Joseph Lyle Taylor is another one of the new additions to Justified’s second season, and as Mags Bennet’s law enforcement son, he’s the Abel to Jeremy Davies’s Cain. But in a crime family everyone is dirty, so it will be interesting to see how far into the shit Taylor’s Doyle Bennet will fall. His character is not so much enforcement, but janitor, making sure family operations, and the code is followed. Taylor is a working actor who got his start with bit parts in Spike Lee films, and has bounced around from TV to film. We talked mostly about this season, and what it’s like to be a supporting player on a show like this.
So you’ve worked with the director of this episode (Adam Arkin) previously.
JOSEPH LYLE TAYLOR: I knew him from Life, yes, he directed me on that, but I knew him from before. I knew his father, I knew Alan. Alan and I did a show together called 100 Center Street.
Was it different working with him on this show as opposed to Life? Or did it help that you had that rapport?
I think he was about fifteen pounds heavier on Life, so that was the only difference in the directing. He was good then, he’s good now. I like his directing a lot.
Is he an actor’s director?
Totally, and he’s got a good sense of humor. It’s real nice to have somebody who can speak to you on your terms and have fun doing it. Because sometimes it gets to be a bit of a slog. And he’s directed so many of these FX shows now that he sort of knows the tone of all of these shows he comes on to. He’s got a real good sense and a real good eye – and a really great demeanor.
It seems like you have a good amount of freedom as an actor as well
Yeah, well that’s pretty much true on any set – I mean what I find is, if you can get comfortable as an actor then good things happen. You know what I mean? That’s how it goes.
Margo talked about this being a four or five month long process – you started shooting in October and you wrap next week?
Yeah, we started shooting in the end of October, then we took a couple of weeks off for Christmas and what not. So yeah we’re all pretty familiar with one another.
How is that then going from director to director?
I’s interesting, because the directors come in and they all have their different styles. You know Peter Werner came in and directed an episode I did last week, 203, I don’t know if you guys saw it.
Just fantastic you know, so, he’s so good with camera and he’s very sort of straightforward and intellectual, and a smart guy. Then Adam comes in and he’s much more visceral and I don’t know, speaks to you on an actor level. It’s cool, it’s interesting to work with a bunch of different directors.
Do you have a sense then as an actor, you know maybe they’ll make a suggestion and you have to wave it off?
No, I come in ready to shoot it. I’ve got my plan and what I want to do. I mean open enough to take in whatever the other actor is doing, Margo and Jeremy and really just sort of live in the moment. But yeah, I don’t wait for a director to tell me what my character is going to do, you know what I mean? But that’s the thing about episodic television, you know you do a series like this and it’s like I’ve got all the history. You know the director may not know what all the history is.
So in playing the character, do you see that Doyle is having some conflicts with being in law enforcement and then having an obligation to his family?
Well I wouldn’t say a conflict, no. I mean there is a conflict there, but it’s more of a synchronicity I would say.
Trying to find more of a balance to cover his tracks?
Well it is a balance you know? He’s taken this job to permit his family to take the next step into whatever they’re doing. He’s got their back as it were so, yeah I wouldn’t say a conflict, I would say more of a synchronicity.
Does it seem like…I mean is he fearless of not having any repercussions?
Yeah pretty much. Until Rayland comes into town and then suddenly I got a dog looking over me.
Did you click right away with Margo and Jeremy playing a family– did those characters kind of click right away?
I think so. Margo and I have known each other a long time, and Jeremy is pretty easy to get along with.
How in sync are you guys in terms of creating that background and dynamic in the family.
We talk back-story, about who has done what and some of the writers have hinted at some things.
Have you guys tried to incorporate, you know I know when I talk to my brother we start sounding more alike, have you done anything like that to…
You know it does seem like all of the brother’s are very sort of separate in their lives. I think that we all have different fathers, that’s what I think. I mean there is a certain blood love there but as far as getting into Dicky’s business –I’m not into Dicky’s business. I do my thing, I’ve do whatever I’ve got to do to protect him, whatever mom tells me to do – her I listen to.
It seems from the scene you’re shooting that’s starting to come to a head.
Well, the whole thing is about to blow up right now. You know, we’re down to it as it were. Yeah, it’s getting ugly.
Going to be some explosions in the last few episodes?
Oh my God, yeah, it’s pretty big. But you’ll have to tune in. I can’t tell you.
Justified airs Wednesdays on FX at 10pm.