Dec 16, 2020

Press: Walton Goggins on finding comfort in ‘The Unicorn’ and reuniting with Natalie Zea

Dec 16, 2020

Press: Walton Goggins on finding comfort in ‘The Unicorn’ and reuniting with Natalie Zea

AVClub.com — Walton Goggins is best known for playing dangerous and/or disarming characters on series like The Shield, Vice Principals, and The Righteous Gemstones, and in films like The Hateful Eight. But as audiences learned when The Unicorn premiered on CBS in 2019, the Justified alum is just as at home in the cozier confines of a broadcast comedy. The charming sitcom, from co-creators Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, and Grady Cooper, follows a widower, Wade Felton (Goggins), as he raises two teen daughters (played by Ruby Jay and Makenzie Moss) and rebuilds his life with the help of his friends (played by Rob Corddry, Maya Lynne Robinson, Michaela Watkins, and Omar Miller).

The Unicorn’s premise hits close to home for Goggins, who was himself a widower, and for Cooper, who also had a couple of teens to take care of after the death of his wife. That storyline certainly drew Goggins to the series, which just premiered its second season on November 12, but as the actor tells The A.V. Club, The Unicorn has a lot to offer a variety of viewers, not just those recovering from tragic loss. Even Justified fans were on alert after the season-one finale reunited Goggins with Natalie Zea. The A.V. Club spoke to Goggins about working with Zea again, filming in the middle of a pandemic, and how The Unicorn offers catharsis and comfort through its comedy.

The A.V. Club: You started filming season two back in October, seven months after the shutdowns started. What’s it like to work on the show now?

Walton Goggins: Initially, it felt like there was so much to kind of overcome. But CBS and all of the studios, both big and small, had done such a good job taking into consideration people’s safety, and the protocols that they put in place are extraordinary. The one thing that was so jarring at first is, you know, you’ve got a mask on and the shield in front of your face. And I can’t read with my glasses off, so I had to figure out a way to get my glasses on and off. I’m not savvy enough to have bifocals, so I’m taking them on and off, and I have nowhere to put them. I got to get them over the shield, and it’s very complicated. [Laughs.] Our job is predicated on looking another person in the eyes and communicating to them, with and without words. When we started doing rehearsals with all of this stuff on, I thought, “Oh man, how’s this going to work? I don’t know how this is going to work.” As soon as that mask came off the first take, and it was just us, and there were two people looking into each other’s eyes, saying these lines, experiencing these emotions. It all just–I almost started crying because it made me feel so human. It was beautiful. And we’re back, and that’s it. It’s the new normal. You just adjust like everyone else.

AVC: Lately, there’s a lot of talk of the “perfect show for these times,” with a lot of people being drawn to comedies for comfort. Where does The Unicorn, which has a very lovely little community at the center of it, fit in that discussion?

WG: When we set out to do this a year and a half ago, it was this subject matter that attracted me. This is a story about a guy who loses his wife to cancer, and he has two daughters, and he has to learn how to live again. His group of friends come around to help him do that. It was very, very, very funny, but also infinitely relatable because when we are earnest and when we come from the heart, it lands in a real place. I felt then, and even more so now, that if we get this right, and we don’t shy away from what Wade is going through—because it’s happened to me. It’s happened to six friends of mine. It’s happened to all of us on some level. Whether you’re losing a job or you’ve lost a pet, we all experience loss. That is what we all have in common. And if we can get that right, and come from our hearts, and be unapologetically earnest in this endeavor, then we could do some real good in the world. Over the course of the last year, I’ve had countless people stop me on the street and just break down crying. I’m just holding them saying, “Hey, man, tell me about it. Tell me what’s going on in your life.” And it’s been cathartic. It’s been extraordinary.

