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Five questions with Michael Rapaport

Posted 7:46am on Saturday, Mar. 29, 2014

Michael Rapaport

Michael Rapaport, who has been chewing scenery all season on FX’s Justified, says one of the perks of the job is hanging out with actors whom he admires. Rapaport, who plays dangerous Darryl Crowe Jr., patriarch of a Southern crime family, is a huge fan of Timothy Olyphant (who stars as Raylan Givens, a buckaroo U.S. marshal) and Walton Goggins (charismatic bad guy Boyd Crowder). Then, during the week that Eric Roberts guest-starred, Rapaport was giddy with fanboy exuberance.

“I was trying to find a time to do a monologue from The Pope of Greenwich Village for him, which I never got around to, but I wanted to,” Rapaport says. “Still, there were a lot of pictures taken.” It’s no secret that Justified (9 p.m. Tuesday) is a viewer favorite because of great writing and great performances. Now it’s clear that the show is fun to watch because the cast finds such joy in making it.

1 Everyone who works on Justified praises the writing. You’re no exception, are you?

The scripts have long four-, five-, six-page scenes that are almost like plays within the episode. It’s not something you get to do a lot on television. To be honest, it’s not something you get to do a lot in film — just have a scene with a beginning, a middle and an end without a lot of exposition. And when there is exposition, the writers color it to the characters and make it a little more specific, as opposed to just giving information to the audience. So every time you get a script, you look forward to opening it up.

2 What is it like to say and do things as Darryl that are not considered acceptable social behavior?

It’s been one of the more fun jobs I’ve had in a long time. You scream and yell, you punch people, you smack people. To play somebody that says and does pretty much whatever he wants, it’s like venting.

3 What has been the biggest challenge?

  The accent. It was a lot of work [for a native New Yorker]. It was a lot of time. But I feel like I did a good job and I’m proud of it. It was a great opportunity to do something a little bit different for me.

4 Speaking of different, is it true that you’ve directed an ESPN documentary about the early-’70s glory years of the New York Knicks?

We’re in the middle of finishing up the 30 for 30 movie (titled When the Garden Was Eden). I’m really excited about it. For better or for worse, it’s an exciting time to be a Knicks fan (thanks to the hiring of NBA legend Phil Jackson to run the front office). We’re deep, deep, deep in the throes of that right now.

5 When it comes to TV, is there a guilty-pleasure show that you’re willing to admit you watch?

I don’t know what it is about Real Housewives that I love so much. I always watch it and I’m like, “Is this real? Is this staged?” Let’s assume it is all fake. Well, then there are some talented nonactors out there.

— David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram

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