INT: Timothy Olyphant
Timothy Olyphant was in town a couple days ago. He decided to call JoBlo Headquarters. We talked about HITMAN, breaking into cars and the Winnipeg Jets for a good 15 minutes. And my tape recorder caught none of it. Depending on who you ask (and really you should only ask me) it was either the recorder, the tape, the batteries, or the do-hicky that connects the phone to the recorder. One of those issues failed me and because of that, I can't give you the answer as to why Olyphant says Winnipeg makes you want to "break into a car." Just know that he's in Winnipeg filming a movie and, for some reason, has the urge to break into a car. After digressing to wonder why Winnipeg natives are still grumbling about missing their former NHL Jets ("weren't they the Lose-ipeg Jets?"), we got to talking about HITMAN. I first asked him to address the controversy that arised when he made some sarcastic comments at a press function in LA about director Xavier Gens getting fired. Once again, it proved difficult to get a straight answer out of Olyphant but he did remark that he found it odd that the internet would print a story without fact-checking first (has he ever been on the internet?). "Imagine opening the New York Times and seeing an article about something they just heard happening but weren't sure about."
So what DID happen with Gens? Olyphant didn't want to go on record saying that was something for either Gens or Fox to discuss but would say that they did reshoots on the film and Gens was there for what he participated in. Beyond that, he wasn't ready to get in any more trouble. Regarding taking the role of Agent 47, Olyphant says he was influenced primarily be his flattery that Fox would even consider him for such a high-profile part as well as Gens himself. He considered the director a "big part" of his decision to star in the film. As you may have read in prior interviews, Olyphant was not a big gamer and had never played "Hitman" before signing on to the movie. He played it after he signed on to the role but not extensively as he wanted to get some simple mannerisms down but beyond that be "a slave to the script." I asked him if he was aware of the controversy among fans that he was not right for the part. He said he was but felt that there was nothing really he could do about that. He likened it to Michael Keaton being cast in Tim Burton's BATMAN. "At first everyone thought he was all wrong but time has told that he's been one of, if not the best Batman." He also mentioned that it was difficult to follow in a role that other actors - namely Vin Diesel - had been attached to for so long. When people come to expect Actor A in a role, "it can be an adjustment" to another actor.
Olyphant needed to get back to Winnipeg to finish the indie film THE HIGH LIFE ("you can't have HITMAN without a film like this and vice versa") but we talked sports for a little bit (he says the Patriots will go undefeated and that the Celtics and Clippers will meet in the NBA finals) before he had to run. Unfortunately, you're missing a lot of the fun of the conversation. Chatting with Olyphant is a blast cause he's a really funny and charming guy and we didn't even get into HITMAN until halfway through the interview. He had a lot of really sharp lines I wish I could remember word for word but my brain just isn't as good as a tape recorder. Damn Radio Shack. HITMAN opens in theaters today.