Timothy Olyphant on the ‘Deadwood’ movie: ‘I showed up, put the hat on’

Timothy Olyphant Photocall

The Deadwood movie will air on Friday night, May 31st. The show ran from 2004 to 2006, and it sort of launched Timothy Olyphant to the next level. He had been a working actor before then, of course, but Deadwood got him a lot of attention, and it ended up leading to Justified, which is probably the role for which he’ll be remembered. Olyphant is currently 51 years old and he doesn’t give a f–k, if he ever did. He’s not mean about it or performatively chill. I think he really is this chilled out. This is probably why he doesn’t do a lot of press or give many interviews – he doesn’t really care, and he says everything with a lowkey shrug. That being said, you can tell he had a ball coming back to make the Deadwood movie. Timothy chatted with Vulture about the movie and what the past 15 years of his life have been like:

Whether he prepared himself for returning to Deadwood: “I didn’t. I just showed up and started going. I didn’t really have to prepare or anything. I showed up, put the hat on, and started saying what they told me to say…Of course, there were scenes I probably could have done a little more with, but the way I did it was the way I did it. It’s a curious game, being back here. It’s always fun to have another swing at something, and you rarely get to do it after so much time has elapsed. I figured it would just all come back to me, and the parts I didn’t particularly like the first time out, I’d just pretend they didn’t exist and do it different.

How Justified changed him: “On Justified, I was just coming at the material from a totally different place than I was when I first got this gig here. As you were saying before, when this job came up, I was playing supporting roles that were really flashy and fun, chewing things up and having a good time. But Seth was a lead, and certain kinds of responsibilities came with it. You see this with a lot of people’s careers: When they finally play the lead role, they lose the thing that made people notice them in the first place. They get lost in the role a little bit, as opposed to just trusting it, forcing it at times, making their own thing out of it. By the time I got to Justified, I felt like I was just having a ball with the job. Not just that particular job, but acting. Acting was way more fun than I recall it being, back during the years I was doing this show. I’d learned a lot about being the lead and not losing the fun, and not getting too hung up on whether every single moment you’re in expresses the entire idea of the thing. As someone once said, the nail doesn’t have to be the house. The nail can just be the nail, and you can trust that you’re all building a house together.

On his Deadwood costars: “School was in session on this show, and I just sat back. Most of these folks were probably more or less my age ten years ago, maybe a little older than I am now, but they’d been around forever. They knew every trick in the book. Now we all come back and it’s wild to see, because they know even more now, and they’re even more impressive. It’s been amazing to watch Molly [Parker] and Anna [Gunn] and Paula [Malcomson]. They were great then, now they’re incredible. So good. Total command, each one of them. I watched rehearsals and I just see them take over rehearsal, and I think to myself, Look at Paula. Look at her f–kin’ taking over. Just look! [John] Hawkes? Wow. They’ve all just done such great work since we wrapped however many years ago. And then, of course, the older group are just as good as they always were. Everybody knows how to steal a scene. F–king sleight-of-hand magicians, all of them.

[From Vulture]

Olyphant sort of reminds me a little bit of someone like Woody Harrelson – an actor who claims that he’s just in it to have a good time, to have a ball, to do whatever and not do months of research about it, and then he comes in and steals every scene. It’s nice that those kinds of actors still exist, and we’re not just getting an endless stream of dudes who all want to play superheroes or dramatic leads. Olyphant always saw himself more of a character actor, a supporting player who was just there to have fun. How different his career would have been if he actually tried to be a leading man, or if he wanted that. Anyway, it’s always nice to check in with Olyphant for a moment!

Some beauty shots of Olyphant from the Deadwood premiere a few weeks ago:

Los Angeles Premiere of HBO Films' 'Deadwood'

Los Angeles Premiere of HBO Films' 'Deadwood'

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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30 Responses to “Timothy Olyphant on the ‘Deadwood’ movie: ‘I showed up, put the hat on’”

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  1. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I’ve always been pretty indifferent to him. Never got the appeal. But I have really liked him on Santa Clarita Diet. He is SO funny. And steals nearly every scene he’s in. I’m sad the show got canceled because it ended on a big cliffhanger.

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      I cancelled my netflix because of that

      • Meg says:

        He’s definitely aging in those premier pics. In talk shows when trying to be funny he comes across as sleezy.
        In print his quotes about doing no prep for his role can come across as lazy

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      Santa Carita Diet was trash.
      I never got his appeal in any sense until I watched Justified. He’s truly excellent and hawt in that

    • launicaangelina says:

      I also enjoyed Santa Clarita Diet! I hope they’ll do a movie to wrap up the story since it ended on a cliffhanger. He was so cute and funny in the show. I still need to watch Justified. I’ll see where I can stream it.

