Joelle Carter talks the JUSTIFIED season finale!

When I heard the news that one of my favorites, Timothy Olyphant, was headlining a series on my favorite network (FX), I was beyond excited.  When it turned out to be an incredible series with brilliant writing, directing, acting by all cast members, you name it, I was even more excited.  When it was picked up for a second season, I knew that I had found a show to fill the SONS OF ANARCHY void.  That show, JUSTIFIED, ends its first season tonight at 10PM with another incredible episode that once again blows my mind and I find myself waiting with baited breath for season 2 to get here now!

Joelle Carter, who plays the beautiful and damaged Ava Crowder, gave me a ring the other day to talk about what to expect from the finale, why now is a great time to catch up, and what she knows about season 2.  We also bonded over our shared great taste in music!

This show has come out swinging and I love it!
Yay!  I’m glad you enjoy it!  It’s fun, isn’t it?

It is so much fun!  I think what FX does, and what the show does so well is that these characters have major flaws and you still love them and root for them; it’s so intriguing.
Yay, I love that you said that!  That’s what attracted me to it!

That was my first question – what brought you to this role?
Elmore Leonard, I was already a fan.  That was like, I’ll just do it without reading it!  No!  Then I read it, and it was all of the flaws, and yet I still was so attracted to this woman. I didn’t want to judge her, I wanted to help her move through her life and get on with it, and have fun, and cry, and yes, they’re exciting characters.

Have you have a favorite scene or episode this season?
I still love the pilot.  It was such a strong show all the way through. All of the characters they introduce, and they took them away for a couple of episodes, and it was like “where are these amazing characters!”  Even the two big guys, they never came back, that helped robbed the banks and stuff.  The oddity of like, her immediately being so strong with Raylan.  It’s kind of like that crush that you never get over.  I think she’s so freshly wounded, she’s just going for any kind of life that comes her way.  She grabs on with both arms for the ride, and I was like, this is great.  I can go anywhere with this!

Everyone can relate to that because everyone has that crush that they can’t get over!  I remember my second grade crush!
[laughs] I know, right!  Even if you’ve changed so much, you can find that out later!  Your immediate reaction is like, yay, look at us, we’re back together again!

She of course has a bit of competition in Winona (Natalie Zea), the ex.  It’s funny – I love Natalie so much, and I love you so much, so it’s like who do you root for?
Isn’t that great?  I think it’s perfect!  We even kind of look similar, really making it hard for the audience there.  Gotta help Raylan out, poor guy!

We have the finale tonight.  What can you tell us?
Did you see the last episode?

Um, yes!
Yes [laughs]It’s all be kind of cracked wide open I think.  I believe the last episode was the second strongest for me, for my viewing pleasure, right after the pilot.  There’s one other one, I can’t remember which one.  I think it sets it up really great that anything can happen.  Ava’s so wounded and lost now, it’s like poor girl.  I can’t really tell you anything!  You can’t miss it!  If you’re involved –

Exactly – you watch the last episode, and it’s like, ok, I can’t stop now, I have to see what’s coming!  Does the season end with a feeling of Oh I can’t wait for Season 2, or did it wrap up?
There’s some wrap ups and some wide opens, definitely.  Enough to be like, wait a minute, now I gotta know!

I always feel bad when I’m talking to someone and their response has to be “I cannot tell you but you should watch!”
[laughs]  It’s like this.  I really want to have this conversation with you, but next Wednesday, ha!

Why is now a good time to watch the show, or why should they watch the finale and get ready for next season?
That’s a good question!  I think that if you haven’t seen the show, I think a taste of the finale will give you a little opening to the characters that we were just talking about, and how great and greatly flawed they are.  Maybe you’d want to go back and see where they came from from the beginning of the series to get to where they are now, and where they’re left, you’re definitely going to want to take a step with them into the future.

Has there been talks for story lines for next season?
I think once they got the final “it’s going to go again”, they’re definitely brainstorming.  Probably sleeping and breathing and eating what’s going to happen.  As far as I know, they have not shared yet!

Is there anything you would love to see happen for Ava?
[laughs] I just don’t want her to lose her complexity.  I just to pile it on.  Give her more.  Give her more trouble, give her more love, give her more turmoil.  Pile it on until she explodes.

It’s more fun to watch and I’m sure it’s more fun to play when a character is not one dimensional.
Definitely!  And sometimes you see what you’ve done, and it’s like, wow, somebody could totally take it that way too.  People ask me questions about her as a character and I’m so amazed how much I don’t judge her, I embrace her.  You know, if you were in those shoes, you don’t know what you’d be doing!  Learning from her.

Was there research into how to play this character, or just something you drew on from years in the business?
I think experience as an actor, experience in life.  I’ve also talked to a few people about battered women and abusive relationships.  And the rest is kind of circumstantial.  You’ve been in love, you’ve been heartbroken, you have dispair.  It just kind of comes to you from life experience.  And then the whole flavor of Kentucky, and that, I think I draw a lot from being raised in Georgia, and the south, and I have quite a few friends from Kentucky, I’ll say that.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of The Watson Twins?

Oh yeah!
They’re my friends!

I saw them in concert a few months ago – love them!
Aren’t they the best?  And then also, Everest, her husband’s from Everest.

The cast chemistry, I think, is awesome.  Any of these characters, you can get them together, and it sparks.  Was that something that happened right away?
I think everyone kind of, there was never any friction. I felt like it kind of just happened.  The stars were aligned or they had the right moons when they cast this!  Brilliant!  I worked with Nick Searcy, who plays Art, Tim’s boss, we did COLD STORAGE, a thriller flick together, so as soon as I saw him, it was like AH!  Seeing an old friend again!  I’m not sure if anybody else has worked together.  I think Natalie and Walton were on THE SHIELD but I don’t know if they worked together.

What else do you have coming up that we can look forward to?
I have a feature that was just released called TO BE FRIENDS.  That’s going to start coming out maybe in some film festivals.  I think it’s already hit Youtube!  That is definitely going to find its place somewhere.  And then I’m working on developing some projects with a few people.  Hopefully those will come out in the near future.

What do you watch on TV when you get a chance?
I love BREAKING BAD.  I don’t watch a lot of TV.  I have to record it.  Yeah, I know it’s bad.  We’ve gotten into GLEE. I love BREAKING BAD.

This season has blown my mind.
The finale is coming up!  The writing is so brilliant.  I could watch him all day, I could watch him dry paint.  Brilliant brilliant!