Quentin Tarantino saddles up for TV with a guest-directing gig on Justified

Tarantino last directed star Timothy Olyphant as a gunslinger in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.


Charles Bramesco


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was in many ways famed cinephile Quentin Tarantino’s valentine to TV, focusing on cowboy serials and action weeklies rather than the glitzy blockbusters more closely identified with the entertainment industry. Now, the director is going to prove that he’s not all talk by directing a small-screen Western instead of doing so secondhand under the pretence of making a movie around it.

Deadline has the exclusive that Tarantino is in talks to take the director’s chair on an episode or two of Justified: City Primeval, the limited-series reboot of FX’s widely acclaimed oater that ran from 2010 to 2015. If this does indeed come to pass, it’ll be his first time back on TV since directing an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2005. (His other directorial TV credits include a fan-favorite episode of ER in 1995.)

As an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s writing, the material is a natural match for Tarantino, who used Leonard’s novel Rum Punch as the basis for his own Jackie Brown. On top of that, Tarantino tapped Justified lead Timothy Olyphant for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and cast him in a sheriff role not far removed from the show’s hard-bitten US Marshal Raylan Givens.

The upcoming series’ plot synopsis provided by Deadline foretells a return to its dark classicism: “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.”

This could be a satisfactory stopover while we patiently await Tarantino’s tenth – and as he would have us believe, final – feature project. Though it’s also possible that this could go the way of his much-teased Star Trek treatment, now an impossible dream that will never see the light of day.

Published 25 Feb 2022

Tags: Justified Quentin Tarantino Timothy Olyphant

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