“That was probably the most nerve-racking experience I’ve ever had on that show,” reveals Kaitlyn Dever about her showcase episode “Burned” this season on “Justified.” In her recent interview with Gold Derby (watch below), she adds, “Shooting that scene… I could hear my heart beating because I have to get up and present this giant speech and act all tough.”
Dever has played Kentucky teenager Loretta McCready since she was just 13 starting in the second season of the FX drama series. In the final arc of the series, the now-18-year-old returns to Harlan to stake her claim to the pending legal pot business. She must stand up to the looming drug kingpin Avery Markham (Critics’ Choice winner Sam Elliott) and attempt to woo the local citizens to her side. She has had U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) watching out for her throughout the years.
Of her stand-out moment, she says, “When it was time to do the scene in the Pizza Portal with my big speech, Walton Goggins was there, and I was doing the speech in front of him. And, I’ve got Timothy in the back watching me. And then I’ve got a speech I’m yelling at towards Sam Elliott. And the dialogue, too. I wanted to get it perfect, and so I worked on it for a long time. I was just salivating over that because it was such an amazing opportunity for me as an actor and also for Loretta.”
When Dever began on the program, she was only scheduled to be in a couple of episodes as a suddenly-orphaned child. Then, her character was taken in by the villainous Mags Bennett (Emmy winner Margo Martindale) and slated for much more work. Of that early time, she says, “They kept bringing me back, and [she] became this bigger character, and the story became more complex for her, and her journey just grew and grew and grew. It ended up being this thing that was bigger than I ever expected.”
Dever is the only “Justified” entry as Best Drama Guest Actress this year on the Emmy ballot. Oscar champ Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard”) would have entered there as well, but new Emmy rules dictate that performers in 50% or more of the episodes must compete in supporting.
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