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Walton-Goggins.net

Your only news source for all things on actor Walton Goggins.

Category: Interviews

Vulture: Walton Goggins on 25 Years of Playing ‘That Guy’

“Can you believe I have a fucking pool?”

Walton Goggins is showing me the lush backyard of his 1922 French Tudor home in the Hollywood Hills on a hot June afternoon in Los Angeles. Even after living in the house for five years, he still can’t believe he actually lives here. “I mean, this pool was carved into the mountain,” says Goggins, whose lingering Georgia accent infuses every declaration with the earnestness of a Southern preacher. “I’ve been gone a lot lately, so anytime we’re all together as a family, we’re out here. It’s our own little paradise, you know?”

As Goggins takes our tour inside, we are greeted by his cherubic 5-year-old son, Augustus, and wife, writer-director Nadia Conners, who kisses Goggins newly bearded face — a makeover due to his upcoming role in History Channel’s Navy Seal drama Six, filming in North Carolina — before she rushes off to a meeting. “I wake up every morning with one of the smartest people I have ever met,” he gushes about Conners. “I have unfettered access to her brain; a very specific, all-encompassing worldview every single day. I’m truly the luckiest son of a bitch in Hollywood.”

To call him lucky in Hollywood would be to skip past the 25 years he’s spent playing That Guy. He logged countless supporting roles in indie films (The Apostle), studio movies (Cowboys & Aliens), and cable dramas (The Shield, Justified) before finding a crazy fan in Quentin Tarantino. The director shifted Goggins’s career into overdrive by casting him in 2012’s Django Unchained and in last year’s The Hateful Eight, telling Vulture last fall, “Watching him for six years [on Justified] do faux-Quentin dialogue let me know that he’s got the right kind of tongue.”

This week, Goggins, 45, returns to TV for his biggest (and most ridiculous) role yet in HBO’s latest entry from Eastbound & Down creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill, Vice Principals — an 18-episode, two-season comedy about two Southern high-school administrators, Lee and Neal (Goggins and McBride, respectively), who channel their loathing for each other into taking down the school principal. Goggins spoke with Vulture about how growing up poor and as an only child in the South led him to acting, how he fought his way into Hollywood, and why he “loves” Harvey Weinstein.

What appealed to you about HBO’s Vice Principals?
I truly think Danny McBride is Woody Allen for fly-over America. But Vice Principals isn’t as adolescent as Eastbound & Bound. But then again, remember the end of Eastbound’s first season when Kenny Powers leaves his girlfriend at the convenience store? Shit! Kenny is a fucking flawed human being. That’s why it all works. And Danny and Jody are always walking that line. I really believe what they do is sublime. Vice Principals also gets fucking dark. Dark and deep.

It’s also arguably the most over-the-top comedic material you’ve ever done. Is it a different exercise for you playing a part like this?
I actually feel like I’ve been doing comedy forever. The Shield was actually one of the funniest shows on television. Justified was another level of comedic intelligence. It was Elmore Leonard–sophisticated humor.

Elmore wrote the way we wish people really spoke.
Yeah, exactly. And Quentin does the same thing. His sense of humor feels like it can take place inside a bar or at the Met Museum. Similarly, Danny’s sense of humor is as adolescent as you can get, but when you look behind the curtain, there’s a lot going on. It’s extremely sophisticated.

How does it feel, after 25 years in Hollywood, to no longer be struggling or be seen only as “that Southern guy with the spiky hair?” I mean, you’re on Quentin Tarantino’s actor roster now.
It’s incredible, but mostly a total fucking relief not having to work so hard just to get a seat at the table. Playing Boyd Crowder [in Justified] was actually a real cross to bear for me personally; he was a real mantle I was carrying for a long time, and in order to rise above the stereotypical portrayal of Southern people as …

Rednecks and white trash.
Yeah. I’m proud of Boyd because I feel like I was able to educate people in urban areas about the struggles that people have in rural America. And then to have moments, like I did at Comic-Con for Django, where I’m sitting on the dais with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, and just like, How the fuck did I get here? What is happening right now? I’ve had a lot of those in my career: “moments of manifestation,” I call them. Doing Shanghai Noon with Owen Wilson was one of those. Bottle Rocket was one of my favorite movies, and as soon as I saw it I thought, “I’m just gonna focus on this dude. I want to work with this guy.” And I did.

