Pat Clark

Clark: FX network catches Olyphant's rising star

Fado singer Mariza (Isabel Pinto)
Fado singer Mariza (Isabel Pinto)

Um, rewrite.

Last week, I had a column done and ready to run today about Timothy Olyphant and how excited I was that the Modesto-bred actor surely would be returning for season three of the critically acclaimed FX network show "Damages."

His character, Wes, quite remarkably didn't get killed off or shipped off to prison for life when season two ended last month.

There even was a little tease at the end that suggested a return for Wes, come season three.

And then ...

I was forwarded a link Monday to The Hollywood Reporter Web site that announced Olyphant, a 1986 graduate of Beyer High School and arguably the most recognizable of Modesto's three currently working actors, is starring in a pilot for that same FX network based on a short story by Elmore Leonard.

Huh?

Talk about the questions. How did that happen? What's going to become of his "Damages" character? Will he do both shows? If the pilot isn't picked up, will he stay on — or return to — "Damages?"

According to a variety of Web reports, Olyphant will play U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in the new series, which is based on the story "Fire in the Hole" by crime writer extraordinaire Leonard.

Raylan, reportedly, is a modern-day marshal from the Old West school of law enforcement, which seems like a good fit for an actor who gained much prominence for his intense portrayal of Seth Bullock in the much-praised but little-watched Old West series "Deadwood" on HBO.

The new pilot is exciting news on the Olyphant front. But those questions remain about "Damages."

Olyphant is in Iowa these days working on "The Crazies," an upcoming horror film about some seriously tainted Kansas water, so I couldn't ask him before this week's deadline. But I'm working on it.

It would be great if Olyphant got his own show on FX, but I have to admit, seeing a Modesto boy on one of my favorite series every week has been pretty cool. Plus, as mentioned earlier, his character actually survived both death and imprisonment — no mean feat on "Damages."

Seriously, pretty much anyone whose name isn't Glenn Close or Rose Byrne has his or her character killed off or imprisoned at some point on "Damages." (Although, frankly, I wouldn't enter into any multimillion-dollar real-estate ventures if my name were Rose Byrne, either. The show's writers have precious little in the way of mercy, and this is really Glenn Close's show).

Close leads and Byrne co-stars in the knockout litigation-based drama that has more twists and backstabbings than this avid viewer can keep up with. Most of the characters have multiple secrets and pretty much everyone is deceitful, dangerous and yet somehow likable.

And, not surprisingly, Olyphant's character showed up this past season as deceitful, dangerous and yet somehow likable.

Clearly, the folks at FX like Olyphant, too, given the plans for the pilot. Either way — on "Damages" or on a new series — it looks like Olyphant's star continues to rise.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

A pair of benefit rock shows this weekend aim to aid two families that have suffered recent tragic losses.

An all-ages show at the Grizzly Rock Cafe in Turlock has been organized to help the family of Carlos Garcia, whose body was found in a canal in early April. The Saturday show features local bands not an airplane, Soup, Hickory, Matty Comer & the Experience, Wicked Hickie and DAM. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the show begins at 5. Entry is $10, free to ages 12 and under. The Grizzly Rock is at the Taylor Road exit in Turlock, 4905 Golden State Blvd.

On Sunday, the Fat Cat Music House and Lounge will host an age 21-and-over benefit rock show for the Tracy family of slain 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. The lineup features more than 10 bands, including Anthem, Seip, Hickory, The Venting Machine and DAM. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the show begins at 4. Donation is $5 at the door.

Speaking of Anthem, check out the Modesto-based band's new music video Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on local TV's "Big Valley Scene," Comcast Channel 26. The video is for Anthem's new single, "Love Can Make You ... ." The video also makes its debut later Tuesday night on YouTube and on the band's MySpace site. The song is from Anthem's self-titled CD, which was produced by the keyboardist from the band Smash Mouth.

If you feel like a trip to San Francisco is in order next week, plan to check out the CD-release party by Modesto band Solar Powered People at Bottom of the Hill. The band plays a concert Thursday at 7 p.m. at the S.F. nightspot, 1233 17th St. Entry is $10. Call 415-621-4455 for more information.

Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at pclark@modbee.com.

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