But it just so happens that now, in our second season, we’re coming into a changed world, and we’re all experiencing it, like every single day on whatever level we’re experiencing it. To have a place to go to where you can see your own struggles reflected in your entertainment and you can laugh for a moment at your situation. God, we all need that, man. We all need it. And I think for all of us at any 24-hour period, you will definitely experience anxiety and fear and sadness. But in the same 24-hour period, you will experience a great amount of joy and laughter and comedy, because life is absurd. And that’s the fine line that we’re trying to walk on The Unicorn. We’re not forcing it. It’s just, that’s just built into the DNA of this show. That’s the nature of the guy’s life that the story is predicated on, Grady Cooper, and life in general. Continue Reading →

Dec 16, 2020

Press: Why ‘The Unicorn’ star Walton Goggins likes his rare nice-guy role

Dec 16, 2020

Press: Why ‘The Unicorn’ star Walton Goggins likes his rare nice-guy role

NYPost.com — Walton Goggins knows his way around memorable characters.

CBS sitcom “The Unicorn” sees the prolific actor starring as all-around nice guy Wade Felton, which he says is his biggest risk yet.

“It was scary, really. I’ve never played anyone that’s as close to who I am as Wade,” Goggins, 49, tells The Post.

“And that requires a lot of vulnerability. I like to hide behind things and dig deeper into other people’s lives. This one hits close to home in a number of ways.”

Now in its second season, (Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.), “The Unicorn” follows widower and father Wade as he raises his daughters and tries to get back into the dating scene following his wife’s death from cancer (his fundamental decency makes him an unexpected catch — or the “unicorn” of the show’s title).

A regular-Joe sitcom dad is a far cry from most of Goggins’ previous characters, as he’s known for a colorful array of off-the-wall personas such as the scheming Lee Russell (“Vice Principals”), criminal Boyd Crowder (“Justified”) corrupt cop Shane Vendrell (“The Shield”) and soulful sex worker Venus Van Dam (“Sons of Anarchy”).

“At the end of the day, I’m not Machiavellian in the choices that I make,” Goggins says about his differing roles. “It really comes down to, ‘This is what speaks to me now.’ And maybe that’s because of where I am in my life. I felt like we could really make a difference if we get this story [‘The Unicorn’] right, and make people feel a little less lonely. It’s about a guy who lost his wife and he has to learn how to live again. I thought, ‘Man, I’ve had this in my own life; this has happened to a number of friends of mine.’ Loss is something that we all have in common, whether it’s the loss of a job or a pet or anything, really.

“The thing that I love so deeply about ‘The Unicorn’ is that it is unapologetically sentimental, but that sentiment is earned. It’s kind and earnest, at a time when I think we could all use a hug because of what’s going on in our personal lives. That’s what we’re trying to do every week with telling the story of Wade Felton and his family and friends.”

Season 2 picks up with Wade having a potential love interest (Natalie Zea, “Justified”) after the two have a meet-cute in the cemetery. Goggins teases that finding her won’t solve all of Wade’s problems, however.

“I think for all of us, whenever we have found some peace in our life — when one door closes, inevitably right around the corner, another opens that offers new insights and new lessons. And that’s what Wade is headed towards this season with this relationship. Maybe it’s more complicated than how he imagined. It’s about how his daughters and friends deal with that.”

Up next, he’s also appearing in Season 2 of HBO’s televangelist comedy “The Righteous Gemstones,” reuniting with his “Vice Principals” co-star Danny McBride to play oddball preacher Baby Billy Freeman.

“We are so d–n excited, I got off the phone with Danny a couple days ago and they’re back in writing and doing some tweaks. That story just means so much to us and we have so much fun. It’s a big hole in our experience this year. [Filming was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.] We’re ready to get back.”

Oct 31, 2020

News/Photos/Video: Walton Goggins is a hitman aiming for Santa in ‘Fatman’ Trailer

Oct 31, 2020

News/Photos/Video: Walton Goggins is a hitman aiming for Santa in ‘Fatman’ Trailer

AL.com — It’s Santa as you’ve never seen him before.

