Actor Timothy Olyphant bought a house just before his TV show Deadwood was canceled. He needed money. So what does an actor do? Take more jobs. He explained to Rolling Stone that he decided to take the role of Agent 47 in 2007’s Hitman movie because he had bills to pay.
He took that job and the villain in another 2007 movie, Live Free or Die Hard, to help pay off his house. “How about the villain of Die Hard?” Olyphant says he remembers being asked. “I said, ‘Sure.’ And they’re like, ‘Do you want to read the script?’ I said, ‘I get it. I’m in. I just bought a house. Did you not hear? They just canceled my fucking show. Yes, I’ll do it.'”
“‘What about this video game adaptation?’ ‘Yes to that too. I’m in. I’ve got to make up some TV money,'” Olyphant said.
He said working on those movies gave him valuable experience, perhaps even more than projects that he personally cares about more. Referring to Hitman, Olyphant said about his work ethic, “Find yourself bald in Bulgaria doing some pile of sh**, that will get you up a little earlier in the morning and make you work a little harder.”
The Hitman movie made almost $100 million at the box office, while Live Free or Die Hard made more than $380 million. Olyphant did not return to play Agent 47 again in 2015’s Hitman: Agent 47, with the role instead going to Homeland’s Rupert Friend.
Deadwood ran for three seasons on HBO before its cancellation. Olyphant and other cast members from the show came back for a TV movie on HBO that will premiere on May 31.