EXCLUSIVE: Deadline hears that Quentin Tarantino is in early talks to direct one or two episodes of Justified: City Primeval, the FX limited series that reunites Timothy Olyphant with his six-gun as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. No one was commenting.
While most felt like Tarantino’s next turn behind the camera would be his final feature film, there is a lot of symmetry here. Tarantino and Olyphant worked together on the director’s most recent film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. There also is the filmmaker’s devotion to Elmore Leonard, who created the Givens character. Tarantino adapted the Leonard novel Rum Punch into Jackie Brown. He optioned several Leonard titles during his career and has talked about possibly directing one of his Westerns, Forty Lashes Less One. The limited series is using as source material another Leonard title, the 1980 novel City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit, subbing the Givens character in for the original protagonist.
FX’s Justified went off air seven years ago, and FX, Sony Pictures Television and FX Productions teased the new one early last year, at which point Deadline revealed Fargo Season 4 star Olyphant was in talks to return. Olyphant also is exec producing alongside showrunners and writers Dave Andron and Michael Dinner and original series creator Graham Yost, with Dinner the lead director on the show. During a six-year run that ended in 2015, the high-rated Justified won two Emmys and was nominated for eight, including one for lead Olyphant, along with winning a Peabody.
The show returns to Givens’ story eight years after he left Kentucky and now is based in Miami, balancing life as a marshal and part-time father of a 14-year-old girl. A chance encounter on a Florida highway sends him to Detroit, where he crosses paths with Clement Mansell, aka The Oklahoma Wildman, a violent sociopath who’s already slipped through the fingers of Detroit’s finest once and wants to do so again.
Olyphant’s Givens lives in a contemporary setting, but the character is right out of the ’60s Westerns that Tarantino celebrated in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. This could be very interesting. Tarantino has selectively directed episodes of shows he’s liked, including “Motherhood” during the first season of ER, and CSI‘s “Grave Danger.”
Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are also executive producers on Justified: City Primeval, alongside Peter Leonard, Taylor Elmore and Chris Provenzano. Walter Mosley is consulting producer and V.J. Boyd, Eisa Davis and Ingrid Escajeda are writers.
Tarantino is repped by WME.
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