Sam Elliott Revealed How ‘Justified’ Creators ‘Took a Shot’ to Get Him on Show

by Clayton Edwards

Sam Elliott was a busy man back in 2015. He starred in two films and played the main antagonist in a season of the hit show Justified. However, before that, he had a long and storied career. In fact, he had already been in nearly a hundred films and television shows by that time. There are some iconic titles among his filmography. For instance, Elliott is known for movies like Roadhouse, The Big Lebowski, and Tombstone. So, some might have been surprised to see him on a television show.

After all, it isn’t every day that you get to see a star of Sam Elliott’s caliber on the small screen. On the other hand, the role of Justified‘s sixth-season antagonist, Avery Markham, fit him like a glove. Markham is described as a Kentucky gangster who made his fortune growing marijuana in Colorado. Then he returns to his home state hoping to reclaim his old turf. So, he tries to strongarm landowners out of their acreage. He hopes to use that land to grow more of the Devil’s lettuce once it is legal in Kentucky. However, if landowners turn down his offers, he just kills them. He’s an imposing force. At the same time, it was interesting to see Sam Elliott play a ruthless villain.

In 2015, Sam Elliott sat down with Now to talk about his busy year. During that interview, he discussed how he ended up taking the role of Avery Markham on Justified.

How Sam Elliott Got the Role of Avery Markham

That year, Sam Elliott appeared in three very different roles. This prompted the interviewer to ask, “Did you make a conscious effort to chase different sorts of roles, or did it just work out that away?”

Elliott said that it was hard for him to say why the year turned out the way it did. He said that the projects just came to him and he liked them. Then, he went on to talk about getting the part on Justified. About that, Sam Elliott said, “Justified, as I understood from Graham Yost and the rest of the producers, they just took a shot and reached for me.”

At that point, the interviewer interjected saying that it must have been flattering to get an offer like that from a hit television show. That’s when Sam Elliott pulled back the curtain about his career and actors in general.

“People have these misconceptions of actors in general,” Elliot explained. “That you’re not gonna be interested in working with them, or they think you’re busy all the time. They think you turn things down all the time.” He then dispelled those misconceptions, “And, you know, that’s not the case. When Justified came my way it was an opportunity to do something totally different and work with people I have great respect for on both sides of the camera.” Furthermore, Sam Elliot said that the script was good. He’s a sucker for a good script. “A great script will get me to go to work, regardless of what it is.”