A connoisseur of good storytelling, Quentin Tarantino knows somewhere worthwhile when he sees it. The acclaimed filmmaker has had his eye on Justified, one of the best Westerns going, for quite some time, actually trying to making City Primeval well before the show.
Justified star Timothy Olyphant spoke about it recently on Happy Sad Confused. “I knew he watched our show, and I knew he was a huge Elmore Leonard fan,” Olyphant recalled, about a conversation that started while making Once Upon A time… In Hollywood. “I said, ‘City Primeval is potentially available, and I had this idea, what if we just a took a book like that and we just stripped it for parts, use the bones, and used it as the beginning of the conversation?'”
As a fan of one of the best TV series this century, Tarantino responded, “That’s a great fucking idea.” But the thriller movie director’s excitement stretches beyond enjoying Justified, because he’d tried to do somewith City Primeval years prior.
“He knew the book inside and out,” Olyphant says. “He was, at one point, going to make that book a film, he had optioned the rights years ago. So he had lots of ideas and thoughts of what that should’ve been.”
Justified: City Primeval continues the drama series, created by Graham Yost and featuring Olyphant as deputy US marshal, who investigates crimes within Kentucky. Justified originally finished in 2015, after six seasons, but a sequel or revival was discussed ever since.
Those plans formed into City Primeval, an eight episode story that has Raylan following a case in Detroit. Although Tarantino wasn’t the one to adapt the Leonard novel, he was going to make an episode of City Primeval, but timing just got in the way.
“We were all very excited. And then his wife was pregnant with their second baby and that was that,” Olyphant says. “[He] was like ‘Sorry, I can’t leave Israel when my wife’s having a child to go direct your show’. It was a hard one to argue!”
Maybe for City Primeval season 2, if that ever happens! If you’re in the UK, you can find Justified on Disney Plus, while US fans can watch on FX. If you like stories on the modern American west, our guides to the Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date and the Yellowstone timeline explained.