So Bottle Rocket comes out in 1996 while you’re in L.A. still looking for your big break as an actor. How did you pay the bills?
Well, first I refused to work in a restaurant. [Laughs.] Nothing against waiters and waitresses, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to be that actor in L.A. having conversations with other actors about acting. I usually run away from those things. I generally don’t hang out with actors in between takes. I’m an only child, so I’ve always been off in a corner somewhere. I think it’s actually taken some learning to know how to be around other people. But the one thing I never had a problem with was listening. My mother was a great listener. And so I never had to compete for her attention because I was an only child.

What did your parents do for work when you were growing up?
My mother made $12,000 a year working for the State of Georgia in Workers Comp. My father sold insurance. But my parents divorced when I was 3. He and I had an on-off relationship for most of my life. So growing up it was me, my mom, and father’s father, oddly enough. He was the one consistent male figure in my life. I was the apple of his eye. I was mostly raised by extraordinary, highly dysfunctional, crazy Southern women. My mother’s mother was an actress in New Orleans in the 1930s. She met my grandfather and moved to Warm Springs, Georgia, and he was good friends with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had a thousand acres growing peaches and pulpwood. They had this beautiful life, and my mother and her three sisters were born into it. My mother remembers Roosevelt stopping in the yard saying, “Hiya, neighbor!” Then they went from this incredible cultured bucolic life to my grandfather dying from diabetes in my mother’s arms when she was 14. Then the house burned down, my grandmother went insane. She was a nurse and got addicted to amphetamines because of the grief of losing her husband and raising four girls ages 4 to 17. It’s a passel of amazing fucking stories. I had a front row seat to the real Steel Magnolias. But we were all fucking black sheep.

Who first introduced to you to the arts and performing?
Another aunt of mine wound up being a publicist for B.B. King, Phyllis Diller, and Wolfman Jack. But because my mom had me when she was 23, after they had lost everything, all we really had arts-wise was a lot of storytelling. Our family time was never about TV or cinema. And a whole bunch of her friends were always stopping by. There was a dude named Rabbit who was a locksmith and a small-time pot dealer who’d park his van in our yard, open our windows, and use our electricity to make his keys. Another dude named Be-Bop was also always there. He gave me my first job —selling hope chests for young girls who wanted to get married. [Laughs.]

Did you act at all in high school?
No, but I grew up watching another aunt perform on stage from the time I was 6. I stayed with her while she was doing dinner theater, and I’d see these beautiful women changing backstage, the whole life, the bohemian lifestyle, the reaction from the audience and thought, “I want to do that. It’s very powerful.” So I went to this casting director’s office in Atlanta, a woman named Chez Griffin — I didn’t have an appointment, so my mother drove me down there, I was only 14 — and I knocked on her door and said, “I want to talk to Chez. My name is Walton Sanders Goggins Jr. I don’t need an appointment. Just tell her.” And she came out and said, “Okay, who is this kid?” I told her, “I don’t know how to do this, but I know that I’ve had an interesting life, and I know that I feel things deeply. With some guidance and help, I can do this.” And she said okay. Then I started working in Georgia, and did a movie in 1990 called Murder in Mississippi.

Continue Reading at Vulture.com

Danny McBride’s New Mission: Setting Off Sparks in the Faculty Lounge

Danny McBride’s New Mission: Setting Off Sparks in the Faculty Lounge

You read a little of what Walton had to say, but be sure to check out the interivew in it’s entirety over at NYTimes.com

For Mr. McBride’s slick, bowtie-clad nemesis, Lee Russell, the creators turned to Mr. Goggins, a star of “Justified,” “The Shield” and “The Hateful Eight,” who had once auditioned for an “Eastbound & Down” role that went to Jason Sudeikis of “Saturday Night Live.”

(As Mr. Goggins recalled of that encounter: “I got to the meeting, and it was me and five ex-‘S.N.L.’ guys. What am I doing here, really?”)

This time, Mr. Goggins said he was still eager to work with Mr. McBride, who he called “a Woody Allen for flyover America,” and to tell a story about “the absurd need for power.”

“Both of these men are profoundly insecure,” he said, “and unfortunately for the people around them, they feel the only way they can be accepted in the world is through fear and intimidation.”

