Monthly Archives: April 2010

Interview with Elmore Leonard and Graham Yost, creators of the series “Justified” on FX

Justified on FX official poster one-sheet

"Justified" created by Graham Yost and Elmore Leonard

“Raylan has his dark side… But the guy is a hero.
I thought, ‘Man, it would be fun to do a show
which has a true-blue hero.'”

Justified is based on the Elmore Leonard short story “Fire in the Hole” (read it here) which provides the story for the pilot episode, in which U.S. Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens returns to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky, to track his old coal-mining buddy Boyd Crowder, an ex-con now leading a Neo-Nazi terrorist group, after Boyd blows up a black church with an RPG. Raylan meets Boyd at the home of Boyd’s sister-in-law Ava Crowder; [SPOILERS AHEAD] firearms are brandished and Boyd comes out on the wrong end of Raylan’s six-shooter. Boyd dies at the end of the Leonard story, but not in the Justified pilot. Which means veteran actor Walton Goggins will be returning to the show at some point (fun link: Walton Goggins’ blog from India in 2009: http://www.hindutoyoutoo.blogspot.com/).

Graham Yost is the series creator/Executive Producer of Justified and a veteran writer/director in film and television with an impressive list of credits that includes Band of Brothers, Boomtown, Raines and The Pacific and the feature films Speed, Broken Arrow and Mission to Mars.  He won an Emmy for his work on the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon.

Elmore Leonard is an Executive Producer of Justified and the legendary novelist and short story writer whose works have spawned several feature films, including Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Stick, Mr. Majestyk and 3:10 to Yuma. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana but has lived in Michigan since 1934. He is also well-known for his  “10 Rules of Writing.”

I sat in on a conference call interview with Mr. Yost and Mr. Leonard on April 28, 2010… Continue reading

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Natalie Zea of Justified on FX interviewed about the show, Timothy Olyphant and her career (exclusive video)

Natalie Zea on Justified FX series

The drama Justified is currently airing on Tuesday nights at 10 PM ET on the FX network . I had the opportunity to join a conference call with Natalie Zea, who plays Winona Hawkins, the ex-wife of Timothy Olyphant‘s U.S. Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens. (I’ve noted when it was my own question.) Here’s what she had to say. Continue reading

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Justified on FX — Best New Show on Television — two new clips (video)

Justified is the best new show on television.  I’ve covered since it premiered and it’s clear that it’s having an impact, garnering tons of positive press and a loyal army of fans.

This is one of those cases where no-brainer typecasting was exactly the route to go. Timothy Olyphant played a mean sheriff on Deadwood so they got him to play a mean Marshall on Justified. And, why not? He’s great at it. Trust me, you don’t want to get into a smoldering stare contest with U.S. Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens, nor do you want to draw down on him.  You especially don’t want to draw down on him. Either way, I tell ya what: you’re gonna lose sumthin’ awful.

The man and his ten-gallon hat.
The man and his ten-gallon hat.

But Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens is not your standard white hat (you gotta give it up: that hat is bad-ass).  What sets the character, and Olyphant’s performance apart from other bad-ass law enforcers on television is his shame, regret and confusion that accompanies each of his kills.  He gets that look before each showdown, where he has to stay hard and alert so the perp won’t win, but what he really wants is for that perp to put down their weapon so one more death won’t take one more chunk out of Raylan’s soul.  But that rarely happens, so Raylan has to fire, and (thus far) there’s no quicker gun than him.

And for a second, as the smoke still rises from his pistol, Raylan looks like he’s going to be sick to his stomach. Because he just killed a man who didn’t need to die. And because he’s afraid he’s beginning to like it.  He’s becoming the killer; the type he hunts as a U.S. Marshall. Is this who he truly is? Why is he like this? Can he alter this course? Has he been running from his true identity?

The pilot sets the tone, the theme and the central dramatic question of a series.  The pilot for Justified opens with Raylan Givens giving a killer an ultimatum to surrender or die in exactly 60 seconds; just as the timer runs out, the con pulls a gun and Raylan shoots and kills him. Did Raylan provoke him?  Was this the only way to bring the man to justice? Was this shooting justified?  The episode ends with him telling his ex-wife that he never thought he was an angry man.  She replies: “Raylan, you’re the angriest man I’ve ever known.”  And this troubles him.

