Sep 24, 2019

The Unicorn’s Walton Goggins Revisits His Most Memorable Roles, From The Shield to Sons of Anarchy

Sep 24, 2019

The Unicorn’s Walton Goggins Revisits His Most Memorable Roles, From The Shield to Sons of Anarchy

TVGuide.com — You may know Walton Goggins from his Emmy-nominated turn as charismatic outlaw Boyd Crowder on FX’s modern Western Justified. You may also know him from his seven-season stint as the flawed cop Shane Vendrell on the groundbreaking drama The Shield. Or you may know him as one of the many other memorable characters he’s brought to life over the years: Venus Van Dam (Sons of Anarchy), Chris Mannix (The Hateful Eight), Lee Russell (Vice Principals), Sonny Burch (Ant-Man and the Wasp), Nathan Miller (Deep State), or “Baby” Billy Freeman (The Righteous Gemstones). The list goes on and on and on.

Regardless of where you know Goggins from — and trust us, you definitely know him from somewhere — you’ve experienced the actor’s impressive, somewhat hypnotic ability to make viewers feel for even the most flawed or complicated of characters. He doesn’t set out to do it — quite the opposite actually — it’s just something that happens.

But Goggins, who it should go without saying is nothing like the morally gray men he is most famous for playing, is leaving those roles behind, at least for now. This fall, Goggins is taking on the starring role in CBS’s new sitcom The Unicorn as a widower stepping back into the world a year after losing his wife.

“[The Unicorn is] kind and … earnest, and I think that this character and this show wear [their hearts on their sleeves],” Goggins told TV Guide of the show and its overwhelmingly compassionate message. “I think we need that in the world right now.”

As he prepares to lead this heartfelt new comedy on the most-watched network, the versatile actor takes a stroll down memory lane and looks back at some of the roles that got him to where he is today before previewing what’s to come.

SHANE VENDRELL, THE SHIELD

A not insignificant portion of Goggins’ television career has been spent appearing on FX prestige dramas. This fruitful relationship began when he first stepped into the shoes of Strike Team member Shane Vendrell on The Shield, a critically beloved drama about corrupt cops starring Michael Chiklis that ran from 2002 to 2008 and put FX on the map in terms of scripted programming.

“The Sopranos had been out, and we came on six months later and told a story that, on some level, vilified police officers right after 9/11, when police officers were running upstairs to save lives,” Goggins recalled of the early days of the show. “The people in charge questioned whether or not that was a good thing to do, but ultimately, I think it asked the question that we’re still answering today, and that is, what are we willing to accept from our law enforcement in pursuit of our own security? What does that mean? What [is] the price of protection or feeling safe, what does that really mean? I think we’re all so very proud of [The Shield] and what it ultimately had to say.”

The Shield ran for seven seasons, culminating in what many critics consider to be one of the best series finales of all time. Its longevity meant that Shane, whose lengthy list of offenses came to include betraying and killing his friend and fellow team member Lem (Kenny Johnson) and eventually poisoning his wife and son before turning the gun on himself, was the first character Goggins had the opportunity to get close to as an actor, and as such Shane remains a big part of his life.

“I think about his journey often,” revealed Goggins. “He was a very complicated guy, but he was never self-serving; he thought he was servicing the person that ran this entire operation. And while on paper he’s easy to vilify … the price that he ultimately pays, I think, more than compensates for anything that he ever did in his life. I think he’s one of the great, tragic characters in television, to be quite honest with you. I think his journey is so, so unbelievably bittersweet.”

When asked if he’d have changed anything about the character or his journey, Goggins definitively said that he would not. Had Shane survived, the actor explained, it would have likely brought him great anxiety and pain to imagine what the character was doing now. “There was something about the finality of how ugly that [ending] was and the decision that he made for his family and how selfish that was that [it] allowed me to just make peace with it and to let him go,” Goggins said.

Still, Goggins remains best friends with much of the cast (he attended Chiklis’ birthday party the weekend before our interview) and those relationships, now quickly approaching the two-decade mark, are still vitally important to him. “The relationships that I made over the course of that show, with everyone on it, to have that stable of friends this long after that experience has been one of the most important things in my life,” said Goggins. “I never knew about community from an artistic point of view before that experience. I didn’t know that it would be that deep.” Continue Reading →

Sep 24, 2019

Walton Goggins plays a babe magnet in ‘The Unicorn’

Sep 24, 2019

Walton Goggins plays a babe magnet in ‘The Unicorn’

NYPost.com — Nothing on Walton Goggins’ résumé suggests that he’s the perfect guy to play “The Unicorn,” the new CBS comedy about a widower with two adolescent daughters who becomes a babe magnet.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a unicorn is the perfect single guy: employed, attractive, with a proven track record of commitment. A full head of hair doesn’t hurt, either.

