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Archive for May 20, 2012

Timothy Olyphant

Timothy David Olyphant (born May 20, 1968) is an American actor whose notable roles in television drama series include Seth Bullock in Deadwood, Raylan Givens in Justified, Danny Cordray in The Office, and Wes Krulik in Damages. He has also featured in films Scream 2, Gone in 60 Seconds, Dreamcatcher, Live Free or Die Hard, The Girl Next Door, A Perfect Getaway, The Crazies, Hitman and I Am Number Four.

Although he had roles in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Rock Star (2001) and Dreamcatcher (2003), it wasn’t until Olyphant played the lead role of Sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO’s superlative Western series Deadwood (three seasons from 2004 until 2006), that he became a recognised name. Olyphant considered it to be one of his first lead roles as a “complicated” and “complex” character.

Deadwood was created, produced and largely written by David Milch. The series aired on HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, spanning three 12-episode seasons. The show is set in the 1870s in Deadwood, South Dakota, before and after the area’s annexation by the Dakota Territory. The series charts Deadwood’s growth from camp to town, incorporating themes ranging from the formation of communities to western capitalism. The show features a large ensemble cast, and many historical figures appear as characters on the show—such as Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, Wild Bill Hickok, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, E. B. Farnham, Charlie Utter and George Hearst. The plot lines involving these characters include historical truths as well as substantial fictional elements. Milch used actual diaries and newspapers from 1870s Deadwood residents as reference points for characters, events, and the look and feel of the show. Some of the characters are fully fictional, although they may have been based on actual persons.

Deadwood received wide critical acclaim, particularly for Milch’s writing and Ian McShane’s co-lead performance. It also won eight Emmy Awards (in 28 nominations) and one Golden Globe. There were initial plans to conclude the series with two special TV movies, but the plans have not come to fruition. Several of the stars have since commented that the series is now unlikely to return. HBO had repeatedly asserted that the two movies could still be made, but it noted in July 2008 that the possibility of the two TV movies being made was very slim… which is a shame as it was awesome.

Olyphant next appeared in Live Free or Die Hard as a cyber-terrorist villain, and in Hitman (both 2007) as the title character and in Stop-Loss (2007). In June 2008 he joined the cast of FX’s show Damages. In 2009, he starred with Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich in the thriller A Perfect Getaway as an Iraq war veteran and possible serial killer of honeymooners on the Hawaii islands. In 2010, he was featured in the lead role of the town sheriff in the remake of the George Romero film The Crazies, a remake of the 1973 film of the same name by George A. Romero, who is also the executive producer and co-writer of the remake. It is one of the better horror remakes.

In the spring of 2010 Olyphant landed the lead role of Raylan Givens in the FX series Justified. His character is a 21st century U.S. Marshal who is banished back to his home state of Kentucky for questionable actions in Miami. Givens wears a Stetson hat and behaves like an Old West sheriff. The show is based on a character created by Elmore Leonard in the novels Pronto and Riding the Rap, and the short story “Fire in the Hole,” which served as the basis for the pilot.