For “Justified” fans, the wait for the show’s return to the small screen has been long but worthwhile. The Timothy Olyphant-led neo-Western went off the air in 2015, but the new limited series “Justified: City Primeval” has been hailed as a fitting revival of the Elmore Leonard property. While Olyphant’s return as Raylan Givens was the main attraction, new characters including Boyd Holbrook’s Clement Mansell have gone a long way towards expanding the show’s mythology.
In a new conversation with Michael Shannon published in Interview Magazine, Holbrook recalled being offered the role by longtime “Justified” fan Quentin Tarantino, who considered directing an episode of the limited series. While Tarantino ultimately left the project, Holbrook became hooked on the material and remained attached.
“Quentin Tarantino calls and says, ‘Hey, I want you to play the character Clement Mansell.’ And then Quentin couldn’t do it but I still stayed on,” Holbrook said. “I loved every minute of it, man. It worked out the way it should have. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that show. It’s fucked up, but it’s funny. They’re great characters and amazing writing.”
However, Holbrook explained that he was unfamiliar with the source material and was initially hesitant because he feared that his Kentucky hometown would be treated as the butt of jokes. But once he began watching the show, he said that his fears were quickly assuaged.
“I was really timid to watch it because I am from Harlan County, a county over,” he said. “So I was always like, ‘Man, it’s kind of making fun of us hillbillies.’ I thought the show wouldn’t hit the tone right, but it’s great.”
Holbrook isn’t the only one who’s glad he eventually decided to take on the role. Critics have praised his performance in the limited series, with many pointing out that the new characters help to fill the void left by the departure of Walton Goggins.
“’Justified: City Primeval’ continues the series’ grand tradition of introducing exciting new characters who feel like they’ve been part of the story since the beginning,” IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote in his review. “Holbrook lends Clement a haunting awareness; he’s never surprised by how far he’s willing to go, and rarely are his actions beyond his own control.”