Goggins, 47, snared an Emmy nomination in 2011 for playing outlaw Boyd Crowder on FX’s “Justified,” a role he had for five years. He also played detective Shane Vendrell on “The Shield.”

In between, donned a pair of vinyl chaps to play transgender hooker Venus Van Dam on “Sons of Anarchy” in 2012. (“I’m the belle that doesn’t tell,” she cooed.)

Goggins is very aware that when it comes to comedy, he’s a stranger in a strange land, but reveals that CBS network executive David Nevins suggested him for the role of Wade Felton.

Executive producer Bill Martin tells The Post,” When we sat down with Walton, we had no idea what to expect given the roles we’d seen him play. We all wanted someone who wasn’t glib or slick in any way, someone who was so good-hearted that you’d immediately believe his friends would rally around him and root for him. As soon as he started talking about the character, it was clear that he understood that and embraced that. The fact that he was funny as hell was just gravy.”

Although Goggins was “really taken” with the script, he asked for one substantial change — to switch the production from multicamera in front of a studio audience to a single camera on a soundstage.

“For me to go in front of a live audience and tell this story about a man who lost his wife to cancer and has two daughters, I don’t know that I could have pulled that off,” Goggins tells The Post. “Somebody else could have done it in a minute. I think it needed that space, that improvisation, for it to feel like a film. We talked and I said, ‘Let’s go do this.’ I’m going to lean into the sadness. I’m not going to shy away from that, but I promise you it will be funny.”

“The Unicorn” is based on the real-life experience of Grady Cooper, a friend of show creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff. Cooper was the caregiver to his terminally ill wife while raising their two daughters. After a period of mourning, he came “out of the weeds,” according to Martin, and started sharing stories that suggested a TV show.

“My wife said, ‘So it’s funny that his wife is dead?’ I said, ‘That’s not what’s funny about it,’?” says Schiff. “What really appealed to us was a real serious issue because that’s what life is. Life is not tragic or funny. It’s both, at all times.”

Goggins, who is married with one son, knows other men who’ve been in the same situation as Cooper — namely himself. His first wife, Leanne Goggins, died in 2004 (he ultimately got remarried, to writer Nadia Conners in 2011), but he doesn’t talk about it. He will only say obliquely of men like himself, “They did it, they just kind of made their way.” Like the supporting characters on “The Unicorn,” the widowers’ friends introduced them to women to get them dating again. “They became hot commodities; yeah.”

Goggins would never describe himself that way, of course. “I’m a 3-miler,” he says.

What’s that? “It means you look good from 3 miles away,” he says, laughing. “I believe I am sexy .?.?. I am a very curious person. That’s what I find attractive in other people. Beauty is skin-deep. What we find attractive in other people changes the older we get.”

If “The Unicorn” catches on with viewers, Goggins is aware that people might attribute Wade Felton’s qualities to him. He’s ready for whatever comes.

“I’ve been around a long time, and given the roles I’ve played you can bet I’ve met a lot of nutty followers,” he says. “But I love them, man. I’m stopped on the street all the time. I don’t have a passive fan. You’re either a fan of what I do or you’re NOT a fan of what I do.

“I have no attachment to the outcome either way.”

Sep 24, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×06 ‘Now the Sons of Eli Were Worthless Men’ Episodic Stills + Screen Captures

Sep 24, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×06 ‘Now the Sons of Eli Were Worthless Men’ Episodic Stills + Screen Captures

I’ve added 140 high quality screen captures and episodic stills of Walton as Baby Billy Freeman from the sixth episode of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones.


Sep 17, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×05 ‘Interlude’ Episodic Stills + Screen Captures

Sep 17, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×05 ‘Interlude’ Episodic Stills + Screen Captures

I’ve added 401 high quality screen captures of Walton as Baby Billy Freeman from the fifth episode of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones. You will also find high quality episodic stills from the episode in the gallery too.


Sep 15, 2019

Video: CBS Fall Preview for ‘The Unicorn’: See the Full Trailer and Behind-the-Scenes Footage

Sep 15, 2019

Video: CBS Fall Preview for ‘The Unicorn’: See the Full Trailer and Behind-the-Scenes Footage

PopCulture.comThe Unicorn is not about a fantasy horse with a horn. The new CBS sitcom is really about a middle-aged man who tries to get back in the dating pool a year after the death of his wife. Sons of Anarchy actor Walton Goggins stars as the titular unicorn in this comedy about the modern online dating world. CBS released a behind-the-scenes video and the trailer earlier this week.

