For a show boasting a heaping helping of southern drawl, the premiere party for season five of FX drama “Justified” had a decidedly metropolitan touch.
Following the Jan. 6 screening at West Hollywood’s DGA, guests headed to Sunset Blvd.’s chic RivaBella, where the buffet line stretched almost past the DJ booth.
The premiere carried its reverential moments, as season five of the Timothy Olyphant-starrer will be the first since the passing of Elmore Leonard, the scribe whose short story “Fire in the Hole” served as the basis for the series. Damon Herriman, who plays Dewey Crowe in “Justified,” told Variety that while on set for season five, cast members read small sections of Leonard’s short stories to camera, clips that will be laced into a tribute video for the writer. (FX has also lined up a 90-second tribute to Leonard to air during the season five premiere.)
“As Graham [Yost, creator] has said, they went to Detroit and Florida [for season five], the two very most ‘Elmore’ kind of locations, and they were excited about Elmore would think of the episode and very sad that he’s never going to see this season. But, he’s the inspiration behind all of this,” said FX prexy Nick Grad.
Grad also said that ending “Justified” after a healthy six-season run is “the plan right now,” though that could always change given the needs of the creatives.
“We like having shows that rate really well, and there’s an instinct that you want it to go on forever. But it doesn’t,” Grad noted. “Another metric that’s important to us [beyond ratings] is, ‘What shows are going to be talked about in the next 20 years?’ If you’re making a great, 80-hour movie, it has to have a beginning, middle and end. Going out at the right time is going to make your show last forever — we want to make shows that stand the test of time.”
Season five of “Justified” introduces a slew of notable fresh characters. For series newbie Michael Rappaport — a Gotham-bred thesp — adapting to the southern accent that the drama calls for meant a whole lot of country music.
“I listened to a lot to be as authentic as possible — Bobby Bare, Johnny Paycheck, Loretta Lynn. I never got into country music before this, so it’s like a whole new form for me.”
While the hospitality at the “Justified” fete may have been more Hollywood, the South still had a presence at the event.
At the bar, drinking patrons stood staring at big screen TVs stationed over the liquor selection. On the TV? Not “Justified” — rather, the BCS National Championship. FX brass and topliner Olyphant sipped wine and discussed the match-up between Auburn and Florida State — a decidedly Southern moment capping off the Florida scenery of “Justified’s” fifth run.
(Pictured: “Justified’s” Walton Goggins and Timothy Olyphant flank FX’s Nick Grad.)