Timothy Olyphant Talks About "Catch and Release"

Timothy Olyphant stars in "Catch and Release.". © Columbia Pictures

Timothy Olyphant stars in Catch and Release, a romantic dramedy that marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich). Olyphant plays the film’s main male love interest, a role that differs greatly from most characters in his lengthy acting resume.

Jennifer Garner stars as Gray, a bride-to-be whose fiance dies days before their wedding. Olyphant, Kevin Smith and Sam Jaeger co-star as the deceased's closest friends and the people Gray turns to while struggling to deal with the sudden, unexpected event.

The Appeal of Catch and Release: “Well, that was part of it, an opportunity to play a leading man, a romantic lead. But it was also an opportunity to play a great character. As more opportunities come to me, anyone that goes to movies or watches television knows that oftentimes, the lead roles are the most boring. You try to find the ones that are as fun or as rich as possible. Susannah writes really, really well. It was a fun character because, any of these roles, the comedic ones or Bullock (his char on Deadwood) or whatever, if you can find something that allows the character to be surprising, where you don’t quite see the moment coming, or you’re not quite sure what the character is going to do next, for a conventional leading man role, this had a lot of those moments.”

Working with a Writer/Director: Olyphant has worked with writer/directors before and enjoyed the experience. “It’s always great when there’s clearly one person in charge.

It’s fantastic. Arguably, David Milch [from Deadwood) was both writer and director. It doesn’t mean anything if the writer and the director are the same person and that person sucks. But, it’s always great to have one person tell you a story.”

Reuniting with Jennifer Garner: Olyphant’s known Garner for a long time and was happy to be working with her on Catch and Release.

“I knew her years ago in New York when she and I were both just first starting. It was very refreshing to see that, more or less, she was the same girl I knew then. She’s just a lovely person. She’s a real pro. She knows everybody’s name. She’s on time. She’s one of those people that, despite being a major star, she’s one of the guys. And I really appreciate that a great deal because, for me, this was an opportunity to play a role I’d not played with a big star. She made me feel very relaxed and at home.”

Kevin Smith and Improvisation: Along with Olyphant, Smith plays one of the close group of friends showcased in Catch and Release. Smith’s known for liking to mix things up and throwing in his own lines rather than sticking strictly to the script. Olyphant was fine with that. “At the end of the day, you read enough to know that everybody’s going about it in their own ways,” explained Olyphant. “But it comes down to you’re doing some very simple actions that help the story. My job’s the same. I have a sense, hopefully, of what the scene’s about and what I’m trying to do. And, other than that, you make yourself available to what is going on around you.

It’s like a boxing metaphor. You have a sense of what you’re trying to accomplish but, once you get in the ring, you don’t want to be so stuck in that because, if the other guy does something that you weren’t expecting, it might be a good idea to come up with another plan.

I think that’s all it is. I don’t find working with Kevin any different than working with anybody else. In a way, all it does is force you to listen more because you don’t know what he’s going to say. And that’s not a bad thing.”

On the Delayed Release of Catch and Release: Due to Jennifer Garner’s schedule and other circumstances, Catch and Release was delayed from an April 2006 release and is instead hitting theaters in January 2007. Asked how pushing back the release date affected him career-wise, Olyphant replied, “Catch and Previously Unreleased? (Laughing) I imagine there’s some sort of ripple effect career-wise. Movies come out and raise a certain amount of interest and stuff but, for the most part, I’ve gone about my professional life and it feels more or less the same. At the end of the day, if there’s any type of anxiousness for it to get out there, part of the thing about this kind of a job is you’re telling a story and you want an audience.

That’s the only thing. You kind of look forward to it, but it’s not theater. The beauty of theater is that intimacy and that thing of, ‘I do this and you respond, and we’re all kind of taking part in this.’ The only disappointment of anything being held for a long time is you’re waiting for that thing to bounce back.”