Do you think she might use that to her advantage in the future knowing full well that Raylan is so good talking around somebody?
JC:Yeah I mean she thinks if she needs to get something done that she can totally use Raylan or go to him for help. It’s interesting for me to watch my character and then use my instincts try to figure out who would she be behind in a street dude-off [Laughs]. Would she get in the middle? Would she protect Boyd? It’s interesting but I think she might go on the team of Boyd now.
You’ve played now two different versions of Ava, the tough damsel in distress in Season 1 and this assertive, ambitious with evil intent in Season 3, which one was more of a challenge? Which one are you more a fan of?
JC:I love that she started where she was with nowhere to go. I love playing her in that moment, being the victim. But I always saw her as the survivor. I saw her having so much strength even though she didn’t know what to do with her new found freedom. She did finally stand up and say, “I’m not going to die, I’m going to live,” and that’s amazing person.
Now I love that she kind of keeps surprising herself and the audience, but is finding out how strong she really is in these predicaments that they’re putting her in. What would she do? She wouldn’t know unless she was placed in that predicament. I think she does stuff she can justify, because I don’t think the writers want her to be thought of as a villain just yet. I think they want to say, look she shot Delroy because she had to, she no other choice. She needed to help this other woman. Even though she sort of sets him up and emerges with this giant shotgun. [Laughs] I think the audience is still okay about Ava. [Laughs and continues snickering]
I’m noticing you giggling a lot, you sound like you’re having so much fun with Ava.
JC:I am. [Laughs]
That’s great to hear! Can we talk about the antagonists, Limehouse and Quarles and maybe you can talk about the addition of both of those characters. They’re not really villains because it’s hard to say who’s a villain on Justified?
JC:They did a very good job making the villain ambivalent this season. Although we know these guys aren’t up to all good, you’re confused as to who is the bad guy this season? It seems like they’re putting people in the place of, “How can I survive in this moment and make the most out of it.” All of these people are schemers. The way it’s gone down I’ve had to wait for the episodes to air, because it changes so rapidly on the set, I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen with Quarles or what was going to happen with Limehouse.
I always like to think that Limehouse and Ava have a history that bonds them. I’d love to see at the end of season three, potentially if they all survive, Ava and Limehouse to have this camaraderie. But even when Boyd was with him, you don’t know how to trust either one of them. Is Boyd going to backstab him? Is Limehouse going to backstab Boyd? I don’t have the answer, so for me I’m living in the moment too with the mystery of these creepy characters.
It’s hard for me to watch Neal McDonough, he’s played this character so well. There are sides to him that are so creepy, which are revealed, and I’ll go [Laughs] Gah! I can’t believe I just saw that on TV.
He’s definitely exposing himself this season.
To see what Margo Martindale did in season 2 is reminiscent of what John Lithgow did on Season 4 of Dexter, both winning Emmys for their performances. John made it so hard for Julia Stiles to follow up that season. I didn’t want to see that happen to Justified after Margo’s terrific turn as Mags Bennett. Then to see what Neal’s done this season, it quite surprising.
JC:I didn’t know where they were going to go after they killed Margo. A lot of us were very disappointed to see her go, but I get the reason. I think they did a good job of not wanting just one person to come in and be a villain. They wanted to make it kind of ambiguous and they introduced a few more characters into the mix of madness of Harlan County.
Can you talk about those opening scenes with Ava and Mykelti on the holler? I really liked part of Ava’s history being established as well what the holler represented to different people–in this case abused women.
JC:It was originally written that they talked about Ava spending some time there. One of the writers came up with the idea, “Why don’t we show it? Let’s show Ava walking through the holler and having this reconnection with one of our newest characters who is going to be this pivotal character on the show.” I loved the opportunity to work with Mykelti, I wish they’d exploit even more but they found out that area actually existed and I thought it was really interesting that was where the women would go.
Season 1 we always felt like Raylan was going to solve problems with his gun. In Season 2 we see the negotiator come out of him. This season there’s been less death episode-to-episode, yet there’s still tension and the season as a whole has taken on a completely different feel and you don’t rely on the deaths as much.