Knowing that all the episodes of “Vice Principals” had been written in advance, Mr. Goggins said, was a welcome change from “a world where so many decisions are based on public polls or how many likes you get on Instagram.”

“This isn’t,” he added. “This is 18 pictures posted without reading the comments.”

Vulture: Walton Goggins on His Hateful Eight Family and How Tarantino Is Like a Dialogue Oasis

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

Den of Geek: Walton talks working with Tarantino, The Hateful Eight, and House Of 1000 Corpses…

Walton Goggins is excited about The Hateful Eight. The film is really good, he’s terrific in it and, as one of the lead characters in the new Quentin Tarantino film, it’s perhaps his most high profile role to date. He has a lot to be excited about.

Even his hair looks excited, jutting up wildly. He’s animated and moves a lot, but he’s not wired and out of control. He just exudes enthusiasm and seems happy to be where he is, talking about his work. He’s great fun to talk to; enthusiastic and warm interview subjects are something of a gift. Here’s how our chat with Walton Goggins went.

How do you respond, when you get that script (for The Hateful Eight)?

You know, Quentin doesn’t really have to ask how anybody feels about his material. I read it at his house and he’s inside, and he just hears an actor saying “Oh my god. Oh my god! OH MY GOD!” and you just hear this laugh, this signature laugh that Quentin has.

It’s just a very rare opportunity to get words like this from the mind of a man like Quentin Tarantino. You get them, and they’re just like lyrical poetry. At the end of it, he just walked out and he saw the smile on my face. I said “I have one question for you. Am I the Sheriff, or am I not?”

And he said “I want you to answer that question and I don’t want to know your answer.” So, he gave me that power and I made my decision.

Are you sharing that decision, or is that for you?

That’s for me. It’s like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, really. I haven’t even shared it with my wife.

That actually feeds into something I had down to ask you about. You have the character on the page, but how do work out the rest of the stuff? Is that you, is it collaborated with Quentin?

All of this is from Quentin’s imagination. The way that he tells his stories is so curated, he distils down the essence of what he had in his mind. So I don’t know that it’s possible for an actor not to participate in a very intimate collaboration with Quentin. For me, that certainly was the case.

One of the things I noticed about your character is, it’s quite a big performance, but I think it would be easy to miss amongst all of the speeches and everything else, that the physical side of your character tells us a lot about him. It almost tells us a different story about him. So how does that come?

Well, I really look at it this way, and I leave it up to you what you give away or what you don’t give away. We both share this responsibility.

You can check out the interview in full over at DenOfGeek.com

Esquire: Walton Goggins on the End of Justified, Boyd, and Working with Tarantino

ESQUIRE: In the penultimate episode, Shea Whigham plays an almost prophetic character that takes Boyd to task a bit. Before Boyd shoots him, he defiantly insists he knows who he is and doesn’t care about his legend. Is that true?

WALTON GOGGINS: I can’t believe that this is what you’re starting with, and I’m so grateful you are. Shea Whigham, first and foremost, I am such an admirer of his creative constitution. He is such a gifted actor, and we were so incredibly lucky to have him be, as you put it, a prophetic figure for Boyd’s future. But it also represents where he’s come to in his psyche. I think it’s the psychological Rubicon that Boyd crosses that he cannot come back from. It’s indicative of the mental state he’s in. That storyline was debated for a long time. They had me killing the very guy who represented all the things Boyd has seen and celebrated bout himself. He sees himself as a defender of the disenfranchised. Even though he sold them drugs, even though he made money on the backs of the poor, in his own perverted moral code [he] feels himself to be a defender of those rights. If you look back at every public forum Boyd has spoken in front of, he is in some ways talking about that. And when they asked me to kill this person, I had a very difficult time with it. I felt it was unnecessary. I didn’t think we had come to that place. I thought this was an action he’d never be forgiven for, that it is a bridge too far for who he is as a person. And when they said this is something we really wanna do, I acquiesced and saw the way I can do it and still be true to this person. And that is, let’s explore philosophically where Boyd is coming from in that moment, understanding that Boyd is doing something that disgusts him and he is disgusted not only with his action. He is disgusted with himself, he is disgusted with the life he’s been leading, and then he goes into his speech. When he says, “You think you’re better than me? Look at you. You’re disenfranchised and don’t even know it. Me, I’m my own man.” He’s saying, “I had freedom,” when in essence, it’s just an opaque defense for what he’s about to do. And when he raises that gun and says, “I’m an outlaw,” it’s with disgust, but that’s how low Boyd has dropped in the pursuit of that which he ultimately needs, and the extent he’s willing to go in order to get that.

