The role of Raylan has won him acclaim but Tim still keeps a weather eye on that Jeremy Renner.

I remember seeing an interview with Timothy Olyphant a while back. I’m unable to locate it  now, unfortunately, but let me know if you find it. Any Tim appearance is an undeniably entertaining prospect – he’s happy to riff on anything from stealing stuff from movie sets to wondering why his kids consistently fail to recognise how cool he is.

But in this one, he was talking about his mother and her attitude to his success. It quickly transpired that, never mind about the unappreciative offspring, he may not be all that as far as Mom’s concerned either.

It sounds like he is destined to come forever second in her estimation to ‘that Jeremy Renner’, as Tim’s mum is wont to refer to the other well-known actor from the Justified star’s hometown of Modesto, in California.


Modesto, CA: water, wealth, contentment, health.

As in ‘That Jeremy Renner’s in another movie’; ‘That Jeremy Renner film won an award’; ‘That Jeremy Renner’s been nominated for an Oscar’. I can imagine Tim biting his knuckles each time his maternal parent comments on TJR’s latest triumph.

Some mothers have an infuriating tendency to notice a neighbour’s kid and eulogise their every deed while their own progeny seethe in repressed resentment and envy. Whatever they do, they are doomed to fall short in comparison to the paragon down the road or from the same school. An unspoken rivalry develops, of which the much-lauded kid is blissfully ignorant.

My mum used to rave about the kids two houses down till we got heartily sick of hearing how much better, cuter, blonder,[1] more accomplished, etc. than us they were. And it looks like Tim has his work cut out trying to match the achievements of ‘that Jeremy Renner’.


Renner in a relaxed mode, probably not even aware they hail from the same town.

The two actors attended the same school, Fred C. Beyer High, though Tim has a couple of years on Jeremy. I know who I think is ageing better, however.

Jeremy Lee Renner was born in Modesto and went on to junior college in the town. While Timothy David Olyphant was born in Honolulu and studied Fine Art at the University of Southern California. I’m thinking that’s a more prestigious institution than Modesto Junior College. So score one to Tim.

Tim swam competitively at USC after making the final of the National Championships in the 200m Individual Medley in 1986. But both Modesto boys also took theatre and acting electives at college, prompting a change of direction.

It would be interesting to know if Jeremy is similarly dogged by Tim’s successes – if someone in his family constantly holds these up against his own to see how he measures up.

Talking about measuring up, Tim at 6’ is a couple of inches taller than Jeremy, at least. Score two to Timothy.

But although Facebook Olyphandom seems to increase by about 10,000 every day despite minimal posting, he’s still lagging behind the Rennster, whose following is growing at a similarly impressive rate. Score one to Jeremy.

Timothy is yet to headline a major dramatic movie although he has starred in perfectly creditable thrillers such as A Perfect Getaway and Hitman and horrors like The Crazies. Jeremy, however, began in a similar vein with parts in stuff like 28 Weeks Later but was soon feted for his role in The Hurt Locker, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination and many other Best Actor awards.

Awards, schmawards, I hear Olyphacionados[2] cry. And I’d be the first to agree that awards don’t always go to the most deserving. Must look good on your résumé though. So score two to Jeremy Lee. (Plus he took his mother to the Oscars when he was nominated. Imagine how that went down with Ma Olyphant.)

Tim’s plaudited stint as Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified is set to end with this final season without any Emmy (although he was once nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series). Although fun (and at times definitely sexy) to watch the cowboy-hatted one’s shambolic progress in his Kentucky of Oxycontin dealers, old frenemies and luckless whores, I don’t think the part stretched Tim’s acting chops all that much. But the trigger-happy lawman was at least a complex character replete with fallibilities galore, offset by charm and a fundamental honesty. And with he and nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) forever thrown into each other’s paths (and sometimes arms), the dynamic was at least always compelling (I look at such duelling bromantic relationships here).


Seriously? Not another asterisking nomination …

Oly’s previous TV work included the role of Seth Bullock in Deadwood,[3] parts in Damages, cameos in The Office, Sex and the City and more recently The Mindy Project.