  2. Lucy says:

    He’s fabulous and can play just about any character, leading or not. Hell, I even liked him as Hitman/Agent 47.

  3. Stacy Dvora Reardon says:

    Love him, and super excited for this movie. That is all.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Deadwood will always be the show that launched the ship of, ‘Hey, it’s that {name any character actor of the last decade}’.

    Seriously, any and everyone was on that show and killed it.

  5. BengalCat😻 says:

    I am so excited for Deadwood! The cast/acting/story are perfection. And John Hawkes is super yum.

  6. Dorothy#1 says:

    I’m still mad Santa Clarita’s diet got cancelled. 🙁 he is so great in that show!

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      me too

      • Ali says:

        I loved him in Santa Clarita Diet! Haven’t seen Deadwood or Justified but am going to find them.
        I don’t think he comes across douchey at all. He seems like an actor really into acting for acting’s sake as opposed to gunning for Big Time Attitude because you’ve landed a leading role. And also he’s been married forever.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I watched Deadwood years after it aired, and never really got into it. He was brilliant on Justified though, that role was perfect for him.
    He was also excellent on Santa Clarita Diet too, so funny! I’m still mad about that one being cancelled, especially the way it ended.

  8. Incredulous says:

    Actual new Deadwood, finally. And Seth Bullock is rocking a Ned Flanders ‘tache.

  9. Jerusha says:

    Just in case you missed TO’s visit to Seth Meyers a month ago. There’s more but YT cut it up into segments. He was very laid back and funny. And, god, I miss Raylan. Actually, miss all the crazy characters on Justified, but chiefly Raylan. I had to wait a year to watch the final season, didn’t want to let go.

  10. Beegirl says:

    loved him from the first minute i saw him in ” Go!” he’s aged beautifully… i still definitely would!

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Love him. Love Justified. Rewatching Deadwood ahead of this weekend… The cocksuckers took too long lol. Wish I had the gold to go to Deadwood and watch it in a saloon.

    • dj says:

      @Mabs A’Mabbin I totally get what you did there! Deadwood was and still is fabulous. But even though I curse like a sailor the language on Deadwood kind of made even me blush a bit at first…now the CS did wait too long. Plus I think Ian McShane could read the phone book to me and make me blush. He is getting pretty old but is still sexy. Olyphant has always been in the top few for me!

  12. Laura says:

    I have loved him since I saw Go in the theater & I have to be very careful I don’t make groaning noises when I look at pictures of him. He’s seriously so good looking to me that I get distracted.

  13. Malificent says:

    I binge-watched Deadwood at 3 AM when I was nursing my newborn. I’m surprised my kid’s first word wasn’t “c*cksucker”.

    • DP says:

      My son (age 7-8 at the time) came downstairs after bedtime and overheard a scene without me realizing. He had a loooot if questions about the language and I was mortified!

  14. Lala11_7 says:

    I’ve been tracking him for decades…he gives me the same manic energy of so many 70s badass character actors…Jeff Bridges…James Remar….Michael Beck…

    He is simply…


    • Jensies says:

      Truth. He has a great interview on Conan’s podcast, apparently they’re friends and Tim tortures him by using Conan’s beach house all the time. Rich people problems, but he’s funny when he talks about it.

  15. DP says:

    Hot and humble!!

  16. Dani says:

    I’ve loved him since that movie he made with Jennifer Garner (Catch & Release iirc). He’s so handsome and he really has something about him that captivates you.

  17. Danielle says:

    Hitman and The Crazies is where I fell in love with him as an actor. He is handsome, believable, and is just a gem compared to actors these days who buy into their hype. And he is aging like a fine wine.

    • launicaangelina says:

      The crazies was legit awesome!

    • dj says:

      OMG! The Crazies he was so so good in! Also I really recommend The Perfect Getaway with Olyphant, Steve Zahn (also really underrated actor) and Milla Jovovich. Really suspenseful. TO is great in as an “American Jedi.” Something he says often in the movie.

  18. Heat says:

    He’s been on my radar since Scream 2. Sooooo freaking hot. He killed the comedy in Santa Clarita Diet. It’s such an amazing show, and they continued to build and grow that world, so I’m really bummed we don’t get to see what happens to Joel after that cliffhanger. His podcast with Conan is amazing. You can tell they are truly great friends.