That sounds like a Hollywood cliche, but in this case, it’s true.

Mel Gibson plays Chris Cringle in “Fatman,” a dark comedy/action movie written and directed by the Nelms brothers, Eshom and Ian. In their twisted take, Gibson’s character is far from the jolly old elf of holiday lore.

This Santa is a gun-toting hellraiser who’s gruff, bitter and feeling mighty unappreciated. He decides to team up with the U.S. military — in a “one-time deal” — that gets complicated when Cringle is targeted by a hitman (played by Alabama native Walton Goggins). A spoiled rich kid (Chance Hurstfield) hires the assassin, seeking vengeance on Santa for gifting him with a lump of coal.

“Fatman” is currently set for release in theaters in mid-November. Tagline on the poster: “’Tis the season to get even.”

Aug 21, 2020

Press/Video: Walton Stars as John Bronco in New Mockumentary

Aug 21, 2020

Press/Video: Walton Stars as John Bronco in New Mockumentary

Driving.ca — If you’ve never heard of John Bronco, the legendary ’60s ad pitchman whose name Ford borrowed for its iconic off-roader, maybe its because he slipped completely under the radar after 1996 when the SUV was discontinued.

Or maybe it’s because humour website Funny or Die completely invented the fictional character and that back story for its new short film, a mockumentary called John Bronco.

The teaser trailer for the flick explains almost nothing, but that’s kind of a good thing. The producers were hoping to create some mystery around their protagonist, and the best way to do that is to say almost nothing at all.

What we do know is the full version of the film is 36 minutes long and stars Django Unchained actor Walton Goggins as John Bronco, with Tim Meadows, Bo Derek, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar making cameos.

The plot centers around John Bronco, who allegedly disappeared in 1996, and his being hired by Ford, first to race its “prototype SUV” in the 1966 Baja 1000, and then as a pitchman who would become the face of the new truck.

The film was supposed to be unveiled at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival in April, though for obvious reasons that never happened. The distributor, Imagine Documentaries, may still roll it out later this year, though.

Aug 21, 2020

Press/Interview: Catching Up with Walton Goggins (Garden&Gun Magazine)

Aug 21, 2020

Press/Interview: Catching Up with Walton Goggins (Garden&Gun Magazine)

The Georgia-raised actor on good cocktails, The Andy Griffith Show, and playing Southern right

GardenandGun.com — It’s a child’s game. Turn yourself over to an imaginary set of circumstances. Everything you need to know is in the script. Read it three hundred times. Walton Goggins says those are the simple keys to acting, wisdom he gleaned from studying with the acting coach Harry Mastrogeorge for a decade. Such lessons have paid off. Goggins has appeared in some of TV’s best, from the gritty dramas The Shield and Justified to the indelible HBO comedies Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones, which will return for a second season. On the big screen, he’s part of Quentin Tarantino’s stable, with memorable roles in Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. And last year, Goggins got his own series on CBS, The Unicorn, in which he plays a widower in Raleigh raising two daughters while trying to date again. CBS has renewed the show.

Born in Alabama, Goggins grew up in Georgia and moved to Hollywood at nineteen, working at LA Fitness and starting a valet parking business while taking acting classes and auditioning. Now forty-eight, he co-owns Mulholland Distilling with his friend Matthew Alper.

I first met with the actor over whiskey at Bar Stella in Los Angeles. In the midst of the pandemic, we caught up by phone and started by talking about our mutual obsession with The Andy Griffith Show.

Like Andy GriffithThe Unicorn takes place in North Carolina, and you even play a widower dad.

That’s right. I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show in reruns. It was a seminal thing in my life. And I looked at it again in preparation for The Unicorn. In fact, my son started watching it with me.

Has it aged well?
The people who made that show were really putting something wonderful into the world. It’s unapologetic in its earnestness and sadness, but it’s also uplifting. I saw that and thought, “Why can’t we do that in the year 2020 on network television? We can do that.”

