Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, stop reading now. Joelle Carter takes inside the moment Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Ava fans have been waiting for, and teases what’s next (swinger party!). For exec producer Graham Yost’s weekly postmortem, click here.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The engagement scene made me tear up. Do you all toast after filming a scene like that?
JOELLE CARTER: I think we were toasting tea and coffee because it was so cold and in the middle of the night. [Laughs] Ingrid Escajeda, [who wrote the episode with Dave Andron], was like, “It’s everything that I imagined. I cried.” It’s a great moment in the history of the show that, I think, will be memorable for people, because there are still people out there who are like, “Get away from Boyd. He’s evil. What are you doing?” I liked it because you see what it is that Ava sees in him, and for Walton’s character, it’s amazing to see such a villain with another side.
What kind of things did you and Walton discuss with the writers?
Honestly, they wanted a big wedding this season. The way the story line started unfolding, and the mess that these people get in, there’s not a moment to stop and have a wedding, really. I think they chose to have this engagement [instead]. At the beginning of the season, Walton mentioned that he wanted Boyd to give Ava something that shows he values her and their love. We just had to think about what would be a nice, unique way to get engaged. I’d like to think Boyd had a completely different idea [of how he would propose]: He was gonna maybe buy the house first and have the ring inside. But I think it ended up more perfect the way it had to happen, like life does sometimes. There was a back-and-forth between us and the writers: They knew he was hoarding this money away so he could give it to Ava and say, “I want to buy you a home, a place where I feel we can actually build a life.” It was like, would you just give her the cash? Me and Walton were like, “It’s so romantic that he bought the ring, and that he wants to do this.” It was just going to be one or the other. And then it became both, and it was genius. He gives her a big wad of cash and a ring. It’s so country. [Laughs]
The line where Ava tells him, “Oh baby, it’s the other hand” — was that scripted?
[Laughs] He actually put it on the wrong hand. I don’t know if it was the rehearsal or the first take, but I said, “I’m keeping that, Walton.” And he’s like, “Okay.” It’s just so sweet. I don’t know if it happened because Boyd was nervous. To me, I feel like Boyd’s never asked anyone to marry him before, so that’s why it happened. I don’t know why it happened with Walton [Laughs].
What else did you bring to the scene?
The director, Peter Werner, and I were talking about where I’d just come from: I feel like in the moment before, in the room before we left to go get in his truck, I’m totally pouring my guts out to him. I’m trying to say, “Look, I’m still with you, and I’m with us. I don’t know how to deal with this. Can you help me?” I’m not trying to say, “I want to change our life. I don’t want to be us.” The one thing I cherish in this relationship is that it’s not a Raylan/Winona relationship where she needs him to change for them to have their future. I can see her point, and she’s from a different way of life, but Winona can’t live that life where she’s sitting there waiting to know if he’s gonna come home or she’s gonna get a call that he’s dead. Ava’s like, “I’m gonna live this life with you, but I’m gonna live it. I’m gonna be a part of all the decisions, stress, and danger.” And I feel like when Boyd tells Ava to get in the truck, it’s like another slap. Ava’s like, “Okay, I’ll just figure out how to deal with it. He doesn’t want to talk about it.” She doesn’t know where he is in that moment. That’s what I wanted to keep when we were there at his truck: “I just wish you’d help me with this feeling that I have and this uncertainty of where we are and where we’re going.” When he proposes, it’s nice to have that ride. Walton and I could start at one place and then let ourselves go to the mushy lovey-ness. It was really sweet. We were both talking about our own engagements. His is very romantic. And I said, “Of course it is, Goggins.” He’s such a passionate person. I won’t share the actual proposal with you, because it’s not my personal business.
What about your engagement story? Was it as romantic?
My husband’s a little younger than me. When I first started dating him, I just fell mad for him. I made a deal with myself: I was like, I’m not gonna get weird about what the future might be. I’m just going to be in every moment I can and enjoy us to the fullest. I told him that, too. I was like, “Don’t get weird, but I’m not gonna be the girl who doesn’t call for three days or plays games with you. I’m just gonna enjoy this.” I happened to get a job in Rome, and it was the same weekend he was going to propose to me. So, he was like, “Wow, I’m gonna look really great, proposing to her in Rome.” [Laughs] We’d walked around all day. He had the ring in his pocket. It was the first full day he was there, and he was like, “I have to do it the first day because I can’t handle the stress anymore.” I got us lost on the top of this beautiful hill on these stairs, and the lights in the city were going down and the sun was setting. He just started telling me how much he loves me, and I was just like, “Oh wow, maybe he really wants to marry me.” But I had no idea. And even when he got down on one knee and went into his pocket, I was like, “Oh, he’s so full of crap.” I thought he was playing around, and then he pulled the ring out, and I was in utter shock. I just couldn’t say anything. He got back up, and he said, “Baby, you’ve got to tell me because I’m not sure if I’m getting rejected here.” [Laughs] And then I said, “Yes, yes, yes.” I thought it was very romantic. He did it all on his own. He says he did it because his mom was like, “Are you gonna marry this girl or not?” He goes, “Well, I haven’t thought about it.” And she said, “Well, you better start thinking about it.” So I guess it owe it to my mother-in-law.
I love that Boyd and Ava will follow their engagement by attending a swinger party in their search for Drew Thompson. I’m excited about that swinger party.
I am excited about the swinger party, too. I’d like to see how it turned out. I don’t think it will disappoint anyone. There’s a lot of naked extras. [Laughs] I was like, “Did they know what they were signing up for?” There might be a stripper, toys. When I walked in and saw the sets they built in this house, I was like, “Well, they’re serious, these folk.” Ava gets into a little bit of a dangerous situation. But it’s fun, too. Ava and Boyd, mostly Boyd, are a little apprehensive about going into that part of town that they’re not so familiar with. And I think they had every right to be after they leave. He’s stirring a pot he does not know what’s in.
Will Ava continue to be a part of the search for Drew Thompson?
Yeah, very much so. The hunt for Drew and for Ellen May really take over the show here at the end, and it’s like everyone’s after them. It’s interesting to find out, and I still don’t know, how it’s going to end for Miss Ava. But it might not be like people suspect. [Laughs] It might not be a happy ending.
Does Ellen May want to rat on Ava and Boyd to Shelby?
If she had the control over herself that normal people do [Laughs], I think she’d never tell. But some things happen that make Ellen May take a turn and see that maybe Ava and Boyd aren’t the people she wants as her allies and friends.
I’ve read on Twitter that episode 410 has some good Ava scenes.
I would say, for that one, Ellen May gets a slight bit of revenge on Ava. That’s a good tease.