Monday, July 12, 2010

Male on Monday : : Timothy Olyphant

Anne McAllister is sad that her World Cup watching month is over. So she's grateful to have a this week's Male on Monday to focus on!

Ads are supposed to grab attention. That's their job. Mostly, in my experience, they fall short.

But the ads for FX's new TV series, Justified, last March definitely grabbed me -- to the extent that last month I wrote my Must Watch Friday piece about it.

I can't tell you now what precisely it was that made me vow to tune in on Tuesday nights.

But of the many things that kept me riveted the next thirteen weeks -- the story line, the characters, the setting, heck, even the main title theme music by Gangstagrass (which is up for an Emmy, by the way) -- the one that I kept coming back for week after week after week was Timothy Olyphant who plays Deputy US Marshal, Raylan Givens.

I didn't know him.

I don't get HBO, so I hadn't seen him in Deadwood where he played tough, honorable, inwardly seething Sheriff Seth Bullock.

I hadn't watched him early on in Scream 2. Or in Go or in Catch and Release or in Hitman or most of the other films he's been in. I did see Live Free or Die Hard -- but I didn't see it for Tim.

I'm going back to have another look.

I don't know what he brought to all those films, but I know what he brought to Justified -- a sly sense of humor, an implacable stare, a hard hard edge, a bare hint of vulnerability and, above all, a commitment to honor and courage, regardless of how high the odds were against him.

I know it was written into the character. But a lot of actors couldn't have played it believably.

Timothy Olyphant does.

He isn't big on 'research' by his own admission. He is an 'actor' and so, to play a drug dealer, he doesn't feel compelled to immerse himself in the culture. He 'acts.'

Works for me. It seems healthier, somehow.

But, yes, he has read the Elmore Leonard stories his character comes from. And yes, he does get involved in decisions about the series.

In fact he was instrumental in the effort to keep Walton Goggins's character alive at the end of the first episode (he'd died in the Leonard story) and thus provide Givens's character with Boyd Crowder as a foil for the rest of the season.

It is clear then that he doesn't just 'come to work' when he 'acts,' but brings an understanding to what makes the story come alive and works to make it the best possible production.

Timothy Olyphant was born in Hawaii in May, 1968. His family moved to Modesto, California before he started school. His early successes were primarily in the swimming pool.

He swam competitively from the age of 6, qualified to compete in national swim meets in high school and continued at the University of Southern California.

He was a US National Finalist in the 200m individual medley. His major, however, had nothing to do with swimming. It was in Fine Arts.

But it wasn't until he took an elective acting course at UC Irvine to complete some credit hours for his degree that he got involved in theater, and became interested in pursuing a career in that field.

After graduation from USC, he decided to head to New York where he studied for two years at the distinguished William Esper Studio. He began acting off-Broadway in 1995 and received the Theater World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance for his role in The Monogamist.

Other stage roles followed, but then he returned to California and began working in television and film. He has done a wide ariety of roles since, and, from the comments he's made about them, the main things that seem to appeal are their ability to challenge him and to be fun.

He had quite a bit of fun during the life of the Los Angeles Indie radio station, 103.1 when he served as the sports reporter for Joe Escalante's every Monday through Friday.

“I was a big fan of that station," he said during a TV interview while he was still doing it. "It’s one of the great radio stations, certainly here in LA. I had friends in common, I went in to do some publicity for ‘Deadwood’ and I thought, boy I’d love to do something on the show, and the next day I called in to sports, and it’s been 7 months ago or so.”

You can watch him discussing it in the interview, as well as doing an impromptu reporting job on a bit of the National Hockey League All Star game.

If you watched the clip, you can tell that Tim Olyphant is a man who enjoys having a good time. He also seems to enjoy having a family life.

Married since 1991 to Alexis Knief, he is the father of three children, a son and two daughters.

About acting and family life, Tim says, "My wife and I have lived everywhere from a little tiny beach town to New York and L.A. and we look back and realize, 'you know, we were always pretty happy' so you just create your own community. I've been really lucky that way."

My kind of guy. Not just a Male on Monday, but one worth keeping around for the rest of the week as well.

I'm looking forward to the next season of Justified. In the meantime have a lot of Tim's backlist to catch up on. And in case I decide I'm not into Scream 2 or The Hitman, I've already pre-ordered the Justified Season One DVD.

Anne is busy trying to come to terms with a hero who insists he isn't who she thought he was. She can be heard muttering, "Now he tells me," more often than she'd like to.

She's heading off to California to do some on-the-ground research in Santa Barbara for his book because he does agree that at least part of it is set there. And part of it begins at the royal wedding you'll find in The Virgin's Proposition, a UK Mills & Boon Modern
in May and a US Harlequin Presents in September.


