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South Texas Living


Stephen Root of ‘Justified’ on FX

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March 7, 2012
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Q: Were you an Elmore Leonard fan before signing on for your role as Judge Mike Reardon?

A: Oh, yeah. It was odd, actually. When I first got the script, I had just finished reading “Fire in the Hole” (on which the first “Justified” episode was based). I read the script and thought, “Well, boy, howdy, I got to get on this show!” I actually looked at the sheriff role, but a friend of mine was doing that one, so I was able to sneak on as “The Hammer.” They were nice enough to say that they would love to try to find room for me in the ensuing seasons, and they have been true to their word.

Q: So what’s your take on this guy?

A: He is just as dry and interesting a character as Elmore Leonard himself would employ in one of his novels. He’s an

eccentric, no-nonsense guy, which is kind of what I enjoy playing anyway -- someone who is just a little bent but has a good heart and tells the truth.

Q: You often give unexpected little spins to your lines. Is that by design?

A: Not necessarily. I hate playing stuff completely on the nose, so I look for ways to make the character interesting, but it’s not by changing or intonating the line differently. I just have a mindset of the character that I want to do, and once you have the character in your head, the line readings just come out as they do.

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