• Interview,  Justified: City Primeval,  News

    Collider: Timothy Olyphant on Acting with Daughter Vivian Olyphant

    This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

    Collider: I loved the original series and thought it ended perfectly. Because of that, when I heard this was happening, my first question was, why? Did you have the same reaction? Did you think you were done with this character, or were you open to bringing him back? What was it about this particular story that appealed to you?

    TIMOTHY OLYPHANT: It depends on when we’re talking about. For a few years, I thought that was certainly it. But somewhere along the line that, time goes by and things change. I will say that, even when I talked to Graham [Yost] about feeling like we should wrap it up, I remember saying then, “If we want to entertain the idea of bringing the character back or the show back, every couple of years, then count me in.” I just thought, perhaps foolishly, that the nature of just trying to keep it going another season and trying to keep all those characters afloat was becoming taxing on where those characters would want to go. Rather than overstaying your welcome, it’s better to go out early. I’ll go watch James Bond every couple of years and see how he’s changed in the slightest way or adapted to a new time. That had great appeal.

    Justified has had some of my favorite villains on television because the characters are always interesting and so layered, in so many ways. Was it fun to find that new dynamic and to explore the very odd situation that he finds himself in with Clement Mansell?

    OLYPHANT: It felt, on one hand, very familiar and like our show. On the other hand, it felt like an entirely different animal. On one hand, it felt like it was a no-brainer. On the other hand, it felt like it could be a huge disaster. There’s always a fun place to work from.

    Does Raylan feel like he knows who this guy is, or is he underestimating him?

    OLYPHANT: Raylan is one of those guys who just loves the job and it probably keeps them from dealing with other stuff, so it really doesn’t matter, to some degree. It’s what he does. It’s what he’s comfortable with. It keeps him from dealing with the things that have become difficult.

    Does having his daughter there and under threat really change things for him?

    OLYPHANT: Yeah. Like with everything, you’re looking for the thing that makes it personal and that certainly ups the ante.

    What was it like to be on set, exploring acting with your daughter, Vivian?

    OLYPHANT: It was a total dream. It was wonderful, in many, many, many ways. Some of those ways were very unexpected. I just really enjoyed working with her.

    Was there anything uniquely challenging about it?

    OLYPHANT: Yeah, of course there is. You’re in the workplace and you’re a parent, and those things don’t always work well together. Sometimes, when in doubt, you’ve gotta choose to be the parent, and make sure that she’s okay, that she’s comfortable, and that she’s not overwhelmed. Those are things that come to mind, first and foremost. That atmosphere, as fun as it is, there’s a lot of pressure. Those are things I don’t consider that much, when I’m working with other people. Oftentimes, you fall prey to trying to get the scene, trying to get the shot, and trying to get what you want out of the actor. But when it’s your kid, you’re playing with a whole other deck.

    Did you guys have conversations with each other about all of this before she took this on?

    OLYPHANT: Well, my wife and I had those conversations first, before we even brought up the opportunity to her. We talked about, “Do we want to tell Vivian that there’s this opportunity that she might be able to do?” That was the first step. And then, when she and I both felt like it was a good idea, we brought it up to Viv and said, “There’s this opportunity, should you want to try to audition and get it.” You have a parental conversation because you’re saying, “It’s not gonna be up to me. It’s gonna be up to others. There’s a chance you don’t get it. There’s a good chance you don’t get it. I just wanna make sure you’re okay with that. I want you to entertain that possibility, before you say that you wanna do it. Once she auditioned, and it was a really good audition, then it started rolling. The guys and the network made the decision. I was not part of those conversations. I said, “I’m gonna tap out on these conversations and let you guys have them because it’s uncomfortable already.” Even when I brought up the idea that my daughter might audition for it, I said it out loud, at first, to them, before I even brought up to Vivian, to make sure it didn’t sound totally crazy, and let them digest it. Even though we weren’t face to face when I told them, I know there was a lot of, “Oh, shit,” and eye rolls out of everybody. And then, once she got the job, we’re talking about a kid who, at one stage in her life, begged to go to tennis camp, and then, the night before, refused to go. You can’t help but wonder, “Is that kid the one that’s gonna come out?” It’s such an odd position to be in. But it wasn’t like that. It was the opposite. She was so clearly in the right place, and she was a really hard worker. It was a joy to work with her.

    Read more at Collider.