  1. Oh My! I thought he was yummy in Catch and Release, odd in Hitman, but in Justified - he is downright sexy!
    I too can't wait for season 2.

  2. Marcie, yes, I think he can be all over the map in the roles he chooses. But Raylan Givens is definitely one for the ages. I will check out Catch and Release.

    Hurry up, Season Two!


  3. Fine arts, sports reporting, a family man and he looks like that - multitasking with a vengeance.
    Enjoy Santa Barbara, Anne!

  4. Ah, Christina, I see you are quick to grasp the essentials!

    I'm sure I'll enjoy Santa Barbara. I went to school there. It will be 'going home.'

  5. Every time I see certain pictures of Tim I think of Barry Watson. There's a pic here that shows what I mean

    The more I hear about Justified the more I want to watch it. I wonder if I have it On Demand....

    Hitman was different and Catch and Release was okay. Did you see him in Dreamcatcher with Damian Lewis, Anne?

  6. First off Anne a great big thank you for your Must-Watch Friday piece which had me and my hubby discovering Justified on a minor cable channel in the UK and which we have been watching avidly ever since..

    And a great big YUM to Timothy Olyphant (especially as the gorgeous, taciturn and smoulderingly sexy Raylan Givens!!). I'm hooked... And so glad to hear he's in his forties!! Finally, a hunk that's not way too young for me!

  7. Donna, I checked the link, and I see what you mean. It's the smile, I think. I don't know Barry Watson. What am I missing?

    If you can get Justified on Demand, you might want to take a look. It's pretty gritty, but the acting in marvelous, the characters great, and it certainly kept me coming back!

    I haven't seen Dreamcatcher. I'll check it out. Also a Damian Lewis fan, so it shouldn't be a hardship!

  8. Heidi,
    I'm delighted that you took my Must-Watch Friday piece to heart and have been watching Justified -- and especially happy you don't feel I've steered you wrong.

    Glad Tim is old enough for you! He's a bit young for me, but I can still appreciate! And do.

  9. My dear Anne, thank you for providing me with my "Gimmee Timmy" fix!!! I was hooked on "Justified" from the very first promo ad--then the series hit me like a freight train! That first season finale will stay with me for a long time! I think that Timothy Olyphant has really come into his own after building a long, praise-worthy acting career. As for Raylan, Tim personifies the character. He wears the hat (like nobody's business), the hat doesn't wear him. Raylan is a decent man with an unrepentant ogre of a father. Raylan's better qualities and all-too-human weaknesses are portrayed in equal proportions. He is unquestionably a hero who is his own worst enemy. Isn't that irresistibly delicious?!?!

  10. Virginia, You've hit the nail on the head, as usual. If ever there was a man made for a role, it's Tim and Raylan Givens. Well, Walton Goggins makes a pretty damn fine Boyd Crowder too. We're blessed to get such talent and such writing all coming together on Tuesday nights.

    I'd agree that Raylan is his own worst enemy if I didn't think Arlo, his dad, was possibly worse just by being so callous and clueless at the same time he's mesmerizing.

    Whoever cast this drama should get an Emmy!

  11. Anne, "Justified" is a perfect example of a show with not only a great lead actor, but also a fine ensemble cast. I think the women of "Justified" are also terrific! Particularly "Aunt Helen" with her shotgun!

    There are several other favorite shows of mine that have a super lead actor and an outstanding supporting cast: "Without a Trace"--Anthony LaPaglia; "Monk"--Tony Shaloub; and "CSI"--William L. Petersen. You can catch all of these great TV shows, and many more, in syndication.

  12. Thanks for the suggestions, Virginia. I am not much of a TV watcher as a rule, but I have to admit that I've been hooked by Burn Notice, White Collar and The Mentalist. With them as well as Justified, I don't have enough time for my life!

    And don't get me started on NCIS, which I check out from the library because I have a couple of hundred or so of them to see!

  13. HUGE NCIS fan.

    Can you believe I haven't watched Castle? I'm trying to tape epis this summer so I can get a handle on it before season 2.

  14. Er, I think we're going on season 3 of Castle, Donna. So you have a lot of catching up to do. Rather like me and the SEVEN seasons of NCIS!

  15. Oh MAN! Really?

    And guess what - we don't get the channel that has Justified. Instead of being on HBO Canada etc. it's on a Superchannel that we don't get. Grrr!

  16. Ah, too bad. Order the DVD. It's worth it. Or you can probably order the downloads from amazon, at least you can in the US. Not sure about Canada. Check it out.

  17. YUM. Can anyone tell me which movie or show the picture of him laying down next to the woman is from?

  18. ^^Never mind, it was Coastlines!!

  19. Season 3 of Justified starts tonight and I cannot wait!! Tim O is the sexiest thing on tv!! That's one tall drink of Kentucky whiskey right there! *meow*