When he first read the script for Justified, Timothy Olyphant knew there were “so many opportunities for drama, comedy, violence and some very subtle insights. I felt, I get the joke. And so I trusted that I could tell the joke. Give me the ball and I can run with it.”
Run with it he does. But in the most low-key, laconic unexpected way, making Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens both deliberate and dangerous. And if the lawman exudes confidence, so does Olyphant, who seems even more at home in this role, than he did as Sheriff Seth Bullock in the iconic HBO series, Deadwood.
Born in Honolulu, and raised in Modesto, California, Olyphant was a champion swimmer at USC before making a splash with films like Go. To play Raylan, he read and reread Leonard, watched movies based on his books, and met with real-life Marshals. And inspired by Desdwood’s creator - executive producer David Milch, the actor is readier than ever to go with his gut. “Now when somebody yells, ‘Action!’, it’s just playtime.”
Married to his college sweetheart for twenty years and a father of three, this actor takes the long view. “At the end of the day, part of it is just being cool,” he says of the role. “There’s an effortlessness in Elmore’s work, a delicateness, a pitter-pat, a little dance. But underneath all the charm, people are about to kill each other.”