Goggins stars as Wade, a widowed father of two daughters whose friends think he should try to re-enter the dating scene. Wade and his friends are surprised to learn that he is popular among women online because he is the perfect single guy. He has a job, is attractive, has daughters and has a track record with commitment. Put it all together and he is a “unicorn” in the dating world.

Ruby Yay and Makenzie Moss play Wade’s daughters Grace and Natalie, respectively. Wade’s friends are played by Rob Corddry, Omar Miller, Michaela Watkins and Maya Lynn Robinson.

The series was created by Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, who are both Emmy nominees for their work on 3rd Rock from the Sun. More recently, the two worked on Fam, Living Biblically and Trial & Error.

The Unicorn gives Goggins a chance to play against type, after years of villain roles and serious projects.

“When this came along, I fell deeply in love with him and his struggles and fell in love with his friends and his community,” the Justified star said at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in August, reports Deadline. “I’m in a place at 48 years old where kindness, and sincerity and being earnest are very important to me, and this show spoke to all of that. It touched me in a way that’s deep and meaningful.”

Goggins, whose first wife died in 2004, said Wade “is closer to me than anything I’ve ever played,” adding, “Once I got past that fear of it, I said, this is what I’ve always wanted to play… I have this similar relationship with my son and group of friends.”

Martin and Schiff said the show was influenced by producer Grady Cooper, who lost his life and found his way “back into the sunshine. His life got funny. There was still a lot of sadness, but it was funny.”

The Unicorn is also Goggins’ latest comedic work. He got to make people laugh with Danny McBride in HBO’s Vice Principals and has a role in McBride’s new show, The Righteous Gemstones.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Goggins said taking these comedy roles was not an “intentional” transition. “I just go where the best writing is, and it just kind of moved in this direction,” he said.

“When there’s a strong sense of direction and a filmmaker behind it like Danny that really have a purpose for doing what they’re doing, that’s when I’m most comfortable and where I think I can contribute the most,” Goggins explained. “And so the fact that I wake up today and find myself in this new arena, somehow it all makes sense, even though it’s a big diversion from the way people normally see me — and that’s a good thing. I can’t believe it, to be quite honest with you. There is great joy in laughing 90 percent of the day as opposed to needing a shrink after work.”

The Unicorn debuts on CBS Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Righteous Gemstones airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.

Sep 9, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×04 ‘Wicked Lips’ Screen Captures

Sep 9, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×04 ‘Wicked Lips’ Screen Captures

I’ve added 15 high quality screen captures of Walton as Baby Billy Freeman from HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones. Walton was only seen but a brief moment in the episode, sadly.

Sep 2, 2019

Walton Goggins on becoming Baby Billy for Danny McBride and ‘The Righteous Gemstones’

Sep 2, 2019

Walton Goggins on becoming Baby Billy for Danny McBride and ‘The Righteous Gemstones’

 

EW.com — Walton Goggins will do anything for Danny McBride — even play a creepy, milk-drinking, 70-year-old pastor named Baby Billy Freeman.

The third episode of HBO’s new comedy The Righteous Gemstones introduced the family’s alienated uncle, who returns to the fold when Eli (John Goodman) brings him on to run the Gemstones’ newest church. Best known for his turns in The ShieldJustified, and The Hateful Eight, Goggins, 47, takes on the hilarious role, reuniting him with McBride, the star and creator of Gemstones and Vice Principals, which the duo costarred together on.

“As soon as we sold this, I had the idea for Baby Billy and I wanted it be to Walton,” McBride recently told EW of casting his old friend. “I pitched him early, ‘I’ve got this idea, I want you to play an old man,’ I could just picture it in my head. He was like, “I’ll do anything,” but he was on the fence, he didn’t know what this character was, and I basically told him to let me write these episodes and I’ll send them to you to give them a read, and he got it and thought it was funny. He was just worried whether he’d be able to pull it off. It was amazing to watch him transform into this old man. Walton just disappears in every role that he’s in, I think he’s one of the most talented actors I’ve ever been around. He’s so damn funny and he can break your heart and we were honored to have him step into this.”