But by that point, we’ve already seen Boyd kill Carl and doggedly pursue Ava with dubious intentions. Does all this expose Boyd as having always been ultimately dishonest with himself about himself?

I do, yeah. He is beginning to be honest about who he is as a person and his inability to escape who he is as a person. And it runs contrary to his actions for the last three years, which has been a desperate need to get out of the water and breathe air and real freedom, which is a life without crime, to move past his violent heritage and the role that he is supposed to play in perpetuating his own family legacy. If you look at everything he’s done violently, it has been to escape his lot in life. And how he’s cutting off the head of the thing he most loves in the world besides Ava. And why does he do that? I feel that if you really look at the course of this show and who Boyd is, the people he’s killed have always been according to his moral code. He’s a person that you know where you stand. I tell you up front: If you cross me, I’m gonna to kill you. This is where you fit in my life. He has done that with everyone, and Boyd’s only killed five, six people in the five years of this show, and yet he has this reputation. But I think the audience understands where they stand with Boyd, and [Whigham’s character] is a person who did nothing to him. But Boyd has, through his obsession with Raylan Givens, lost all sense of normalcy. He’s never had equilibrium, and now he’s more out of balance and more frenetic than he’s ever been. He’s not dictating his actions. His actions are dictating him.

Would you say Raylan and Boyd are mutually, singularly obsessed with each other?

That’s it. It’s that endless, overpowering obsession that each man has with the other that will lead to their ultimate downfall. It is that ego, that, “I am better than him, and I am going to beat Raylan Givens.” And it is Raylan Givens saying, “I am going to get Boyd Crowder. If I lose my job, if I lose my family, if I lose my reputation, if I lose my relationship with my daughter, then that’s the price that has to be paid.” And those are two people that have lost all sense of reason. They’re unreasonable people, and Boyd points it out [in “Collateral”]. Boyd says to Raylan, “Why you wanna get me so bad? There’s a lot of bad guys out there. Why me.” And he’s just articulating Raylan’s obsession. And in the same breath, Boyd’s just as obsessed with beating Raylan.

It might be easier if they stopped being coy and stubborn and sat down for a therapy session.

[Laughs] It’s true. Here’s the irony in their dynamic: It is Boyd’s obsession with Raylan Givens that will ultimately lead to his end. It is Raylan’s obsession with Boyd Crowder that will ultimately lead to his end. The thing neither one of them realizes is if either one of them got what they truly wanted, they would have a life without meaning. Hopefully, what they both will learn is you’ve been looking for reason in the wrong drawer. The reason for living is not because this other person exists for you to rub up against, it’s because the world is beautiful. And that is a rock-bottom place that a person needs to reach in order to come to that conclusion. And I can say, without getting in trouble, that that is a place both of them will come to.

Walton Talks Final Season of Justified, Sons of Anarchy and more with 411 Mania

Walton Talks Final Season of Justified, Sons of Anarchy and more with 411 Mania

Check out the snippet below of Walton’s interview and be sure to check out the interview in its entirety (which is definitely worth the read) over at 411Mania.com!

Al Norton: I’ve got two quick stories I want to share with you to start, both of which relate to your work. First, my 25 year high school reunion was in November and I had a bet with my wife about how long it would take before someone started talking about TV with me, which was about 20 minutes, but the second TV conversation I had was when a very old friend of mine, a Boston cop I’ve known since 1st grade, came up to me and, after asking me how my family was, volunteered “Walton Goggins is the best actor I’ve ever seen.”

Walton Goggins: I paid him to say that. I knew exactly where you’re reunion was going to be (laughing)…Man, that makes me blush. I don’t know if that’s the case but I sure am glad I spoke to somebody. The sure does feel good.

Al Norton: The second story is that I had a reader of mine email me and say he had never met anyone who was transgender and had some pretty clear cut and not positive thoughts in his head about who “those” people were but that after watching you as Venus on Sons, he know feels and thinks completely differently.

