Timothy Olyphant on ‘Deadwood’, How He Prepares for a Role and the “Joy” of Good Writing

“I show up prepared, I show up early and see what happens.” – Timothy Olyphant

Fans of the cult classic HBO series Deadwood finally got what they had been asking for after many years: Deadwood: The Movie, which reunited much of the main cast from the 2004-2006 series. Timothy Olyphant stars in both the series and the movie as Seth Bullock, and he spoke to Gold Derby about returning to the character and, in particular, once again working with Deadwood creator David Milch.

When asked if the writing style of Milch, the acclaimed television writer who also co-created NYPD Blue, makes acting more challenging or easier, Olyphant responded:

“Easier. The words, they’re so memorable, they’re so specific. They do all the work for you. There’s a scene in the movie with Dayton Callie and I on the boardwalk. That speech, that rhythm back and forth with him, is so delicious. It’s just so fun to do it over and over again. When it really cooks, you can’t wait to do it. You can’t wait to keep doing it. You just can’t wait to do it, as opposed to, quite frankly a lot of jobs you’re just trying to elevate crap to mediocracy. They should give awards for that, by the way. Best Actor Who Elevated Crap to Mediocracy. That should be a category. Where, these are just, it’s easy to remember, they make such an impact on you the first time you read them, and then the more you work on them the more you discover, the more different ways there is to do it. It’s a joy to work on it.”

Nonetheless, Olyphant and the other members of the cast of the Deadwood movie were returning to characters that they had last portrayed over a decade previously. For Olyphant, getting back into the rhythm of the character was not difficult. He explains, “I did what I usually do which is spend a bunch of time with the material. I show up prepared, I show up early and see what happens.”

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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