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 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 →

Aug 12, 2019

Walton Talks with Collider on Playing a Snake-Handling Preacher in ‘Them That Follow’

Aug 12, 2019

Walton Talks with Collider on Playing a Snake-Handling Preacher in ‘Them That Follow’

Collider.com — From writer/directors Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage, the indie drama Them That Follow is set deep in Appalachia, where Pastor Lemuel Childs (Walton Goggins) presides over a Pentecostal sect of serpent handlers. At the same time, his devoted daughter, Mara (Alice Englert), is preparing for her wedding day while also being forced to confront the fact that a dangerous secret could put her directly at odds with the traditions of her family and community.

At the film’s Los Angeles press day, Collider got the opportunity to sit down and chat 1-on-1 with actor Walton Goggins about why he wanted to be a part of telling this story, the appeal of playing this character, the mysteries of different types of religion, why people tend to be afraid of snakes, and faith vs. family for his character. He also talked about his role in the outrageous new HBO series The Righteous Gemstones, and why he wanted to play the lead role in the upcoming CBS comedy series The Unicorn.

Collider:  Watching this, it seems obvious why you would want to play the character like this and be a part of telling a story like this, but was it apparent, on the page, the first time that you read the script? Were there conversations about who this guy would be?

WALTON GOGGINS:  Yeah, that’s how I saw it, when I read it, the first time. What I was so blown away by were the words on the page, and the conflict and struggle that the lead character, Mara, played by Alice Englert, has in this story. It is very of this moment, the decision that she has to make and the journey that she’s on, and yet it’s also, simultaneously, from another time. I suppose what I try to do is to make her decision to ultimately leave this community as difficult as possible, and I try to do that through love. This practice, that they have in this community, is misunderstood and misaligned, on a number of levels, of course, but you should at least understand it to disagree with it. But what is undeniable is the love that this man has for his daughter.

For me and for everyone involved, especially for the writer/directors, Britt and Daniel, it was important not to take sides, and to just show the stakes that are involved with living a life, or making a decision, that runs contrary to what all of these people believe, spiritually. It wouldn’t be a big deal in a lot of other communities. It just wouldn’t be. But for these people, it’s life or death. Humans are incapable of passing judgment. That has to come from God, and the vehicle through which that atonement is made, in this particular circumstance, is through handling deadly snakes. We didn’t make this up. Britt and Daniel didn’t make this up. This practice has been going on for 125 years, in America. The first Pentecostal church in America was here in California, believe it or not, at least as far as I understand, in the 1920s, and it proliferated from here. This is just a way that a very small group of people, in this country, show their devotion and worthiness in God’s eyes. It’s something I’m very proud of. I think it says a lot about a lot.

People find snakes so mysterious, in general, because they don’t quite understand them, and then when you add that to religion, it’s something that’s even more difficult to understand for some people.

GOGGINS:  My wife and I found an article about why snakes are so scary, or at the center of fears that people have. For a number of people, snakes are always a part of that list. For me, it’s number one on that list. It’s not sharks, and it’s not spiders. Heights is on there, on some level, but it’s really snakes. And we both found this article that talked about snakes, from the point of view of just their movement. I’m sure there is a survival instinct, with things that can hurt you, and that’s a part of our DNA for thousands of years. We can’t make sense of their movement. There is no way in which to predict what they will do, and things that are unpredictable are anathema to surviving, as a human being, and that’s what this article was all about. It was extraordinary, really, because I had never thought about it in that way. In some ways, you can see other animals movements or the unknown coming, as a threat from a hurricane or tornado, even though that’s a bit unpredictable, too. But snakes, it’s up close and it’s intimate. It’s personal, and you just can’t make sense of what they’re doing. The snake has been cast in the role of the villain, since the very beginning. That is the Christian origin story. So, it represents things that are nefarious and harmful to us, in story, since the very beginning. Why is that the case?

