Walton Goggins is familiar to most of the entertainment-consuming public as either Boyd Crowder fromJustified or Venus Van Dam fromSons of Anarchy, both meaty roles on long-running TV shows with dedicated followings. But thanks to the efforts of Quentin Tarantino, Goggins may henceforth be known for his much-lauded performance as Chris Mannix, the supposed sheriff-to-be who ends up playing a pivotal role in The Hateful Eight, currently playing in a theater near you. Vulture caught up with Goggins to talk texting with the Hateful Eight cast, why Tarantino is like an “oasis,” and the difference between playing a character over two hours and playing them for an entire season.
How’s it going?
Look at the smile on my face.
You seem pretty happy.
I’m really happy, man. Like, anyone who’s ever been remotely in a position like the one I currently find myself in, and that means a contractor who gets a great opportunity to build a house from an architect that he’s admired or loved, that’s how I feel, you know? There’s been a string of that, all culminating in this grand life experience with Quentin and this role of Chris Mannix and my Hateful Eight family, these actors. It’s extraordinary.
I talked to Kurt Russell recently, and he said that all the Hateful Eight actors have a text chain going, and that an uncommon, enduring relationship was formed on set.
It doesn’t happen ever. Seven months after you wrap a movie, you have the likes of the people in this cast, from Kurt to Sam [Jackson] to Jennifer [Jason Leigh] to Tim [Roth] to Demián [Bichir], all in different countries, texting 30 times a day? Come on, man. [Laughs.] That doesn’t happen with friends you’ve had for 20 years! It’s very real, and it’s very unique. I think we just all respect each other so much, and respect Quentin, and respect the opportunity to make this movie, and what we went through to make this movie.
Within the cast, you’re kind of the newcomer: You’ve been around for a long time, but compared to guys like Sam Jackson and Kurt Russell, you’re on the rise. When Quentin came to you with this part, what was your reaction?
I suppose the true way for me to answer that question is to be silent, because there are no words. Maybe, in your article, you just put “dot dot dot,” because that really is the truth. What do you say? I never for once doubted that I would be able to do it, I just wanted to do it for him, and to be included in this group of people. Grateful is such an overused word, but I truly am, man. I was humbled, and I understood what it meant.
But you can’t stay in the mind-set of I can’t believe this is happening to mefor too long. I tried to just move past that and instead start thinking, What can I bring to him, and what can I bring to the other actors, and to this crew, and to everybody else, every single day? For me, it was: How can I start here, in an arrested state of development, as a person who has never had his own worldview, let alone his own real, independent thought, someone who, when Major Warren is shot, becomes a 4-year-old little boy? He falls down on that ground and he has, for the first time in his life, no real authority figure. That’s it. He’s alone. Then, over the course of the last chapter of this movie, Chris Mannix becomes a man.
You can check out the interview in full over at Vulture.com