then in 2005 he starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in Four Brothers. 

Since then, he’s landed roles in Eragon, Georgia Rule, Death Sentence, Tron: Legacy, Country Strong, On The Road, Inside Llewelyn Davis. And that only takes us up to 2013.

What year is Tulsa King set in and where is it filmed?

It seems to be set in the present day, although Sylvester Stallone’s character has spent 25 years behind bars, meaning there is a degree to which the titular Tulsa King’s mind is set in the past.

Filming locations for the series include South Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa; Tulsa international airport; the Mayo Hotel; the stone circle at the Center of the Universe; and Triangle coffee roasters. 

Hedlund told Collider that Tulsa King has “got grit, it’s got brass, it’s got a massive amount of integrity.”

Series creator Taylor Sheridan is on “a wonderful roll,” he added, “and it’s just the beginning, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Vox Media

What do Tulsa King fans make of Garrett Hedlund as bartender Mitch Keller?

One Twitter user, summarising the premise of Tulsa King, described the bartender Garrett Hedlund plays as “wise and useful.”

Another wrote that they can “confirm” that Garrett Hedlund’s voice is “exactly what you think it sounds like.”

And another, clearly a fan of the show, celebrated Tulsa King as “spectacular,” and added: “I may or may not be in love with Garrett Hedlund.”

His character is one of the first people Mafia capo Dwight Manfredi meets in Tulsa. Keller is a former pro bull rider. He and Dwight bond over time spent behind bars.

Meanwhile the official Tulsa King Twitter account wrote on the platform that Hedlund is “your new favorite bartender, Mitch Keller,” a few days before the first episode aired.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.