Continue Reading →

Aug 3, 2019

The Unicorn Finally Allows Walton Goggins to Be Himself (And That Person Is Very Sexy)

Aug 3, 2019

The Unicorn Finally Allows Walton Goggins to Be Himself (And That Person Is Very Sexy)

TVGuide.com — This fall, CBS will debut The Unicorn, a new single-camera comedy all about how Walton Goggins is sexy and everyone wants to date him. His character, Wade, is a widower, and the show, which hails from executive producers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, is about Wade getting back on the horse and giving himself permission to live again after a year spent grieving his wife.

It is a role that involves Goggins stepping out of the box a bit. The actor has made a career of playing charismatic villains (Justified) or characters who exist in morally gray areas (The Shield), primarily on cable dramas that often, but not always, aired on FX. Goggins says the role of Wade is actually much closer to who he is in real life, and taking that on was a bit “unnerving.”

“I was really insecure about it,” Goggins, who lost his first wife in 2004, told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday. “This is closer to me than anything that I’ve ever played. It took me asking myself the question, can you pull that off? Can you pull off just being you? Once I got past that fear of it then I said yeah, no, this is what I think I’ve always wanted to play.”

“It was nice to step outside of hiding behind something,” he continued. “We’ll see where it goes. But it’s been liberating in a way, and very grounding. I’m very happy with this opportunity.”

Noting that he has a similar relationship with his son, Augustus (with wife Nadia Conners), and friends that Wade has with his two daughters and a close group of friends, Goggins said he was drawn to the material because of the writing. “When this came along, I just fell deeply in love with him and with his struggles. And I fell in love with his daughters and I fell in love with his friends and this community,” he said.

Adding that he is now at an age where he is tired of irony, Goggins is simply ready to focus on different things. “I am at a place in my life, at 48 years old, where kindness and sentimentality and being earnest are things that are very important to me. And this show kind of spoke to all of that.”

However, when asked if he was ready for everyone to fall in love with him or find him sexy just like Wade, Goggins isn’t so sure. “I’ve never been accused of being that handsome or that attractive. … I suppose if the circumstances make the man… I’ll take it.”

The Unicorn premieres Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.

May 9, 2019

CBS Orders Comedy Series ‘The Unicorn’

May 9, 2019

CBS Orders Comedy Series ‘The Unicorn’

Deadline.com — CBS has made its new comedy series picks, giving orders to the four most buzzed about pilots: Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins’ Carol’s Second Act, starring Patricia Heaton; Chuck Lorre’s Bob Hearts Abishola, headlined by Billy Gardell; Alex Herschlag and Jennie Snyder Urman’s Broke, starring Jaime Camil and Pauley Perrette; and Bill Martin and Mike Schiff’s The Unicorn, headlined by Walton Goggins.

This marks the return to CBS of two stars of successful comedy series on the network, Heaton, who was on Everybody Loves Raymond, and Gardell, one of the stars of Lorre’s Mike & Molly, as well as of NCIS fan favorite Perrette.

Both Carol’s Second Act and The Unicorn come from Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, which also has freshman CBS comedy series The Neighborhood, already renewed for next season, and bubble CBS comedy series Life In Pieces and Fam. It gives Kapital a 2-for-2 record with its CBS pilots this year.

The Unicorn, which originated as single-camera before being converted to multi-camera and back to single-camera, will mark CBS’ first single-camera comedy series since Young Sheldon.

The order for Bob Hearts Abishola will keep Lorre’s CBS series tally at 3 following the pending departure of The Big Bang Theory. He also has Mom and Young Sheldon, both renewed for the next two seasons.

Here are detailed descriptions and credits for CBS’ newly picked up comedy series:

On the drama side, CBS just picked up to series Robert and Michelle King’s Evil, Dick Wolf’s FBI: Most Wanted spinoff and legal drama All Rise from writer Greg Spottiswood.