Walton Goggins: Now you’re gonna make me cry…I don’t know, I think that’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever been given in my entire life. That’s very powerful and very gratifying and I really, really appreciate you sharing that with me. Thank you very much.

Al Norton: Did you have any idea when you got the call and said, “sure I’ll do that episode of Sons and play this interesting character”, who Venus would become? People throw the word “groundbreaking” around but in this instance it’s accurate in that I think she’s maybe the single most groundbreaking character TV has seen in the last decade.

Walton Goggins: Kurt (Sutter, Sons of Anarchy creator) is a dear friend of mine and he is a bold human being and I am lucky to be friends with people who fall into that category, people who not only push themselves but push the people around them. It was an opportunity to, almost selfishly, explore this person that I didn’t really even look at as a transgender. I looked at her as a very confident, three dimensional, funny human being that I wanted to get to know. It was only going to be for one episode and we thought it might get a reaction because people wouldn’t expect it, which is why we didn’t tell anyone about it. That was on purpose; we didn’t talk to anyone about it and when FX sent it out to writers and media, it was with the condition that no one really say anything so they could let the audience experience it on their own.

From that perspective I thought it was a unique opportunity to say something, to be honest and vulnerable and forthcoming and truthful, a way to get into the Sons of Anarchy world in a way that was unexpected and surprising, and to not to portray that community as the butt of a joke or reducing them to an experience that we had all seen in other forms of entertainment. I was very, very surprised when the next day it was on the cover of Variety. It was a very pleasant surprise because what it gave Kurt and me the opportunity to do is see what else there was to her. I suppose I had a little something to do with it in terms of my interpretation of the material but it all came from his heart and his imagination.

Al Norton: The last full scene you did on Sons, with Venus and Tig talking about their relationship and the shadows and the light, is breathtakingly honest and just amazing to watch, to the point where I’ve kept the episode on my DVR for future viewings. How much rehearsing did you and Kim (Coates) do, how did you two and the direct approach it?

Walton Goggins: I was doing a movie up in Canada when Kurt sent that script and like everybody else who read it, which was not a lot of people, I was so amazed. It was one of those things that was outside of Kurt, where he let himself go and let himself be the vehicle for those words to come into the world, to express that person’s point of view to the world, and that just happens in those times when you’re in the pocket, and that can happen to you in whatever discipline you’re in. It could be you writing a review or a plumber solving a problem, we all have those moments in our respective lives and that was one of those for Kurt.

Kim Coates and I talked a couple of times and he had a very specific way he wanted Tig to make love to Venus, which I thought was really appropriate and very loving, and it was the first time they had been intimate in that way. We did that in two takes. The next scene, where Venus is coming out of the shower, I had a deep conversation with the hair and makeup people because we are seeing her in her true state, when no one is looking, and we found that. The way she is walking out of the bath and the way she looks, you get to see behind the curtain and see who she is in that moment, and in that moment in front of the mirror she sees herself the way Tig sees her.

We walked through everything once and we all knew it was all we needed. The only thing I asked of Paris Barclay, who was the director and is a very dear old friend of mine – the first thing I did with Paris was a movie called The Cherokee Kid 18 years ago – is that we do two cameras at once and just have this experience and take it out of the realm of “cut” and “action.” Kim agreed and Paris said “absolutely, that’s the way I was going to do it.” He set up two cameras and we did it maybe four times and that was it.

Each one presented its own truth. It was one of those moments in your life as an artist that you get down on your knees at the end of the day and put your hands together in whatever faith you believe in and express as much gratitude as you can. You don’t get those opportunities every day, even though that’s what you strive for, and this is as close as I can get to this women’s truth and her experience. It forever changed me. The whole experience on Sons of Anarchy changed me. It’s weird, Al, but I truly mean this; I don’t feel like Walton Goggins ever did an episode of Sons of Anarchy. I’ve never seen any of the episodes with Venus, it’s too personal, and I was there. I never talked to those guys as Walton, only as Venus, although I know all of them outside of that world and we talk and hang out. In their world, I was no one other than Venus so I personally, Walton Goggins, have no stories from the show. It’s pure and undiluted and I am so grateful for it.

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