I’ve added 100+ HD captures of Walton from the latest episode of SIX into the gallery.
I’ve added 100+ HD captures of Walton from the latest episode of SIX into the gallery.
I’ve added 200+ HD captures of Walton from the latest episode of SIX into the gallery.
WALTON GOGGINS: Yeah. It was a lot to be incarcerated for 14 hours a day, with your arms bound and your feet bound. I’m sure someone will do a YouTube of how many times Rip Taggart was hit. It was tough, mentally. I had a cappuccino at the beginning of the day and the middle of the day, and a beer at the end of the day, but you feel just a portion of the pain that people have gone through, in those circumstances. What an incredible experience. It was a real cathartic journey.
How did you read this script, see what it would put you through, and then say, “Yes, sign me up for that!”?
GOGGINS: I didn’t. I replaced Joe [Manganiello]. When Joe fell out, they said, “Let’s go to Walton.” I had a long conversation with them about it and, for me, I felt like I had an opportunity to really honor the struggle of men and women in our armed services, in a way that wasn’t political and it wasn’t about America. It was about the individual, and I think that that’s been neglected in the conversation. It was also a chance to have what has taken me upwards of six and seven years (with Justified and The Shield), respectively, that kind of a journey in eight episodes.
Whenever you hear stories about SEAL teams and their missions, you feel a sense of appreciation for what they do, but it’s hard to fully grasp what a job like that puts you through, physically and mentally. What most helped you in grasping just what being a SEAL really entails?
GOGGINS: Mitchell Hall was our tech advisor on Six. It was not with him, but I had a long conversation with a Navy SEAL, on my own, and he became a very good friend of mine. I noticed his behavior, early on, and something he was doing to compensate was curious to me. I had an opportunity to talk to him and he said, “You can ask me anything you want.” I said, “I’m only going to ask you one question, and either you’ll answer me honestly or you won’t. And if you don’t answer honestly, I completely understand and I really don’t have anything else to say. But if you do answer honestly, I have a feeling that you and I are going to be here drinking whiskey for a long time, and we’re really going to get into it.” I asked him the question and he answered me honestly, and then the conversation began. He let me see behind his curtain. He let me touch his humanity and experience how his humanity was affected by everything that he saw and that was asked of him. He’s an incredible human being. Most of us will never, ever experience the decisions they have to make in one day of their lives, let alone every moment of every day, and that affects everything around them.
These men and women in our armed services are expected to perform, both mentally and physically, in an arena of war, and also pay their cable bill and their house payment. I don’t understand how those two realities exist in the same space. It’s hard for me, and I’m just a storyteller. It’s hard for a guy or a woman who works from 9 to 5, every day, and certainly it’s much more difficult when you’re in these situations and you’re asked to fight for your country. I felt that it was very important to honor that struggle, in a way that took it out of politics and the flag and the message of your country. I wanted to just honor the individual, and I’m really proud of it.
When you see where this goes and you see this existential journey and you see this stalwart walk from this man who genuinely doesn’t want to deal with anything and who is forced to deal with all of it, and what he learns on the other side of that journey and what he learns along the way and what he teaches people along the way, it was special. I hope there’s a returning service man or woman that is able to see it and say, “You know what? That fucking guy cares about me. Those showrunners care about me. Those other actors on that show and the guy behind the camera and that director care about me.” That’s a good thing. Continue reading
What was your read on the character when you first encountered the material? He seems to square with the morally suspect types that you often play.
You know, I had a conversation with the creators immediately — there wasn’t a lot of time after I replaced another actor who was in that role, so I didn’t have a lot of time to really make my decision. I just said, “I’m not interested in being used as a piece of propaganda for American war policy.” Honoring the struggles of these men and women outside of the context of the country that they’re fighting for — I want to speak to them. I want to tell their story. I feel like that’s what they had written, and they said, “That’s exactly what we want to do when it comes to you.” They gave me a seat at the table and we had this beautiful collaboration over eight episodes, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, to be quite honest with you.
Your statement about not wanting this to be military propaganda is interesting. What exactly did you have in mind when you said that?
Well, I think that there are ways of telling stories like this that are about a true honoring or celebration of sacrifice for the people that we, America, ask to defend our country on a daily basis. I think there’s a time for that, there’s a place for that — then there’s also a place for not making it about you. What I mean by that is, by not making it about just America. Not having it be about you, [but] having it be about these people independent of you and looking at them and understanding really what it is they’re going through without just a cursory pat on the back saying, “Thank you for your service.”
Do you feel like Six has a political perspective, in terms of being anti-war or critical of American foreign policy?
No, I don’t, which I think is its saving grace. There is no political soapbox that it’s standing on, one way or the other. It’s not for or against anything. It is just with a microscope, dissecting the experience of [war]. I think that that’s the best way to reach anybody. In our volatile political system right now, I don’t think anybody wants to talk about it anymore, whatever side you’re on. I certainly don’t. I’m ready to get past it and look at individuals and look at their struggle and tell stories from that point of view.
