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.