Walton Goggins was cast as tattoo-covered, feral Walter Stans, a serial killer who thinks of himself as a rock star. “Walt has an energy that allows him to be funny in one moment, terrifying in the next,” says Antal. “You’re laughing with him and then you’re afraid of him. Every time Walt was on camera, all I could see was the crew slowly coming behind the monitors to watch him play. You don’t need coffee if you have Walt Goggins.”
Antal had cast Goggins, but Rodriguez was at the time unfamiliar with the actor’s acclaimed work on “The Shield” and other projects. Additionally, the character as scripted was still a work in progress. “I thought we were going to have to overhaul the character and go in an entirely different direction,” Rodriguez remembers. “And it was a predicament because Nimrod had already hired Walt. So, I said let’s just fly him down so I can at least say to him face to face, ‘Look, I’m sorry, we’re just changing the part radically, I’m not happy with it.” And Walt was an incredible collaborator and talent. He was my kind of actor – willing to do whatever it took to make the part work. He just started trying different things right then and there, bouncing off the walls with energy. He basically recreated that entire character of Stans from the ground up right there in the room. He created a very original character.”
“Stans has spent sixteen years on death row,” explains Goggins. “The first images that he sees outside of a prison cell of an alien jungle are just a little over-stimulating for him. He fancies himself the only celebrity on this new planet of terror and thinks that people should be asking him for his autograph. He’s dark, but also I think rather funny and pessimistic.”
A San Quentin orange jumpsuit and multiple tattoos, including a Scorpion tattoo on his neck, helped Goggins get into character. He spent on average of an hour and half in the make-up chair on a daily basis to maintain the fake body art. “The tattoos made me feel very authentic. It’s been interesting walking around, both Hawaii and Austin, with them on. You get the help that you need in stores and restaurants. You don’t get the help that you want, people are not helping you out of kindness. They’re helping you out of fear,” laughs Goggins.