Boyd Holbrook attends the "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" press conference at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 19, 2023 in Cannes, France
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Boyd Holbrook: Meet the New 'Justified' Villain With a Long History Of Playing Bad Guys

Most actors and actresses don't like to be typecast, but let's be honest — no one plays a villain quite like Boyd Holbrook. The Kentucky-born actor has made a career out of playing bad guys, with memorable performances as comic book nightmares and nefarious sidekicks. And his latest role in the upcoming miniseries Justified: City Primeval only further proves his ability to portray darkly captivating characters.

In the revival of the beloved FX hit Justified, Holbrook stars as Clement Mansell aka the Oklahoma Wildman — a psychopathic, slippery criminal wreaking havoc on the city of Detroit. Like the original series, the show is loosely based on Elmore Leonard's noir tales of crime and punishment. But unlike his book City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit, this limited series takes place 15 years after protagonist U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) "left the hollers of Kentucky" and moved to Miami to help raise his now-15-year-old daughter, Willa (Vivian Olyphant).

According to the show's description, "a chance encounter on a desolate Florida highway" sends our gritty hero to Detroit, where he crosses paths with Mansell and his shady lawyer, Carolyn Wilder (Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor). "These three characters set out on a collision course in classic Elmore Leonard fashion, to see who makes it out of the City Primeval alive." 

So, who is the man behind the villain? Let's get to know Holbrook and the long list of bad guys he's brought to life.

Kentucky Carpenter

Unlike many Hollywood big shots who had childhood dreams of being in front of the spotlight, it doesn't seem that Holbrook planned to become an actor. The Kentucky native had a completely different career in mind — carpentry.

While working on a set at the Jenny Wiley Theatre outside of his hometown, someone suggested he get into modeling. Holbrook listened and signed with his first modeling agency in 2001. He spent a few years in that industry working with major brands including Gucci, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Dior.

"I still don't believe that I am a 'model,'" he revealed in a 2004 interview. "Hopefully just a person that people enjoy being around."

Almost-Instant Fame

Boyd Holbrook speaks onstage during "The Sandman" special video presentation and Q&A panel during 2022 Comic Con International: San Diego at San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California

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During his modeling stint, Holbrook started to pursue his interest in acting. He attended the prestigious Meisner Acting Program at the William Esper Studio, studied voice and speech with Broadway coach Shane Ann Younts, and took classes at New York University and Columbia University.

It didn't take long for all of that hard work and training to pay off. In 2008, he landed his first small role in the biographical drama Milk alongside Sean Penn. From there, Holbrook quickly started taking on more and more prominent gigs. He's appeared in hit series including The Big C and Narcos, as well as major films such as Gone Girl (2014), Logan (2017) and In the Shadow of the Moon (2019).

"I've wanted to play richer, fuller characters," he told The Fashionisto back in 2014. "Sometimes the supporting roles are better. ... I think it's smart to start out that way rather than some big blockbuster that you're the lead in. Not the right time, you know. I'm very patient."

More recently, Holbrook played The Corinthian in Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman and Klaber in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The characters Holbrook is known for portraying are anything but dull — and, according to him, his upcoming role in Justified is no exception.

"That's going to be fantastic," he told Inverse in 2022. "I saw some cuts of that. It's kind of like Logan on bath salts." 


Acting isn't Holbrook's only talent. A true artist at heart, he has a number of other creative pursuits that have garnered attention, such as sculpting. His piece Iscariot — an alternate view of the classic biblical tale of Judas betraying Jesus — appeared in the Rare Gallery in 2008.

According to the piece's description, "Holbrook captures the vulnerability and inner conflict of Judas by re-imagining him as a nine year old boy covered in flowers and bees while Jesus, sans gruesome imagery of torture and crucifixion, is depicted in a calming bubble bath."

He's also a screenwriter and has written a number of short films, including Peacock Killer, which was his directorial debut. In an exclusive with Interview Magazine, he also revealed that he plays banjo and guitar.

Family Man

Tatiana Pajkovic and Boyd Holbrook depart the "Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2023 in Cannes, France

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Outside of the spotlight, Holbrook is a devoted husband to Danish actress Tatiana Pajkovic. They originally met on the set of their movie Very Good Girls in 2012 and were married in 2014. The couple welcomed their son, Leon Day, in 2018. While Holbrook is pretty inactive on social media, Pajkovic often posts sweet pictures on Instagram of the trio spending quality family time together.

In a recent interview with People, he revealed that she's definitely steering the ship when it comes to how they're raising their son. "She's taught me about 95% of the things I know," he said. "My wife is amazing. She's got a great family."

Is Justified Coming Back In 2023?

Yes — everyone's favorite neo-Western drama is making its grand (albeit limited) return this year. Justified: City Primeval will premiere on FX on July 18.

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