Season 12 of the ATX Television Festival kicked off tonight with a special screening of FX’s Justified: City Primeval ahead of the show’s July 18th premiere. In attendance were stars Timothy Olyphant (Raylan Givens), Boyd Holbrook (Clement Mansell), Adelaide Clemens (Sandy Stanton), Vivian Olyphant (Willa Givens), plus executive producer Sarah Timberman. The post-screening panel was moderated by Daniel Fienberg from The Hollywood Reporter.
Yes, Vivian Olyphant is Timothy Olyphant’s daughter and stars alongside her dad as Raylan’s daughter Willa. Vivian laughed as she confessed to having never watched the original Justified or much of her father’s acting work, aside from his voice role in the animated film Rango and a play she saw him in. “I always wondered what is he actually doing at work,” Vivian shared about getting to spend her summer on set with her dad. “He’s getting paid to be a child,” she summarized to the audience’s delight (and Timothy’s charming embarrassment). While Timothy had no qualms about his daughter auditioning for the role, he added that he kept himself out of the casting process as a fellow executive producer on the series. Sarah Timberman stood by the decision, sharing that Vivian stood out of about forty actresses considered for the role.
Set 15 years after the original Justified, which was based on Elmore Leonard’s final novel, Justified: City Primeval draws its inspiration from another one of Leonard’s books, 1980’s City Primeval. Read by both Sarah Timberman and Timothy Olyphant, when conversations began about bringing Raylan Givens back to the screen, both felt that this story would be the right way to do it while still staying within the Elmore Leonard universe. And, a tale that will likely be recurring throughout this year’s festival, Sarah took a moment at the top of the panel to acknowledge the show’s writing team, most of whom are participating in the WGA strike.
Showrunner Dave Andron participated in a different panel earlier in the day titled “…The End” about writing a series finale. During that panel, which was not specifically about Justified: City Primeval, he shared that he had some initial hesitation about continuing Raylan’s story after wrapping it up so nicely in Season 6. He was working on Snowfall when conversations began to swirl about a sequel, something he wasn’t willing to take on until that show wrapped in order to give that show the send-off it deserved.
A native of Kentucky, the setting of the original Justified, Boyd Holbrook decided not to watch the original series. However, when this role came his way, he decided to binge it. While he didn’t name-drop, he did reveal that he had a friend who worked on the previous series and encouraged him to take the job, bragging about what a wonderful experience he had on the set. That sentiment was echoed by both Timothy, who revealed that he kept in touch with many of the creatives during the gap, and Sarah, who shared that everyone who worked on the original series wanted to come back.
Adelaide Clemens was familiar with Justified, although she shared that the reason she got into it was that she did a play with Timothy Olyphant years ago and wanted to get a better sense of his work. She fell in love with it then, particularly the show’s strong female characters, so when this role came her way, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
While reviews are embargoed, the audience laughed at all the comedic moments and gasped at some of the premiere’s twists and surprises. “I hope everyone watches the show you guys watched,” Timothy enthused as they took the stage, delighted with the response. And once again, tying everything back to the writers who are on strike, Timothy and Sarah gave credit where it was due – to the creative minds who wrote those lines and scenes that were then carried out by all of the disciplined craftsmanship that goes into producing scripted entertainment. So hungry was the audience for more that when Daniel Fienberg asked Timothy Olyphant about the possibility of multiple seasons of City Primeval or even another series beyond this one, he replied, “I would do it again and again.”
FX’s Justified: City Primeval premieres on July 18th at 10/9c. Episodes will be available to stream on Hulu the day after they air on FX. You can catch up on all 6 seasons of Justified on Hulu.
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