Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

David Meunier on the Dixie Mafia and Playing 'Justified' Double-Dealer Johnny Crowder

By Caitlin Hughes | Indiewire March 12, 2013 at 3:55PM

David Meunier has seen his share of backstabbing and intrigue on “Justified.” As Johnny Crowder, he was next in line to take over his family’s crime syndicate after his Uncle Bo (M.C. Gainey) -- until wayward cousin Boyd (Walton Goggins) got in his way. When Johnny tipped Boyd off about his uncle's Oxy shipment, Bo retaliated by shooting his nephew in the stomach, subsequently putting him in a wheelchair.
0
David Meunier as Johnny Crowder in 'Justified'
Prashant Gupta/FX David Meunier as Johnny Crowder in 'Justified'

David Meunier has seen his share of backstabbing and intrigue on “Justified.” As Johnny Crowder, he was next in line to take over his family’s crime syndicate after his Uncle Bo (M.C. Gainey) -- until wayward cousin Boyd (Walton Goggins) got in his way. When Johnny tipped Boyd off about his uncle's Oxy shipment, Bo retaliated by shooting his nephew in the stomach, subsequently putting him in a wheelchair. With Bo dead and Boyd now running the Crowder family business, Johnny feels more than a bit supplanted -- he blames Boyd for his state and wants revenge. He also has some lingering desire for Boyd’s fiancée, Ava (Joelle Carter), which doesn’t help cousinly relations.

“Justified,” now in its fourth season, finds Johnny back in the forefront as he enacts a stealthy, multi-pronged attack on Boyd, partnering with Dixie Mafia head Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) to kill him while at the same time blackmailing Boyd's new right hand man Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard). The show, which airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX, never shies away from deep character explorations and interesting plot twists, and Meunier’s Johnny Crowder is most definitely indicative of how layered and conflicted a "Justified" character can be. Meunier spoke with Indiewire by phone, helping to reveal Johnny’s motivations for and the internal struggle behind going against Boyd, the surprise of returning to the show in season two, and the overall pleasure of working in the set’s collaborative atmosphere.

Meurnier 2

The Crowder clan has an amazing Shakespearean dynamic of double-crossing each other to get that place on the throne. Do you feel that Johnny thinks being the head of the family business is rightfully his place in the world?

In a word, absolutely. That’s Johnny’s mission in life, that’s what set him on his path to betray Boyd in the first place. Being groomed by Uncle Bo to take over the family business and to have it all taken away from him.

Especially since Boyd spent all those years blowing stuff up and preaching to Crowder’s Commandos...

Yeah, all those years while Johnny was running the family business with Uncle Bo -- and even Arlo [Raymond Barry], in the early days -- Boyd was off blowing things up, and we learn later that he was also in Kuwait and running churches in the woods. He was doing everything but the family business.

This season, Johnny is playing many different angles, which is intriguing to watch. Starting with his double-crossing of Boyd, do you think that’s something Johnny realistically sees himself with getting away with, despite Boyd being such a shrewd character?

Yeah, I think initially he thinks that’s possible. There’s no love between Boyd and Wynn Duffy, or the Dixie Mafia. So, Johnny’s figured out a way to say, “Well, look -- I can get you what you need, just help me get me what I need.” That was a reasonable plan.

What you do think Johnny has to gain by partnering with Wynn Duffy? Since he’s probably one of the most notoriously slippery characters in Harlan County?

It’s assumed that Wynn Duffy is the operational head of the Dixie Mafia. So there is a heroin trade running through that part of the world that’s coming from Detroit, and Wynn is the one handling that. And Johnny thinks, “I’ll be the one to expand Wynn’s enterprises” and also benefit himself in the process.

"There’s a 40-year history that these two men have, back from when they were kids."

Can you talk about Johnny’s motivations in blackmailing Colton? It seems Johnny almost feels usurped in the business by the guy when Boyd brings him into the fold...

I think there are two things at play with Colton. For one, Johnny has no love for him -- when they first meet, Colton kicks Johnny’s cane out from under him, and he goes crashing to the floor. So that’s not a very good introduction, for starters. Then it’s very clear that Boyd brings Colton in to be his right hand man, therefore making Johnny’s position in the business unclear.

Once Johnny figures out that Colton never killed Ellen May, then that’s a feather in his cap. That’s something he knows that Boyd doesn’t. And Johnny’s got this thing going with Wynn Duffy and all that, and he’s got to play like he’s on Boyd’s team. Any time he can show up and say, “I’ve got this information this really matters,” i.e. that Colton’s a liar, it’s only going to benefit Johnny and make him look better in Boyd’s eyes.

And despite his clear issues with Boyd, do you think there’s any lingering familial loyalty left for Johnny with him? Is that perhaps part of why he tells Boyd that Colton is a liar?

That’s where it gets a little muddy, in terms of relationship. Johnny has the clarity of knowing what he wants, but at the same time, we’re talking about his cousin, not just some random guy. There’s a 40-year history that these two men have, back from when they were kids. Johnny has feelings for Ava, of course, and always has, and Boyd is someone who is very important to Ava, and that in some ways gets under Johnny’s skin. He wants to get rid of Boyd, but he doesn’t want to hurt Ava… but he wants Ava to himself. So it gets very complicated.

But telling Boyd about Colton was sort of a double play. He is letting Boyd know that it is all a big lie, and Ava is potentially the one in danger here. And also it’s “hey, I know something important, and see how good I am?” Telling Boyd puts Johnny back as his right hand man.

Meurnier 4

Back in season one, when Bo shoots Johnny, it was somewhat understood that Johnny was mortally wounded. So when Johnny returned crippled in season two, was that a surprise to you, or did you have the intel that Johnny survived?

That’s a funny story. Adam Arkin was the director of the final episode of season one, and he had all these ideas of how my stunt double was going to fly off the porch [after having been shot], like six feet in the air. And Fred Golan, the writer of that episode, who is also one of our producers, said, “You know, we need to shoot this in a way that Johnny could potentially not be dead. [laughs] And that’s where they left it. So I thought, “Maybe I’m not dead!”

Then at the beginning of the second season, I get a phone call and they said, “Johnny is alive. He did survive. We’re just trying to find an episode to bring him in.” That was very early, so months go by -- sometime in January -- and I look at the calendar and was doing the math, and they were at episode eight or nine at that point, and I think, “Johnny’s dead. It’s been so long that I can’t possibly come back.” Two days after having that thought, my manager calls and says, “Guess what? Johnny’s alive, and he’s in the next episode, and you’re going to work tomorrow.”

This article is related to: Television, TV Interviews, Interviews, Justified, David Meunier, Timothy Olyphant, Elmore Leonard, Graham Yost, FX






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More