For fans of “Justified,” the wait for the show’s return to the small screen has been long but well worth it. The Timothy Olyphant-led neo-western aired in 2015, but the new limited series “Justified: City Primeval” has been hailed as a fitting revival of the Elmore Leonard property. While Olyphant’s return as Raylan Givens was the star attraction, new characters including Boyd Holbrook’s Clement Mansell have gone a long way in expanding the show’s mythology.
In a new conversation with Michael Shannon posted in Interview magazine, Holbrook recalled that he was offered the role by longtime “Justified” fan Quentin Tarantino, who had been considering directing an episode of the limited series. While Tarantino eventually left the project, Holbrook warmed to the material and stuck with it.
“Quentin Tarantino calls and says, ‘Hey, I want you to play the character of Clement Mansell.’ And then Quentin didn’t make it, but I stayed anyway,” Holbrook said. “Loved every minute of it, man. It worked like it was supposed to. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that show.
However, Holbrook explained that she was unfamiliar with the source material and was initially hesitant because she feared her Kentucky hometown would be treated as the butt of jokes. But once he started watching the show, he said his fears were quickly allayed.
“I was really shy to watch it because I’m from Harlan County, one county over,” she said. “So I was always like, ‘Dude, that’s like making fun of us hillbillies.’ I thought the show wasn’t going to strike the right tone, but it’s great.
Holbrook isn’t the only one glad he decided to play the role. Critics praised his portrayal in the limited series, with many noting that the new characters help fill the void left by Walton Goggins’ departure.
“‘Justified: City Primeval’ continues the series’ great tradition of introducing exciting new characters who feel part of the story from the very beginning,” wrote IndieWire’s Ben Travers in his review. “Holbrook gives Clement an eerie awareness; he is never surprised by how far he is willing to go, and rarely are his actions beyond his control.