It remains to be seen whether the Olyphantastic one will move back into film once released from Justified and what kind of parts he’ll get offered.

Renni has eschewed long-term TV series for film work in the main.[4] His last dramatic movie outing was in 2013’s obscenely successful American Hustle, which saw him in the illustrious company of such award darlings as Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. Together the ensemble scooped the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The picture was nominated for Oscars in several categories but failed to pick any up.[5]

Other ventures in production and post-production are all action movie sequels, including an unnamed Bourne follow-up, a second Mission Impossible flick and another Avengers outing, all I’m sure gratifyingly lucrative but excuse me while I stifle a yawn.

I’m a great fan of Olyphant’s sense of humour, as explored in a previous blog. He’s a stimulating participant in any talk show roster and has joked about possibly hosting his own show. He certainly outwits the hosts when it comes to repartee. I also like the fact that he always seems to drink whatever’s provided for him.[6]

Jezza can seem a little earnest in comparison, even nobly taking on the mantle of a United Nations Goodwill Peace Ambassador to promote mine-clearing in Afghanistan. I can’t imagine him doing decidedly average Robert Wagner impressions, which Timothy can oblige you with at a moment’s notice. And which Bonnie Hunt characterised as Tim sounding like William Shatner doing Robert Wagner. To which Tim responds, ‘Listen, listen. I never said I was good at these things.’[7] I don’t know who to score one to here.

But actually, Renner is a good-natured guest, prepared to share tales of explosive diarrhoea on Ellen and how he planned on taking his ‘momma’ to the Oscars. ‘There was no choice. She endured me flying out of her uterus.’ He goes on to give make-up tips so he’s a pretty decent value talk show commodity too.

For promotion on I Am Number Four[8] Tim chats hilariously about the tall alien monsters, the Mogs. When called upon to describe them, he struggles, evidently not having paid that much attention: ‘Here’s what I recall. They were tall and fairly unattractive.’ He’s asked if they were on stilts. He has no idea but does remember: ‘By the way, those actors were pretty big already. … And you know what, they may have been unattractive to start with as well. … I was like, put a couple of lines on that guy …’ and the interviewer concludes the thought for him ‘He’s good to go, right?’

I can imagine that when Tim refers to ‘that Jeremy Renner’, he might mentally add an adjective between ‘that’ and the other actor’s name, as in ‘not that [expletive bleeped out] Jeremy Renner’. I know I would be tempted to.

Renner has kept in touch with his roots, perhaps something that Tim’s mother may  also appreciate about him. In 2010, Modesto Junior College presented him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He also headlined at a benefit for a Modesto arts centre. Score another for Jeremy.

The Rennersance man also enjoys renovating and restoring dilapidated Hollywood properties. But he’s down to earth in other ways too, as demonstrated by his reaction to being encased in a bomb suit in brain-boiling heat for the aforementioned Hurt Locker:

I was like: ‘Get this thing off me!’ I wanted to punch people. You could not pay me enough money to do it again.


Tim in a cute hat and not much else.

Tim similarly got close to losing his rag in a scene from A Perfect Getaway, having been assured that a fall wouldn’t hurt him.

There’s that shot – it’s in the trailer, I think – when I jump off – looks like I’m jumping off a cliff with a knife. So I’m like rigged on this cable …  it’s like fifteen feet – they’ll stop you three feet before you hit the ground. Guess what happened? I just jumped fifteen feet and went and hit the ground.  … Holy crap! I hit … [We might have a commercial but this is a good story, I’m in it now] … I sat there and everybody comes running and I did like this and said ‘Just back the fuck up’ [sorry, we’ll edit that out] and I’m a tough guy …my eyes started to water. Oh my gosh. And then I was like, ‘You know what, I’m fine. Check the gate.’

Renner, known for the intensity he invests in his characters, can also be roused to rage when his privacy is invaded.

renner in scarf

Jeremy looking totally hetero and macho.