Like William Munny in Unforgiven, is he in fact the man that everyone says he is?  A stone-cold killer?

The best way for a man who’s runnng from his past to confront his demons is to send him back to his home town.  So that’s what the show’s creators have done; this forces Raylan to face his family, old friends and old enemies alike in his search for the true man that he is.

The writers also do a fantastic job at finding reasons for quick-draw matches pretty much every week. This comes as no surprise to fans of creator Graham Yost, an industry veteran screenwriter, producer and director, with such credits as Speed, Broken Arrow, Boomtown, Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Yost brings exactly the right balance of character and plot mechanics to the series, and he knows how to convincingly build to that inevitable, oh-so-satisfying six-shooter showdown.

And it all stems from the stories and characters of Elmore Leonard. So there’s a brutally cool creative team behind this show, and it’s paying off.

If you haven’t tuned in yet, do it now.  Watch it.  You’ve got precisely 1.5 seconds before I draw this firearm.  And when I shoot, I aim to kill.

Did I forget to mention the sexy Southern Belles?

Dan Calvisi

Telematic Dan, the Best in Television on the Tube and on the Web

Related Stories on Telematic Dan!

Justified premiere coverage in Hollywood (photos)

Interview with Justified creator Graham Yost (Speed, Band of Brothers, The Pacific)

Actress Natalie Zea of Justified interviewed

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MAD MEN NEWS: Season 4 begins July 25 and AMC denies the show will end after Season 6! Is this a HOAX?

Here's where we left off.

IT IS COMING! For the fourth July in a row, the greatest television series on Earth returns to lay waste to our Sunday nights with its wit and brilliance and genius and style and darkness.

Mad Men will return on July 25th, 2010, only on AMC (src: Deadline Hollywood, linked to from The Hollywood Reporter “Live Feed.”)

If you’re a fan, the anticipation is killing you. The questions abound.

What year will it be?

Will Don and Betty be divorced?

Will Betty still be with that Henry Poole dingus?

How will the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agency be doing?

Will Pete have been made partner?  Will his tennis shorts have lengthened?

Will Peggy have found a guy or embraced that dormant Greenwich Village lesbian that we all know lurks inside her? Speaking of…

Will Sal still be trolling for rough trade in the Lambda Lambda Lambda section of Central Park or be back home, settled snugly with his no-longer-clueless wife Kitty?

Will Guy the Brit wonder get his other foot chopped off by some sort of lawn maintenance machine?

But that’s not the only big Mad Men news to drop in the past 24 hours. 

Or is it?

The story goes that Matt Weiner announced at the NAB convention that the show will end after its sixth season in 2012.   But the only source for this story was the wordpress blog weeklyblend.com, and the article in question is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, thus leading one to wonder about its legitimacy. 

"Whachu talkin' 'bout, Weiner?"

Following this story, AMC quickly issued a denial

A spokeswoman for AMC assures that no end date has been set for the show and issued this statement on behalf of the network: “No one wants to see Don Draper wearing a leisure suit.  We trust Matthew’s vision and that he knows where to take the show.  But with that said, M*A*S*H figured how to stretch the Korean War for more than a decade, so stay tuned! “

But even that statement sounds like a fake!  Stay tuned, because methinks there may be more to this story.

Related story: Christina Hendricks’ Letter to Men in Esquire (photos).

 

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Christina Hendricks: A Letter to Men – Joan from Mad Men breaks it down for the guys

So we should order scotch, say the word “panties” a lot and always smell good and we’ll snag a woman like Christina Hendricks, got it, guys?

Christina Hendricks, sexy, red, Mad Men, Joan Halloway

But we should ALSO not use Facebook and not wear tank tops?  Obviously, she hasn’t seen the majestic beauty of my Farmville property nor the gun show I’ve got attached to my shoulders.

Here’s her complete missive…

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