THE UNICORN (Single Cam)

EPs/Writers: Bill Martin, Mike Schiff
EPs: Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor (Kapital Entertainment), Wendi Trilling, Peyton Reed
EP/Director: John Hamburg (pilot only)
STUDIO: CBS Television Studios
LOGLINE: A tight-knit group of friends and family help a widower move on following the most difficult year of his life, which includes being an ill-equipped but devoted single parent to his two daughters, and taking the major step of dating where, to his shock, he’s a hot commodity.
CAST: Walton Goggins, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Omar Benson Miller, Maya Lynne Robinson, Ruby Jay, Makenzie Moss

Mar 5, 2019

Walton Goggins To Headline CBS Comedy Pilot ‘The Unicorn’ As It Reverts To Single-Camera Format

Mar 5, 2019

Walton Goggins To Headline CBS Comedy Pilot ‘The Unicorn’ As It Reverts To Single-Camera Format

Deadline.com — Justified and Vice Principals alum Walton Goggins has been set at the lead of The Unicorn, CBS’ half-hour comedy pilot from Fam co-executive producers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, Kapital Entertainment and CBS TV Studios.

The projectoriginally developed as a single-camera, was picked up to pilot as a multi-camera. It underwent conversion and tapped veteran multi-camera helmer James Burrows to direct. Now The Unicorn will be reverting to its original single-camera format with a new director. It is the only single-camera comedy pilot at CBS this season; all others are multi-camera/hybrid.

Written by Martin and Schiff and inspired by a true story, The Unicorn centers on a recent widower (Goggins) who is eager to move on from the most difficult year of his life, only to realize he’s utterly unprepared to raise his two daughters on his own and equally unprepared for the dating world — where, to his shock, he’s suddenly a hot commodity.

Goggins’ character, a devoted father to two adolescent girls, is a big-hearted open-book of a guy, but without his wife, he’s finding himself at sea. When his friends persuade him to start dating again, he discovers to his shock that he’s kind of a hot commodity — if only he knew what the heck he was doing.

Goggins, who was pursued for multiple pilots this season, earned an Emmy nomination for his co-starring role on FX drama series Justified and also had a major role on History’s Six. On the comedy side, he starred on the HBO series Vice Principals, landing a Critics’ Choice Award last year. This is the second consecutive CBS/CBS Studios pilot for Goggins, who starred in the well-received drama L.A. Confidentiallast season. He also guest starred last season on CBS’ top comedy series The Big Bang Theory.Martin and Schiff executive produce with Kapital Entertainment’s Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor and Wendi Trilling — who has a pod deal at Kapital — and Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed. CBS TV Studios is the studio.

Goggins is the star and executive producer of the upcoming eight-episode second season of the espionage drama Deep State, which airs on Epix in the US. His recent feature credits include Tomb Raider and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Goggins, who next will be seen in Them That Follow, which premiered at Sundance, is repped by ICM Partners and Darris Hatch Management & Production.

Jan 7, 2019

TVGuide: The Best Show I Watched in 2018 Went Off the Air Three Years Ago

Jan 7, 2019

TVGuide: The Best Show I Watched in 2018 Went Off the Air Three Years Ago

TVGuide.com — The end of the calendar year is a time for lists. In the world of TV criticism, it’s a time for lists that purport to rattle off the 10 best shows (or more!) of the year. As I tried desperately to remember 10 shows I watched this year that I would classify as being deserving of such accolades, I realized two things. First, I realized that the best show I watched in 2018 was actually Justified, which went off the air three years ago. And second, the first was true because 2018 was the year I finally gave up trying to stay current on the glut of new programming every network and streaming service was trying to shove into my eyeballs and just watched whatever the hell I wanted. So yeah, I rewatched Justified.

Let me tell you: It was liberating to return to the crime-ridden hills and hollers of Harlan, Kentucky, and spend time with U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and outlaw Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) instead of worrying about whether or not I was caught up on the newest TV show. It’s exhausting trying to consume everything on TV so you can stay relevant at parties or whatever. So while all my coworkers were obsessing over the emotional stories of The Haunting of Hill House, I was happily reliving the glory of the Bennetts and Drew Thompson. While they were talking about Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was thinking about this photo of Timothy Olyphant leaning in a doorway …

While they were all about [insert some other new show here], I was dreaming of buying cross-stitched pillows featuring some of Justified’s best asshole-related quotes, like the most iconic one below:

There’s not a living room in the country that wouldn’t be improved with those words stitched across the couch pillows, and you know I’m right.