JC:I think Tim was a big factor in that. He said that he wanted his character to try and go the whole season without killing anyone. So what could we do to twist that? He’ll still get the bad guy, like in the episode (304: The Devil You Know) where he runs over Todd Stashwick’s character (Ash) with the car twice. I think that was a smart move on his part to show that Raylan’s not out to just kill people. That’s not his intention. His intention is to bring his own form of justice.
Again in speaking with Erica we discussed this recurring issue of Raylan killing the nurse, but I also brought up Ava continuing down this wrong side of the law and Raylan might not be able to act on it and maybe Rachel could–
JC:You mean there might be a time when he’d have to shoot me? What did Erica say? [Laughs]
Erica said that would be a great use of Rachel, and I agree, but I hate to even think about that.
JC:[Laughs] You know in that moment I think Raylan had to kill that woman. It was either he or she. In any other circumstance he would have maimed her and brought her in some other way, especially being a woman. I think that was one of the brilliant things they did this season. That really haunted him. He was put in a position where he didn’t have the choice…
You know what? I would have loved to see Winona really steal the money. Especially the second time they brought it back. I really wanted her to take it because there’s no way this man is going to put the love of his life, the mother of his child, while pregnant in jail. That would have been this huge conflict of having to live with and juggle–but it didn’t happen. [Laughs]
When you were on the set, did you try to talk to the producers about that scenario?
JC:I did. I fought for it. [Laughs]
What other projects beside Justified do you have lined up that you can share with us?
JC:I just did a romantic comedy called, It’s Not You, It’s Me with Ross McCall (White Collar) and Vivica Fox (Curb Your Enthusiasm) It was a crazy, fast, low-budget shoot with a lot of potential and we’ll see how it all comes together. I wanted to do a comedy. [Laughs] Coming off of Justified it fell right into my lap and I just went for it. I had a blast. Abby Miller (who plays the prostitute Ellen May on Justified) also got on board and she plays one of the voices in my head, one my alter egos, so it was fun to put her in my head. [Laughs]
You have another film coming out called Los Angeles, which is shot by Phedon Papamichael who is such an accomplished cinematographer (The Descendants, 3:10 to Yuma, Sideways)?
JC:It’s just starting to get into festivals. It’s a nice little movie although I have a tragic ending. Yes, Phedon shot it so you know it’s beautiful. He’s a brilliant cinematographer and he loves to do smaller projects every now and then. He loves the whole process of creativity and what it brings to people when they have little money and a lot of talent, so it’s nice to work with him.
What TV do you geek out over?
JC: Oh my god, Game of Thrones is starting and I’m so freaking excited. We’re excited for The Killing to start up again. We just finished The Walking Dead, which I thoroughly enjoyed!
How much would you like to go back to Georgia and be a part of that show?
JC: I’d love it, in a second! All they had to do was call!
Going back to Justified, Since the story has followed a very linear path, even though the show shoots in California, could we see a season 4 or 5 in the winter?
JC:I don’t know, because to do a true Kentucky winter we might not get the same weather in actual Kentucky. That’s interesting though. I don’t know if that’ll happen unless they ship us to Kentucky. [Laughs]
As a fan watching the show, do you believe that without Boyd–and let’s hope that never happens on Justified–would Ava carry on his line of scheming?
JC:It’s really interesting because I think you’ll get an answer to that in episode 313. [Laughs] The thing about Ava and the thing that Tim (Olyphant) was talking about when was on set helping me with a scene that we did, is that she is such a pick-up-the-pieces, carry-on type of girl. It would crush her and break her heart if truly Boyd disappeared in any manner that she would probably carry on his wishes and dreams for Harlan.
What can we expect from the finale and anything you can preview for Season 4?
JC:“Coalition” wrapped up a lot of the storylines in the whole season. We were kind of confused on what they were going to do for 13 (titled “Slaughterhouse”) but they came back with a punch especially for Ava who gets to once again prove herself. I think it sets up a great season 4 for her and Boyd.
Well we wish you luck on a great season finale, and want to congratulate you on a memorable Season 3. Thank you for speaking with us and we wish you much more continued success with Justified and other projects.
JC:Yay! It’s been an exciting season. Thank you so much!