I don’t want to divulge any spoilers, so let’s just say your character goes through quite a physical ordeal. Was this a hard shoot? Was it as hard to shoot as it to watch?
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I think there’s not a person that you would speak to that was involved in this project that wouldn’t say the same thing. For me, it was a process of being incarcerated for 15 hours a day and getting hit all day, every day, with my hands tied behind my back, man. I know, just in my imagination, how demoralizing and dehumanizing that is, and I’m just an actor, man — who can get a cappuccino if I needed to. But people have and probably will continue to have this experience. This experience is, on a number of levels, translated in a number of different ways, but it was very, very, very difficult. Mentally very difficult. Physically, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
I wanted to ask about Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who are executive producers of Six, and also were involved in the films you made with Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. Was it their idea to get you involved in Six?
Yeah, I got a phone call from Harvey and he said, “Walton, I need you, man, and the story needs you.” I can’t tell you what it feels like for an actor to be at a restaurant with Harvey Weinstein, let alone get an incoming phone call from a man of his stature. It meant a great deal to me and I care for the man deeply and I took what he said to heart, you know, and answered that call. Not solely because of that, but because of that and because of Bill [Broyles] and Bruce [McKenna] and David [Broyles], and this cast, and this network. The History Channel really wanted to do something that they hadn’t done before, and to be bold in this next step.
Most importantly, I wanted to honor the people that have made this commitment. You know, I come from the South, man, and I would say that seven out of my 10 friends growing up all went into the service. It’s just what you did. My education lay elsewhere, and I went out West when all of my buddies went East in the Gulf War. I heard them. I’ve heard what it was like for them — even those that didn’t see battle, what it was like for them.
It was a real opportunity to say thank you. I hope in “insert-airport-terminal anywhere in the world” going forward, that they will come up and they’ll say, “Hey, man, thank you for giving a sh*t. Thank you for caring.”
You were cast in this physically demanding role just days after Joe Manganiello had to be replaced because of a pre-existing health issue. How do you prepare mentally and physically to jump in like that?
My acting teachers are storytellers — they don’t even use the word “acting,” really, in their philosophy — and the last one I studied with, who is a dear old friend of mine by the name of Harry Masters, taught me that when you don’t have time, you don’t need time, really, if you’re able to turn yourself over to that set of circumstances and play pretend. My almost-6-year-old [son Augustus, with filmmaker wife Nadia Conners] is Laurence Olivier in his ability to play. Most children are like that. So I had a conversation with . . . [the producer] about Rip and about in what context I wanted to participate. I wanted to make sure they were on board for that.
What did you tell them?
Well, just that I don’t want to be used as a piece of propaganda for American foreign policy. I don’t want to go through this experience and have what I want to contribute to it politicized. For the right or the left. I want to speak to the returning soldier, man or woman, who has experienced conflict firsthand and I want to honor their struggle. And I don’t want to do it by saying, “You’re an incredible American” and “You’re a patriot.” I want to say, “You are a human being and you’re experiencing pain, and it’s real pain, and I want to listen to your pain. I don’t want to just pat you on the back.”
Did the producers revise the script?
We modified some ways of shooting scenes in the first three episodes, which is what they had written by that point. You know, you can say, “I love you” a million different ways, can’t you? It’s not in the words — it’s in your intention. And then I think that going forward these conversations gave [the producer] real parameters for what this experience could be. I think what it did was fundamentally change everything that happened after it.
That kind of happened on “The Shield,” where the network wanted your character removed after the pilot, and “Justified,” where Boyd Crowder was supposed to die in the pilot. But something about you changed minds.
With “The Shield,” the people who ran FX at the time hated me, man! I don’t know how you could hate somebody when I only had four lines, but [series creator] Sean [Ryan] said, “Listen, I know this guy, I’ve seen him, he’s special and I know what to do with him.” So episode two was really about [Goggins’ character] Shane. They saw it and said, “Wow, we’re sorry. We love him.”
And with “Justified,” [star] Tim [Olyphant] had such a good time and the rapport back and forth and what the characters’ friendship could mean over the course of a story — people really responded to that. They asked me to come back and we had a long conversation about it and I said, “I just want autonomy over the character and this part of the story,” and they agreed.
I have to ask: What was it like your first day on a Quentin Tarantino set?
My first day on “Django” was surreal . . . I’ll never forget. It was a big scene that ultimately got cut out of the movie, and the camera’s on me and Quentin yells, “Action” — and nothing comes out of my mouth! I’m looking at all these people and I just said, “I’m in a [expletive] Quentin Tarantino movie!”
Oh, yeah — absolutely! And they all started laughing and then it was, “OK — take two.”