OK, follow me down this rabbit hole, will you? So, the Justified finale ends last night, and this afternoon, I’m watching some of Timothy Olyphant’s clips on Conan. He’s charming as hell, as always, but whenever he’s on Conan (and best I can tell, the only late night show that Olyphant regularly does is Conan), he’s kind of a dick to Conan in a funny, kidding-around kind of way. For instance, in the clip below, Olyphant makes this dig at Conan that’s hilarious, but also kind of cutting. He says in talking about how lucky he’s been on Justified, “In this town, they either kick you off, or people forget you’re on the air. One of those two things.” And then he turns to Conan and says, “I believe that both of those things have happened to you.”
It’s funny, but it’s kind of cruel because it’s kind of true. Anyway, this — along with some other jokes he’s made at Conan’s expense — got me thinking again about the time that Kevin Smith basically called Timothy Olyphant a diva. I think about this sometimes, but whenever I go to search for any evidence that would back up this statement about Olyphant, I only ever run into evidence that counters it. By every other account besides Kevin Smith’s, Timothy Olyphant is a sweet, generous, charming motherfucker.
Anyway, I’m watching some video about Olyphant on YouTube where Natalie Zea jokingly calls him a dick, and I flip to another tab, and another video pops up. It’s one of those Dinner for Five episodes that Jon Favreau used to host. They’re great. He gets five folks together over dinner, drinks, and cigars, and they shoot the shit.
Now, this episode is from around 2004. Olyphant is on it, along with Jay Mohr, Michael Rappaport, and David Milch. This is around the time that Deadwood had just begun to air, and no one was watching it yet. Olyphant, however, talks about how he hates doing press and answering the same stupid questions over and over, but — he says — he doesn’t mind at all for Deadwood because he’s so damn proud of it.
He also speaks highly of Doug Liman (he and Morh worked with him on Go), even when Jon Favreau seems to imply that Liman can be a terror on the set (Favreau, of course, worked with him on Go).
There’s some other great stories in the video, which I ended up watching in its entirety on accident because it was so incredibly engrossing. Like, for instance, David Milch was in the same fraternity as George W. Bush, and he recounts a story about during their frat days when a reporter from the Associated Press called George Bush to talk about hazing at the frat. Milch said he answered the phone, pretended to be George Bush, and then said, “Yeah! We beat the pledges, and then we bugger them!”
What I wouldn’t do to find that newspaper article!
My favorite story, however, comes when the topic of David Caruso comes up. Milch — who created Deadwood — and Caruso worked on NYPD Blue together, of course. Milch also created that show. So, Michael Rapaport — outspoken loudmouth, as always — says, “Do you fucking hate him? Do you think he’s an unappreciative prick? At the time, we’re you like ‘You fucking guy. I made you the biggest star of the year!’”
This, of course, was a reference to Caruso quitting NYPD Blue to go do feature films (which didn’t work out so well for Caruso).
Milch said he didn’t hate him, but did go on to say that Caruso would come on to set and he used to say, “Who writes this shit?” (Milch wrote it, of course)
“So, I’m on the set with him,” Milch continues, “and he’s making me go through the scene and I think, hmph. I’m having a heart attack. I’m having a fucking heart attack, and I’m going to die arguing with this no-talent guinea bastard.
[But] I wouldn’t give it up. I would not give it up to him. I would not let him see that I was having a heart attack. So I finished the argument, and then I turned to my friend, and I say, ‘OK. Now take me to the fucking hospital.”
David Milch refused to give David Caruso the satisfaction of knowing that he was having a heart attack during an argument over an NYPD Blue scene. How fantastic is that/
The whole dinner is fascinating, but if you just want to watch this anecdote, jump to the 26 minute mark.