How did the South impact your career? 

I never appreciated my culture and my people until I moved out here away from it. All of a sudden, the things that I wanted to get away from became very important. My accent gave me an opportunity to sustain myself. At first, there were just roles playing dumb hicks. It’s no different than an Italian actor from New York who moves to Los Angeles— you’re going to play a mafioso. And if you’re from the South, you’re going to play a redneck. Those parts gave me enough free time to study. Once I started getting some power, I made movies with Ray McKinnon, who’s from Georgia. We did stories about our childhoods and what the South meant to us. We started with The Accountant, a short released in 2001, and it won an Academy Award.

You took playing a redneck to another dimension as Boyd Crowder on Justified, which was set in Kentucky.

Boyd allowed me to give a platform to people from rural America. I wanted them to see a person who, without an education, was the smartest guy in the room. Those were the people who I knew growing up. So often people from different regions in this country are reduced to a very narrow interpretation. I wanted to blow that out of the water and to make people proud, in a way.


Whiskey became an important part of that show. Is that what inspired you to start Mulholland Distilling?

Well, I’m not going to sell toothpaste, you know? And I’m not really good at selling anything. But I am good at living my life in a certain way, and I think people from the South by and large have to sign a contract when you’re born that when you’re of age, you have to have a sundowner at night. When my friend Matthew Alper, who was one of the best cameramen in the business, said he wanted to start distilling, I said, I’d like to go on this journey with you.

It seems to come naturally.

I love drinking with people, and I’ve done it all over the world. Sneaking a beer with some Indians outside of Jaipur during the week of Holi. Having a glass of wine in Namibia when I was doing Tomb Raider, hanging out with members of the Himba tribe on the Angolan border. I love imbibing with people, hearing their stories.

What makes a great cocktail?

Simplicity. It’s like the best George Jones song—three chords and the truth. For me, it’s whatever liquor I choose, a simple syrup, and citrus. I do love a martini as well.

In 1997, you appeared in Robert Duvall’s movie The Apostle, about a Pentecostal preacher. What did you learn from him?

Authenticity. To not talk down to your audience. To be truthful with the story that you’re trying to tell and the place that you’re trying to tell it from. He also taught me to have fun with storytelling. And Bobby loves the South.

You play his assistant, Sam, and when Duvall’s character gets arrested, Sam becomes a born-again Christian. Your performance of that moment is stunning. How much of your conversion was in Duvall’s script?

Bobby is a dear friend and a mentor, but I can safely say that none of that was on the page of the script he wrote. When we got back to Los Angeles after shooting, he took me to lunch. “Son,” he said, “I don’t know if acting is what you want to do for the rest of your life, but it should be because you feel deeply. You can’t manufacture that. It’s either in you or it isn’t. What you did in that scene made my story.” That’s the biggest compliment I could ever receive from anyone, let alone my hero. I was twenty-four years old, and he changed my life.

Whom did you look up to growing up? 

Burt Reynolds. Burt made movies in Atlanta, and I remember when Sharky’s Machine was being filmed in the Peachtree Plaza downtown. That was extraordinary to me. He was a real folk hero—an icon, man, to people from the South.

On Vice Principals, your character was a conniving high school administrator named Lee Russell, which sounds like a Southern name.

Yeah, “Lee Russell,” absolutely. I loved making Vice Principals. The creators, Danny McBride and Jody Hill, are from Virginia and North Carolina. The executive producer and director, David Gordon Green, is from Texas. There’s this shared kind of sense of humor that is part and parcel of being from where we’re from. Nobody makes me laugh the way somebody from the South can make me laugh.

This article appears in the August/September 2020 issue of  Garden & Gun.