With Baby Billy officially out in the world, EW chatted with Goggins about his initial response to the part, why he’ll do anything for McBride, and how quickly we really got to know the old man.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your first reaction when Danny asks you to play a 70-year-old pastor named Baby Billy?
WALTON GOGGINS: I started laughing, because I didn’t think he was serious. And then he was just looking at me while I was laughing, and was like, “No, I’m serious, I want you to play Uncle Baby Billy Freeman.” I said, “As a 70-year-old?” And he said, “Yeah, I’m not joking.” [Laughs] I’m like, “Oh, okay, alright, yeah, let’s do it. I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but let’s do it.” I’ll do anything he asks me to do, anywhere, anytime, because I’m such a fan of what [McBride and executive producers Jody Hill and David Gordon Green] do creatively, and Danny as a person. But I was really kind of blown away by the story, and I thought, like everything else that those guys touch, that they would just set the room on fire in this particular world, create a stir, probably piss a lot of people off, and then also make a lot of people laugh. They do those things simultaneously better than anybody, and so I just said, “Absolutely, are you kidding me? I’m in, buddy.”

You said you’ll do anything for Danny, so what is it that you love about working with him and what he brings out in you comedically?
I’ve been a fan of his for such a long time and admired his ability to convey his particular brand of comedy, which is not really comedy, it’s also drama. I was so unbelievably intimidated by it when I got the invitation to come and play on Vice Principals, even though I thought that something really special could come from it. Once I was there and got into it and the way he is as a person and the way they structure their sandbox, it just allows for real creative freedom, and it is so open and free from judgment — and you laugh. I’ve laughed harder with him, both onscreen and offscreen, than I have with any other person in my life. Whenever you find a situation like that, that allows you to express yourself with full support, then you run back whenever you can. It’s the same thing for me as working with Quentin [Tarantino]. Those are two people and environments that allow for magical things to happen. It’s sublime for me as an artist.

After a career of some heavier material, you’re on a pretty good comedy run with Vice PrincipalsGemstones, and The Unicorn. What have you liked about getting to dive into these waters? Was that an intentional transition?
No, it wasn’t intentional. I just go where the best writing is, and it just kind of moved in this direction. With Danny and David and Jody, those guys make dramas as much as they make comedies, but it allows for this absurd behavior before it distills it down to the essence of what they’re trying to say. And that’s the kind of comedy that I feel like I’ve always been doing. I think The Shield was actually one of the funniest shows on television, and Justified is Elmore Leonard, so you don’t get much funnier than that, but it also doesn’t shy away from the emotional dramatic elements of that story. So, for me, it just fit. It was like, “Wow, this is what comedy can be. There’s artifice here, it’s still moving in a direction and we’re telling a story that amounts to something and says something,” and that’s what I’m always looking for in the work that I choose, certainly at this point in my life. When there’s a strong sense of direction and a filmmaker behind it like Danny that really have a purpose for doing what they’re doing, that’s when I’m most comfortable and where I think I can contribute the most. And so the fact that I wake up today and find myself in this new arena, somehow it all makes sense, even though it’s a big diversion from the way people normally see me — and that’s a good thing. I can’t believe it, to be quite honest with you. There is great joy in laughing 90 percent of the day as opposed to needing a shrink after work. Continue Reading →

Sep 2, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×03 ‘They Are Weak, But He Is Strong’ Episodic Stills + Screen Captures

Sep 2, 2019

The Righteous Gemstones: 1×03 ‘They Are Weak, But He Is Strong’ Episodic Stills + Screen Captures

I’ve added 300+ high quality screen captures of Walton as Baby Billy Freeman from HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones which aired this past Sunday. You can also find high quality episodic stills from the episode in the gallery too.


Aug 12, 2019

Photos: 2019 TCA Portraits

Aug 12, 2019

Photos: 2019 TCA Portraits

On August 1st, Walton attended the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour in Los Angeles where he sat down with the press to discuss his upcoming show The Unicorn. While there he took part of a portrait session. As always, Walton is super expressive and silly and this shoot really puts that part of his personality on display.

You can check out the photos in the gallery now.


Aug 12, 2019

Video: Walton Goggins had to overcome his greatest fear for his role in ‘Them That Follow’

Aug 12, 2019

Video: Walton Goggins had to overcome his greatest fear for his role in ‘Them That Follow’

When Walton Goggins signed on to play Them That Follow’s Lemuel, the snake-handling pastor of a devout Pentecostal sect deep in Appalachia, you would think he’d have been okay with handling a snake or two. That was not the case. Ahead of the film’s release, we sat down with Goggins to discuss why he took the role anyway, what happened when his greatest fear came true, and why every role he takes feels like a profound privilege.