With years of sharp supporting work on his resume, Timothy Olyphant has recently morphed into a leading man. He gained widespread acclaim as Sherriff Seth Bullock on HBO’s Deadwood, faced off against Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard, romanced Jennifer Garner in Catch and Release, and left a trail of destruction in Hitman. With his latest, a remake of George Romero’s The Crazies, hitting theaters this week, Olyphant spoke to RT about some of his favorite movies; In particular, he shared his admiration for David Lynch and several flicks he thinks should have won big at the Academy Awards.
I love Blue Velvet. Put that in there. Alright, this’ll take forever if we talk about what I love about David Lynch. I love that guy. He’s one of the people out there that I just can’t get enough of. I just love everything. I love the way he does it. I love that at first you think it’s weird. [But] it’s actually not weird at all. It makes total f—g sense to me. And you know what I love about it? It seems like it should be pretentious, but there’s nothing pretentious about it. That story creeps you out, it’s fascinating, it’s funny. And [it’s got] dialogue like, “Heineken? F— that s—. Pabst Blue Ribbon!” That’s poetry.
RT: When you were preparing for The Crazies, did you watch the original, or do you try to have a fresh approach?
TO: It really depends. You know, with The Crazies, I saw some of the stuff from the original; I haven’t seen the picture as a whole. I’ve read a great deal about [George] Romero; I found him to be a really fascinating guy. He seemed like a cool cat. He actually seemed — speaking of David Lynch — there’s something about both those men that I really like. They’re kind of just like kids, in terms of going for it. There’s nothing worse than a message movie. There’s nothing worse than something that’s just like, “Okay, I get it. You got something you’re trying to teach us.” What’s cool about Romero is that, you know, I grew up watching those Dead films. I remember loving them, being freaked out and scary. You know, reading about them, and hearing that they were about American consumerism and stuff, that he’s got something on his mind. It only makes them more interesting, and you don’t lose any of the enjoyment. What sounded really cool about The Crazies, was that it operated on those levels as well. In a way, that was what [Crazies director] Breck [Eisner] and I were really inspired by.
RT: And The Crazies is set in a seemingly normal small town, where things are not always what they seem underneath the surface, like Blue Velvet.
TO: Oh, that opening shot [in Blue Velvet]. Going down under that pretty grass, seeing all those bugs. Yeah, that’s just as good as it gets.
You know, I like Chariots of Fire. I always liked that one. I like the [line], “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” I can’t get enough of that. I’m a sucker for the [soundtrack]. I love the whole thing. Running with purpose. That was a good one.
I can’t get enough of Pulp Fiction. I just love it; it still holds up. And it didn’t win Best Picture, by the way. Didn’t win. Speaking of crazy…
So many things don’t win [Oscars]. Oh my God. Gary Oldman, Sid and Nancy — not nominated! And how about her? What’s her name? Chloe Webb. Oh my God, what a performance. Throw Sid and Nancy on there; I love that movie.