Aug 21, 2020

Video: ‘The Unicorn’ Season 1 Gag Reel Has the Cast Absolutely Losing It; Now Available on DVD

Aug 21, 2020

Video: ‘The Unicorn’ Season 1 Gag Reel Has the Cast Absolutely Losing It; Now Available on DVD

The Unicorn season one DVD is available to purchase as of July 21st. You can buy your own copy now via Amazon!

TVWeb.comThe Unicorn is a single-camera comedy about a tight-knit group of best friends and family who help Wade (Walton Goggins) embrace his “new normal” in the wake of the loss of his wife one year ago. As a sometimes ill-equipped but always devoted single parent to his two adolescent daughters, he is taking the major step of dating again. To Wade’s amazement, he’s a hot commodity with women, and his friends explain that he’s the perfect single guy – a “unicorn”: employed, attractive, and with a proven track record of commitment. With his daughters and best friends rooting him on and hoping he’ll find happiness again, Wade and his healing heart are ready to try life… and love… again.

The Unicorn season one DVD set includes Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, and a Gag Reel. The gag reel is what we’re taking a look at today, and comedian Rob Corddry steals the show in our brief look at what didn’t make it in. Corddry is featured in multiple scenes as he makes his co-stars break character. Walter Goggins can barely look at him during one scene as the Hot Tub Time Machine star keeps riffing.

The ensemble cast is what has kept viewers coming back for more of The Unicorn. The show seemed to evolve over the course of 18 episodes, but Walton Goggins says that it was written into the show to be that way. With that being said, most of the cast had already known each other before hand and knew how they worked. Goggins had this to say about their different styles.

“And so while I can say that I’m still amazed by watching people like Rob and Michaela, who can turn it on a dime and read it the night before and become familiar with it, because they come from that improv world, I have to read it over and over again. I have to read it 100 times, while [Righteous Gemstones’] Danny [McBride] does it in a second. [The Shield’s Michael] Chiklis does it in a minute, but Glenn Close doesn’t. Anthony Hopkins doesn’t.”

When taking on The Unicorn, Walton Goggins admits that he was unsure of how it would feel working for a network like CBS. He originally thought it was going to be “claustrophobic.” However, he actually found the opposite to be true. He said working on the show has “actually liberating. I absolutely love it.” Goggins is looking forward to expanding the world that they have created with season one for season two. While we wait for that new season, you can check out the gag real from The Unicorn season one above.

Aug 4, 2020

Press/Video: ‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ Adaptation Official Trailer + Release Date

Aug 4, 2020

Press/Video: ‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ Adaptation Official Trailer + Release Date

Deadline.com — LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions have reteamed to release of the feature adaptation of Julia Walton’s YA Novel Words on Bathroom Walls. The teen drama is set to debut nationwide August 7 and marks the first theatrical release for both companies since the coronavirus pandemic.

Directed by Thor Freudenthal (Carnival Row, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and adapted by Nick Naveda, Words on Bathroom Walls follows Adam (Charlie Plummer), a young adult with raging hormones that has dreams of becoming a chef. Expelled halfway through his senior year, Adam is diagnosed with mental illness that he keeps secret at his new school. Living in constant fear of being exposed, Adam finds a connection with Maya (Taylor Russell), an outspoken and fiercely intelligent girl who inspires him to open his heart and not be defined by his condition. With the love and support of his newfound romance and family, Adam is hopeful for the very first time that he can see the light and triumph over the challenges that lie ahead.

“We are extremely proud to be telling this timely story about finding connectedness in the people who lift us up and accept us for who we are,” said LD Entertainment’s Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon in a join statement. “We love this movie, beautifully adapted from Julia Walton’s YA novel, with magnetic chemistry between Charlie Plummer and Taylor Russell that will be remembered for years to come. We were thrilled to have The Chainsmokers come on board after they connected with the story, and their original score brings a deeply personal and elevated touch. We shared the finished film with our friends at Roadside Attractions to see if it was time to get back to business. We both agreed it was and have committed to the August 7th release date!”