But Justified was all too frequently overlooked when it was on. Developed for TV by Graham Yost from a short story by Elmore Leonard, the series aired on FX from 2010 until 2015, which means it unfortunately sometimes got lost among the Breaking Bads and the Mad Mens of the supposed Golden Age of TV. In fact, it only made a fruitful showing at the Emmys when Breaking Bad wasn’t eligible. And although Olyphant and Goggins were both nominated for their excellent work that year, it was just supporting actress Margo Martindale who walked away with a shiny statuette for her work in the show’s perfect second season. And yes, Martindale more than deserved that Emmy, but Justified as a whole deserved far more recognition than it actually received. This is why I sometimes shout “Justified was robbed!” into the void completely unprompted. This was a damn good TV show, and one that is far better than some of the shows airing now.

However, what I learned during my most recent rewatch (obviously this was not the first time I’ve rewatched Justified since it ended) is not just that Season 3 was Peak Raylan Sexiness or that there’s real, honest comfort in revisiting shows, but that the series and its story are universal. The obstacles the characters are all trying to overcome are familiar; even if you didn’t grow up in a small, corrupt town like Harlan, you can understand the overwhelming feeling of being trapped by your hometown and never leaving it alive. Even if you don’t support Boyd’s lawless actions, you can appreciate his clever mind and understand his drive. (Though I will probably never forgive him for what he did to Dewey Crowe.) Every character was drawn with such depth (the Crowes of Season 5 excluded) that you were empathetic toward them even if they were also technically a villain.

But what made Justified so successful was obviously the complex relationship between Raylan and Boyd, two men who not only dug coal together, but were also two sides of the same coin. Raylan could have easily ended up an outlaw instead of a lawman, and although it’s something he isn’t likely to forget, knowing this always made his scenes with Boyd, full of banter though they were, feel loaded and that much more electrifying. The series’ sense of humor was also one of the sharpest I’ve seen anywhere, which is notable mostly because Justified is ostensibly a drama series. But the show was littered with instantly iconic moments and quips and memorable back-and-forths that went down like the smoothest Kentucky bourbon. It is also responsible for what might be the single most badass line in TV history:

Near the end of the show’s final season, Raylan told Boyd, “I gotta admit, there’s a small part of me that’s gonna miss this when it’s over.” He said this after revealing that he was coming for Boyd and the two men exchanged some of their trademark banter. But in 2018, there’s no reason any of this has to be over. Even if there are great new TV shows debuting year after year — and there absolutely are — there are still plenty of old ones that are just as good, if not better. And there’s absolutely no shame in embracing those shows and the comfort they provide simply because there’s something bright, shiny and new out there. That’s why I will probably continue to rewatch Justified every year and fall in love with it over and over and over again.

Dec 23, 2018

Walton Goggins Reveals His Picks for the Best L.A. Hangouts During the Holidays

Dec 23, 2018

Walton Goggins Reveals His Picks for the Best L.A. Hangouts During the Holidays

The actor and co-owner of spirits brand Mulholland Distilling gives his recommendations for dinner, drinks and holiday recovery.

HollywoodReporter.com — Like so many who work in Hollywood, I spend a lot of time on the road. On more than one occasion, the song most often played on holiday radio stations that I hear is “Please Come Home for Christmas.” But not this year… The schedule has changed and Daddy is coming home! Thank you, scheduling gods! You know that saying: There are four stages in life — you believe in Santa Claus, you don’t believe in Santa Claus, you are Santa Claus and you look like Santa Clause. I’m in the third group, showing early signs of joining the fourth, and I love it. It means after our beautiful family has opened presents and shared gifts of appreciation, my wife and I get to step out and have a date night (or two) on the town, reflecting on the year that’s passed and giving meaning to the year to come. These are a few places I’m looking forward to visiting the most.

FOR DINNER Dama in the fashion district is one of my newest favorites. Vintage Latin vibes, indoor-outdoor seating, tropical plants, dim lights and dark wood make you feel like you’re in Cuba. There’s a sense of nostalgia that I love, and the drinks and food reflect the relaxed blend of traditional and modern that Los Angeles does better than any city. I spent an evening at Dama when I was last home and wound up having a long chat with co-owner Steve Livigni. What a lovely human being. He opened a mezcal that I’d never tried. I’m hoping he still has some left.

