Collider: You really get your ass kicked in this!
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