Roadside Attractions’ Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff added, “It’s an emotional film that appeals to the YA audience. And that audience is the demo that will return first to theatres. So, when LD Entertainment came to us to discuss releasing the film theatrically in less than two months’ time, we were up for the challenge. Under the right conditions, moviegoers have indicated their desire to return to the theatres in July. Exhibition has listened and committed the resources to ensure a safe experience. At this specific point in time, we have hit the Trifecta — a great film, a great partnership and great industry indicators. No one can predict the future, but we are all-in to make it a success in this current environment.”

The film also stars Andy Garcia, AnnaSophia Robb, Beth Grant, Devon Bostick, Lobo Sebastian, with Molly Parker and Walton Goggins. Freudenthal produces with Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon. Executive producers are Jennifer Monroe, Scott Holroyd, Alison Semenza King, Michael Glassman, and Kick the Habit Productions’ Alexander Pall, Andrew Taggart, Adam Alpert, and Dan Marcus. The film marks the first original score by The Chainsmokers who worked with Andrew Hollander.

Aug 2, 2020

Press: ‘The Unicorn’ Renewed at CBS

Aug 2, 2020

Press: ‘The Unicorn’ Renewed at CBS

TVSeriesFinale.com — Fans of The Unicorn won’t be disappointed. CBS just announced they’ve renewed the TV show for a second season for the 2020-21 broadcast season.

The Unicorn comedy series stars Walton Goggins as Wade, a widower and single parent who finds he is a hot commodity when he begins dating again. The cast also includes Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Omar Miller, Maya Lynne Robinson, Ruby Jay, Makenzie Moss, and Devin Bright.

The first season of The Unicorn, which wrapped in March, averaged a 0.71 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 5.66 million viewers. Though it underperformed when compared to CBS’ established Thursday night comedies, The Unicorn is among the top CBS TV shows for the 2019-20 broadcast season.

Dec 8, 2019

Walton Nominated for Critics’ Choice Award!

Dec 8, 2019

Walton Nominated for Critics’ Choice Award!

Shortly after the Golden Globes, the critics will also have their say. The nominations for this year’s Critics’ Choice Awards were announced on Sunday. And as it turns out our guy Walton was nominated for Best Actor In A Comedy Series for The Unicorn! Congratulations Walton! So proud of you!

The show will air Live on Sunday, January 12th, 2020 on The CW Network.

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ted Danson – The Good Place
Walton GogginsThe Unicorn
Bill Hader – Barry
Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek
Paul Rudd – Living with Yourself
Bashir Salahuddin – Sherman’s Showcase
Ramy Youssef – Ramy

Dec 8, 2019

Video: ‘Three Christs’ Official Trailer

Dec 8, 2019

Video: ‘Three Christs’ Official Trailer

HeyYouGuys.com — IFC films have launched a rather compelling trailer for Jon Avnet’s real-life story ‘Three Christs featuring Richard Gere.

Based on a remarkable true story, ‘Three Christs’ is a look at one man’s journey into the deepest mysteries of the human mind.

Directed by Avnet from a script he co-wrote alongside Eric Nazarian, the film stars Peter Dinklage, Walter Goggins and Bradley Whitford who all believe they are Jesus Christ.

The film hits US cinemas and On Demand January 10th 2020.

In 1959, psychiatrist Dr. Alan Stone (Richard Gere) arrives at a mental hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan armed with the radical belief that schizophrenic patients should be treated not with confinement and electroshock therapy but with empathy and understanding.

As his first study, he takes on the particularly challenging case of three men—Joseph (Peter Dinklage), Leon (Walton Goggins), and Clyde (Bradley Whitford)—each of whom believes they are Jesus Christ. Hoping that by getting them together in the same room to confront their delusions he can break through to them.

Dr. Stone begins a risky, unprecedented experiment that will push the boundaries of psychiatric medicine and leave everyone involved—including Dr. Stone himself— profoundly changed.