Exclusive Interview: Justified’s David Meunier On Being Johnny Crowder

Justified's David Meunier On Being Johnny Crowder

David Meunier plays the corrupt and troubled Johnny Crowder on FX’s Justified and TV Equals was excited to be able to speak with him about this character, what fans can expect throughout the season, and what it’s like to play a member of a family that doesn’t really get along. Justified airs on FX every Tuesday at 10/9c on FX.

Justified is still going strong in its fourth season. How do you get into the mindset of someone like Johnny?

David Meunier: …You know, it’s not too difficult really, because the writing on the show is so good. Having lived in…Johnny’s shoes for four years…it’s not too difficult.

Johnny has gone through quite a lot, from getting shot in the stomach to all the stuff with Ava and Boyd. Saying he has a over-the-top lifestyle would be a bit of an understatement, but what do you make of how he lives his life?

David Meunier: Well, it has not turned out the way he wanted it too, that’s certainly true. That’s why we’ll find Johnny…trying to get back what he thought was going to be his and get back to the days before he got shot. It’s been a long road to recovery and [there’s] revenge, I think…And he blames his cousin, Boyd, for his current situation, and having stolen Ava away; if you saw the first season, you’ll know that Johnny always had a thing for Ava, and now Boyd has taken her away as well. Yeah, life has not been what he wanted it to be, which has been a really fun thing as an actor to be able to go from walking around…to getting shot and [being] in a wheelchair and now I’m on a cane, all the while just trying to regain the [influence] Johnny had back in the day.

What else do you think really drives him as a character?

David Meunier: I think deep down, what drives Johnny is that need to be seen and heard, which think everybody has to differing degrees, but I think for Johnny, it’s very helpful. I mean, this is someone who…wants to take over the business, and then he wanted to exceed that, so then he went into business with his cousin, and that also fell apart and he ended up getting shot and left for dead…Wanting to be seen and heard, wanting to be the guy in charge of the family business…wanting to be the one who makes the decisions, and at every turn, it’s been denied to him. I think that’s what drives him. It’s probably…one of the deepest things that drives him more than some of the other circumstances…

Right now Johnny is trying to help Wynn kill some of the only family Johnny has left. What do you make of the Crowder family not really acting like a family, to just turn on each other the way they do?

David Meunier: Well, all is fair in love and war, right? (laughs) Yeah…that’s been a pervasive idea since the beginning of the Crowder family. Boyd and his daddy never had any love lost between them. I don’t think Boyd and his brother Bowman, who we never got to meet, I don’t think they had any love lost between [them]…I think it’s…a clan culture down there, where this story takes place. Sometimes, that means having to break off from your family to create and defend your own clan, and that’s kind of the case here. It’s interesting that you’d [go against] your cousin; if they were brothers, then it might be a little bit different. But I think it’s just the fact that their cousins that it allows Johnny to be and do things that…a regular guy would not be able to do, like Devil…Them turning on each other, there’s more underneath that, not really wanting to believe the other person would do that.

What can people expect from Johnny this season aside from trying to kill Boyd?

David Meunier: Well, Johnny’s got some other things going on. You get to see different aspects and lifestyles…you do get to expand Johnny’s world. Johnny has a girlfriend–that gets revealed and she gets to be a useful tool in Johnny’s plan. We’re in the middle of it now…it’s…about wanting to take over, wanting to show Ava that he’s always cared, and we’ll see how it goes. I don’t know how it’s all going to come down.

What do you think makes Justified so compelling to viewers?

David Meunier: You know, I don’t know…The writing of Elmore Leonard, the style of writing and humor, it’s just so fun to play and it’s fun to watch. I really enjoy watching the shows when I get an opportunity, I go back and watching the episodes in the season. Ilove watching the show, even the [episodes] I’m not in, just because I love the language and I love the sense of humor and the situations that the characters get put in, which, sometimes are completely unbelievable, yet so believable at the same time. Someone asked me too why [Justified] has had so much success internationally, and I think it’s just the fact that [it evokes] the American Western…It’s not a traditional Western, but it does have that flavor.

If you could guest star in any other show, which one would it be?

David Meunier: There are so many good shows right now. I’d love to do Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, there’s a show by our producer on Justified…called The Americans with Keri Russell, and I think that looks interesting…I’ve played Russians in the past, so that might be interesting. I could go on and on…I have to really think about comedies, I’ve never done a comedy. It’d be fun to walk in on Modern Family. I don’t know what I would do on Modern Family, but I think that’d be fun.

Yeah, that’d be cool.

David Meunier: Yeah, Johnny Crowder shows up on Modern Family, with my camouflage and my wheelchair. It’d be great. It’d be a little bit of a crossover because I was informed…Eric Stonestreet really wants to do Justified, come on and be a guest on Justified.

Well, that would be interesting.

David Meunier: Yeah, that’d be a nice little crossover. Eric would come over to us for a couple of episodes and I’d go over there for a couple of episodes.

That would be a television event, for sure.

David Meunier: (laughs) Yes, it would. I don’t know how they would promote that, but it would definitely be an event.

  • Jim J.

    David is doing such a wonderful job. Johnny is becoming such a paranoid, back-stabbing little weasel. His scene with Ava, trying to find out what is on Boyd’s mind was so well done. David killed it in that scene displaying the quiet desperation Johnny is feeling because of his betrayal. His story is weaving so well with the rest of the overall arc of the season. Unfortunately for David I do not see Johmmy surviving this season.