Timothy Olyphant has only one problem with his “Justified” character becoming a dad: Children on the set.
And that’s a no-no for the actor, who expressed his distaste for child actors and their parents when he spoke with a group of reporters on a teleconference Wednesday afternoon from L.A.
The phone call was convened to talk about the upcoming fourth season of “Justified,” which starts next Tuesday night (Jan. 8) at 10/9c on FX. Olyphant, 44, plays the show’s central character, U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, who is assigned to a district office that oversees a wide swath of rural Kentucky — a region where Givens grew up. The character was created by novelist Elmore Leonard and, as Olyphant himself noted, the Leonard character in the books has two children.
In the TV show, now entering its fourth season, the Givens character is about to become a father for the first time — though the expectant mother, his ex-wife Winona (played in previous seasons by Natalie Zea), is not seen in the first two episodes FX provided for preview. And it’s unclear when or if she’ll turn up at all. (Zea is about to be seen in the new Kevin Bacon drama “The Following” on Fox.)
But it was pretty clear from the answer Olyphant gave to a reporter’s question about Givens’ pending fatherhood that we won’t be seeing the marshall morph into a dedicated dad anytime soon. “That’s a good question,” he said when he was asked the fatherhood question. “And I think that depends on a couple of things — one, how long they let us stay on the air. You know, the longer we’re on the air, there’s a good chance we’ll see Raylan as a father [an indication to us that the coming season doesn’t delve too deeply — if at all — into this new facet of Givens’ life].
“The second half of that question is whether we really want a little kid on the show,” he continued, “because little kids on the set, they tend to be a pain in the ass. If they’re not a pain in the ass, their parents are a pain in the ass, so I don’t see us having a kid on the show too much because no one wants to deal with that. But I like the idea creatively as far as story-telling is concerned of Raylan being a father.”
For the record, Olyphant himself has three children, so you cannot really justify accusing him flat-out of disliking kids. Our interpretation of what he said is that there really is no room in the show’s interlocking plotlines for another subplot in which Marshall Givens is up late at night changing diapers.
Olyphant said he and the rest of the show’s cast and crew are in the midst of filming the eighth episode of the fourth season. He praised the contributions of the two main guest-stars this season — Ron Eldard and Patton Oswalt — who have each joined the show for the season (or at least part of it). Eldard plays an old army buddy of Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), the region’s crime kingpin whose businesses include drugs and prostitution. The Eldard character almost immediately assumes the role of enforcer for Boyd.
One guest-star whose name did not come up in the news conference: Joseph Mazzello, who some might recognize from “The Pacific” on HBO, in which he played marine Eugene Sledge. In “Justified” this season, he’s a country revival preacher whose aim to “save” as many county residents as possible presents a threat to Boyd and his vice businesses.
As for Oswalt, a comedic actor best-known for his work on “The King of Queens,” he supplies some comic relief on “Justified” as a county “constable,” which is kind of like an auxiliary police officer in that he does not enjoy all the rights and privileges of other law-enforcement personnel. And yet, Marshall Givens finds the character’s enthusiasm useful.
In the teleconference, Olyphant had special praise for Oswalt, noting how difficult it was to get through scenes with him without bursting out laughing.