Brie Larson & Shailene Woodley (New York magazine, 2014)
Not since John Wayne has an actor made such an impression simply by walking. As the enigmatic sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO’s dank, darkly brilliant neo-Western, Deadwood, Timothy Olyphant’s deliberate, catlike gait—alternately a threat and a seduction—spoke as plainly as his dialogue, and provided a kind of foreplay to his coiled and smoldering sexuality. Bullock, a black-clad white hat, was the avenging angel on the front lines of manifest destiny, a seething yet taciturn agent of nascent civilization—and in the hands of Olyphant, a riveting counterweight to his scenery-chewing foe, Ian McShane’s frontier thug, Al Swearengen.
So it feels like something of a make-good to see Olyphant back in a Stetson and packing heat in the new FX series Justified. “He’s a guy who wouldn’t walk into a house unless he’s invited, but he’d give someone 24 hours to get out of town or he’ll kill them,” says Olyphant of his character, Raylan Givens, a modern-day U.S. marshal. He’s as stoic and courtly an enforcer of the law as Bullock, only this time those qualities are starkly and refreshingly retro among the current crop of ironic, motor-mouthed action heroes.