How about I go peek in your window, take what underwear you wore last night, whose husband you were fucking, and shove that in the megaphone throughout your neighborhood? How does that feel? It’s none of your goddamn business.[9]

And he turned on some joker in a bar one Christmas although it sounds like the guy had it coming, having open-mindedly called Jeremy ‘a fag’ because he was wearing a scarf.

Then he shoved my sister and I got behind him and I choked him out – put him to sleep. I’m not violent.

Anyway, these guys are at the peak of their powers and careers – I can’t wait to see what they are going to do next. Well, except I think I’ll give the action sequels a miss, Jeremy. I don’t suppose anyone is really keeping score. Except perhaps Timothy’s mum.

[1] And how come blond is associated with angels? The media always describe any fair-haired missing child as a ‘blond, blue-eyed angel’. Like dark-haired, dark-eyed and dark-skinned kids can’t be angelic and somehow deserve to go missing.

[2] Okay, maybe that’s stretching the words made up out of Timbo’s name a tad too far.

[3] Not even the presence of Olyphant could induce me to watch Ian McShane swearing in a ridiculously over-the-top manner for an hour or so.

[4] He was a regular character in The Unusuals but I’m unable to comment on that, having never heard of it.

[5] I know one person who probably didn’t shed too many tears about that.

[6] Generally in a mug, I always wonder exactly what this beverage is – just coffee/tea or something with a kick?

[7] See interview here.

[8] How in this world does someone of Tim’s attractiveness and talents wind up playing second fiddle to slab-faced Alex Pettyfer?

[9] You know what? I think I’ll avoid delving into Jeremy’s personal life as I’m already facing a libel suit from another blog subject. It sounds like Jez might just have this badger put down.


5 responses »

  1. Judi says:

    This season is not the final season; next season has been announced as being the final season based on a decision by show runner Graham Yost.

  2. […] [2] And I marvel at the Justified star’s proficiency here. And examine his rivalry with Jeremy Renner. […]

  3. Corey says:

    Olphant’s mother is a “JLR” fan and bugs Tim about it? Really? I’ve never heard that one before. And I’ve also never heard of any rivalry between Renner and Olyphant just because they went to Beyer high school and lived in Modesto.
    I can tell you that is ANY ill-will is between them, it’s fully on Olyphant’s side. Renner is a down to Earth nice guy. And IMP the two actors are complete opposites:

    *Renner does not carry any attitude with him and does not toot his own horn. T.O. DOES. And he’s been doing it all his life. – He’s one of those guys, that if you are friends with him, you like him. But if you’re not, he can be a pompus dick who is easy to dislike.

    *Renner takes pride in being born and raised in the same town I was – Modesto, CA. He graduated from Beyer in 1986 I think. I graduated from a rival school in ModestoL Davis High School. (And though I heard that Renner player baseball at Beyer, I don’t remember pitching against him. And therefore don’t remember him)
    I DO remember Olyphant. Beyer HS students generally came from upper class to upper-middle class neighborhoods and Davis students generally came from middle to lower-class neighborhoods. Beyer HS students were preppy snobs and Timmy was no acception.. (This is why Davis HS beat the snot out of Beyer’s crap football team’s for decades.)
    I heard Timmy considered himself an artist at USC? This intrigues me because I’m am a known artist from Modesto and this is the first time I’ve heard of him being an “artist.” Something tells me he’s BS’ing the world, but I could be wrong. Do you know where some if his “artwork” can be found?

    Just curious, but why are you writing about a couple actors from Modesto? I mean, nobody cares about Modesto accept people who actually grew up here…
    Anyway, it was a fairly interesting read. One thing though: Don’t score any points for Olyphant because he was an art major at USC. I attended Modesto Jr College for two years. And while Renner was there, MJC’s art dept. ranked amoung the highest in the NATION for a few years….and it probably rivaled USC.

    • Thanks for the comment, Corey. Fascinating stuff. You’re right: I don’t think there is any ill will between the two. Maybe it was Olyphant’s way of acknowledging that Renner was more successful; and that his own ma wouldn’t let him forget it. Noted re. the art departments too. I guess I thought it was interesting that both actors hailed from the same town.

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