Justified is a new western/crime/drama premiering on FX tonight at 10 pm. In my review, I talked about how this genre of television is not usually my favorite but Justified is phenomenal. (And I am hooked). The show centers around Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant), a U.S. Marshall forced to return to his hometown and face his demons. In this land of men, one of the stand out performances was Joelle Carter, who plays Ava Crowder (Raylan’s old friend and flame). Ava is a take no prisoners kind of girl who shot her abusive husband with his own rifle. I recently had the chance to speak to the lovely and talented Carter, about the role of Ava, working with Olyphant, and what makes Justified so unique.
What originally drew you to the role of Ava?
I love when people ask me that. I’m like what didn’t (laughs) attract me to the character of Ava. I mean, she’s a lovely, delicately flawed character. She’s just recently been put in a crazy circumstance and in some ways, what she’s done is actually freeing her. It was the conflict of the whole character and the deliciousness of the way Elmore Leonard writes these scenarios he puts these characters in that they can act in a completely different way. And just the cast and Michael Dinner directing and Graham Yost. It was like a win, win, win win situation.
Absolutely. And how do you relate to your character? Obviously, you two are very different.
I think mostly that she’s kind of seen in one way, but yet she has a lot living inside that comes out at certain times that might surprise people, what really makes up the core of her. I think through my life and experiences that I have a lot that I carry around that I have inside that people might not necessarily recognize from the outside. You know what I mean?
Yeah, of course.
I liked her unpredictability. I loved that she really is sexual and she loves to use her sexuality almost in an un-subconscious manner. It’s just the way she is, with no excuses and no apologies. So I love that too. She’s really forward and strong. But yet soft and southern.
Ava is such a strong female character in a land of men. What has it been like playing such a powerful female lead?
Oh it’s — especially in Hollywood I think women jump at the chance to play a part like this. It’s interesting because you can really draw off the fact that you’re in an industry that is male-driven and even the show is so — I mean there’s Sarah Timberman [Executive Producer] up at the top there but then it’s like so many men controlling the project and there’s very few women parts anyway in the whole show, so it’s like stand strong and fight for what you want and it’s interesting how it kind of travels beside each other — the reality of the circumstance you’re in and the character’s circumstances.
Justified is incredibly different from any other show out there right now. What do you think makes it so unique?
Well definitely the environment. The fact that it takes place in the south in Kentucky, there’s not a lot going on — I can’t remember I guess Deadwood was the last one that was kind of more of a Western-y feel, southern…I don’t know “Little House on the Prairie?” (laughs)
So — uniquely, the town and the environment is a character in it’s own, and that gives it it’s own uniqueness.