Timothy Olyphant won’t be hanging up his hat anytime soon. The ‘Justified: City Primeval’ star and executive producer took the stage after the series premiered at this year’s ATX Television Festival and told a raucous crowd that he would happily return for more seasons.
“Look, I’d introduce myself,” Olyphant said when asked if he’d be willing to return as Raylan Givens. “Every time we’ve done it, I’ve enjoyed it. So I would introduce myself.
At the start of the post-screening Q&A, Olyphant was asked if he had any trepidation about returning to such beloved roles as Raylan in “Justified” and Seth Bullock in “Deadwood.”
“No more than I would feel about any big role or big opportunity,” she said. “As for ‘Deadwood’ versus (‘Justified’), I never thought ‘Deadwood’ would happen. I honestly didn’t think I wanted that to happen, and it was such a great experience. Maybe he pushed (‘Justified: City Primeval’).”
“I connect with a lot of people on this show,” she continued. “I keep in touch with the writers. We always talk about wanting to do it. I just love them. I love the collaboration. I look forward to the opportunity to be in the room with them. They’re not necessarily eager for the opportunity to meet me in a room, but I love it. I would do it again and again.
To kick off the panel, producer Sarah Timberman read a statement from co-showrunners Michael Dinner and Dave Andron, who were at the Paramount Theater but did not attend the panel or any related interviews in support of the series.
“’City Primeval’ is a labor of love,” Timberman said, on behalf of the writers. “We got back together with people we like, working in the writers room. We have to be with Raylan in the next phase of his life. We have to play in the Elmore Leonard universe again. But due to the deadlock in the negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP, we cannot be with you to honor the actors and collaborators who are our dance partners. We are members and supporters of the WGA. Members deserve a new contract and a fair settlement, as do members of the DGA and SAG. We look forward to the near future when these issues are resolved.”
Soon after, Olyphant expressed his support for the WGA strike and especially “Justified” writers.
“I want to give a shout out to our writers,” Olyphant said. “I hope those assholes get everything they ask for. I was just (watching this projection) and counting laughs. The writers did it for me. All those laughs made me. There’s heart there, a lot of great stuff, and none of that would exist without a writer. If you tell a chat something, “Write season 9,” it’s going to suck.
“Justified: City Primeval” caused a big reaction in Austin. Olyphant said he hopes “everyone watches the same show that you guys watch,” meaning that if the audience at home responds as well as the crowd at the ATX, FX will have another hit on its hands.
The new series – which premieres July 18 – picks up 15 years after the events of “Justified,” as US Marshal Raylan Givens is once again dragged from his Florida home, this time by a series of events. which take him to Detroit, along with his daughter, Willa (played by Olyphant’s real-life daughter, Vivian Olyphant). Waiting for him is Clement Mansell (Boyd Holbrook), a car thief and murderer known as the Oklahoma Wildman, who quickly gets under Raylan’s skin. Adapted from Elmore Leonard’s 1980 novel “City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit,” the series explores whether an aging lawman can still get the job done his way in ever-changing and increasingly dangerous times.
“I’m in awe of the writers making this show,” Timberman said. “People ask us, ‘Why bring him back?’ But this was a group of people who loved each other so much while doing it, like, why not bring it back?
While most of the cast made sure to watch or rewatch “Justified” before tackling “City Primeval,” there was one notable exception.
“I’ve never seen the show yet,” said Vivian Olyphant.
“Let me explain,” he said. “We’ve never seen my father work, my brothers and I, because it’s a bit strange. (…) I love my father, but I’m not that interested (in his work).”
To get the part, Olyphant insisted that his daughter audition along with everyone else. Timberman said he saw about 40 different actors, but the choice was clear.
“I promise you,” Timberman said. “There wasn’t even a question. It was really obvious to all of us that it was the right choice. (…) He won. It was fantastic.
“He always wanted to (act),” Olyphant said. “We never let them. (…) I told Sarah and the other producers that we weren’t going to get it out of her unless we thought she could handle it. Just the audition process with her was a joy and a pleasure. She worked very hard and it was really fun. Working with her on the audition, I thought to myself, ‘She would be a fun person to work with.’ I then said I would say no more and let them take it from there.
“I always wondered what my father did all day,” said Vivian Olyphant. “It was interesting to see him getting paid to be a kid.”
“He’s not wrong,” Timothy Olyphant said. “That’s part of the charm of the job.”
That… and the cowboy hat.
“Justified: City Primeval” premiered at the 2023 ATX Television Festival. It debuts July 18 on FX and will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.