FOR DRINKS Apotheke is just beautiful. I’ve been going to the one in NYC for eight years and am over the moon that we now have one in our own backyard. The moment you step into the unassuming Chinatown bar with velvet curtains, ornate furniture and a glowing marble bar, you feel the warmth of a bygone era, just what you want during the holidays. The cocktail list is also fucking insanely good. Order the Dizzying Intellect: It’s made with our gin, jicama, Kummel, lime, Spruce beer and Angostura bitters.

FOR HOLIDAY RECOVERY When I need a deliciously healthy meal after all the parties (I’m the dude who stashes cookies in his pockets), Botanica in Silver Lake is my go-to spot. It’s relaxingly health-conscious. Plus, the airy, bright space and serene, cozy patio are perfect for breakfast meetings, lunches and sharing a meal with friends.

Nov 17, 2018

Walton Goggins Reveals His Favorite Bars and Eateries for Hollywood Insiders

Nov 17, 2018

Walton Goggins Reveals His Favorite Bars and Eateries for Hollywood Insiders

The actor and co-owner of spirits brand Mulholland Distilling recommends his favorite L.A. haunts for every occasion, whether pitching a project or trying to feel right at home.

HollywoodReporter.com – Hey, everybody! Goggins here. THR has asked me to try writing a series of columns highlighting some of the hippest bars and restaurants in the City of Angels. I said, “If I can do it my way.” To which they said, ”Sure … yeah … OK … we think!”
A disclaimer: I own a spirits company called Mulholland Distilling along with my partner, Matthew Alper. We have an American whiskey, a New World gin and a vodka. They’re all award-winning and delicious. We hope you pick up a bottle. Some of the places I talk about serve Mulholland spirits, and some do not. OK, let’s do this.

To pitch a project

Where do you go for that meeting that can change your life? There are a number of places I could go to get my “yes” or “no,” but nine out of 10 times, I go to that mansion on the hill — yes, Chateau Marmont. There is something about the time it takes to walk up that long driveway, past the sitting area downstairs where the “cool” people smoke, and up those two flights of steps to the hostess stand that allows me to think, “I got this. I fucking got this!” It doesn’t matter if you get a table in the garden or inside one of the most romantic rooms in our city, you have the wind of the mighty Chateau at your back. I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of the people that have been pitching and listening to stories in this hotel (once an apartment building) for almost 90 years. I feel a part of the history of this great exchange of ideas. That goes a long way when for a moment you step into that ring of vulnerability.

I always get a salad and fries, a sparkling water and a cappuccino with whole milk. I eat, small talk, eat and small talk until my lunch is finished, sink into the sofa, relax my shoulders, exhale and begin. If you get a “yes,” great, if you get a “no,” fuck it. I’ve had and given both. Regardless of the answer, you’ve had the chance to spend an afternoon in one of the most storied places in our city, the Chateau Marmont. Or the Chateau. Or, simply, the Chat!

To impress

Whenever I want to hang with an actor buddy or a director I want to impress, I take them to Manuela in the Arts District’s Hauser & Wirth building. If you haven’t been there, trust me, you’ll say, “Wow, I never knew this was here!” It’s beautiful, with a menu that will satiate the appetite of the most discerning Angeleno. It’s inside, yet outside, and quiet. It’s just what you need to dip into a long conversation about creativity. Ask for the Pearl (named after my partner’s daughter), made with our American whiskey, summer fig, vanilla bean, lemon and mint. Wish I was drinking one right now. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

To feel right at home

Like all Angelenos, when I’ve been out of town working for a while, the thing I miss most (besides family and friends) is Mexican food. Nobody does it like Los Angeles. There are so many incredible places, but my go-to is El Compadre. It’s been in its original location on Sunset Boulevard for 45 years. I’ve been going for 20. In a world where everything is constantly changing, it’s nice to have a place that remains the same. I know everyone there — they’re like family. Nothing says, “You’re home, Goggins” like hot chips, a carne asada quesadilla and a flaming margarita!