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.
Video: Walton Goggins had to overcome his greatest fear for his role 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?
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.
Walton appeared on KTLA 5 Morning News this past Tuesday (July 30th) where he discussed his upcoming film Them That Follow and his new CBS sitcom The Unicorn. You can watch it out below:
The Orchard has released the official trailer for their upcoming thriller drama titled Them That Follow starring Academy Award-winning actress Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) as Hope and Mara.
Deep in Appalachia, Pastor Lemuel Childs presides over an isolated community of serpent handlers, an obscure sect of Pentecostals who willingly take up venomous snakes to prove themselves before God. As his devoted daughter, Mara prepares for her wedding day, under the watchful eye of Hope Slaughter, a dangerous secret is unearthed and she is forced to confront the deadly tradition of her father’s church.
The film also stars Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Jim Gaffigan (Drunk Parents), Thomas Mann (Lady and the Tramp), Walton Goggins (Justified) and Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale).
Them That Follow is written and directed by Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage. It produced by actor Gerard Butler, Bradley Gallo, Michael A. Helfant, Daniellle Robinson and Alan Siegel.
The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January. It is scheduled to have its theatrical release on August 2nd.
Walton Goggins on ‘Deep State’, the ‘L.A. Confidential’ Pilot, and ‘The Righteous Gemstones’
Collider.com — From co-creator/showrunner/writer/director Matthew Parkhill, the Epix drama series Deep State is a fast-moving espionage thriller that follows what happens after U.S. Special Forces are killed in an ambush in Mali, leaving it up to operative Nathan Miller (Walton Goggins) to find answers and resolve the situation, and to keep things business as usual in Washington, D.C. However, all is not as it seems, and it rarely is when it comes to the deep state, politics and government conspiracies.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Walton Goggins talked about the appeal of a project like Deep State, the challenges of making a solid thriller that spans three countries, understanding his character, why every day was a challenge, and what makes him and showrunner Matthew Parkhill soul brothers. He also talked about reuniting with Danny McBride for the HBO series The Righteous Gemstones (premiering in August), the heartbreak over the L.A. Confidential pilot ultimately not getting picked up, his upcoming half-hour comedy series The Unicorn (premiering in the fall on CBS), and which directors he’d love to work with.
Collider: This is definitely one of those exciting, edge-of-your-seat thrillers, where you wonder who’s going to make it out, by the end.
WALTON GOGGINS: I’m just so grateful for the opportunity, and for the invitation to come play on this kind of global experience. Matthew Parkhill, whom I’m now a very big fan of, both personally and professionally, was enamored with The Shield. It was one of his favorite shows. And also, Syriana is one of his favorite films. He is influenced by all of these stories that weave these multiple threads, and have these dense character arcs that overlap and intersect with one another. When he set out to do this, it’s very different than Season 1, and he wanted to layer in an origin story for the people that were there, from the beginning, and introduce this character, and then have him continue in the story. It’s very difficult to pull off something like that, but I think he did it. I was just so grateful and on board for whatever he had in his imagination.
It’s difficult to pull off a good thriller, and to make sure that the ending is just as good as the beginning.
GOGGINS: Yeah. And in some ways, the second season of any show, more often than not, is when you get the opportunity to broaden the definition of what a show is and can become, at least in my experience with both The Shield and Justified, although I think the first season of both were so unbelievably satisfying. And I feel that way about Deep State, and what it’s trying to say in Season 2. Season 1 was really about discovering that the Deep State exists, and Season 2 is about, “Okay, then what exactly is the Deep State? What are their motivations? How do they work? What becomes of the people that represent those institutions?” That’s where I got really excited. There’s a price to pay, morally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, for being an ambassador of institutions that ostensibly run the world,. That’s what you’re going to see, for this experience, from Nathan Miller.
It’s really interesting storytelling that we get to learn about your character and this team across two timelines, running concurrently throughout the season. You get to watch where he’s come from while seeing what he’s currently dealing with. Do you feel like that helps give the viewer an understanding of his motivations and actions, seeing those two timelines together?
GOGGINS: Yeah, I do. I think one would say that about themselves. If you explore a person two years ago, and you explore a person today, on the other side of a significant event in one’s life, you would be able to understand them more deeply. While that requires the viewer to be invested and on a level that is not unexpected really in today’s television landscape, it does give you a real interesting perspective on why a person has become who they’ve become, and it lets you do that pretty quickly. For the characters that I’ve had an opportunity to play in television, that’s taken six or seven years to reach those conclusions. By the end of this season, whatever you think of Nathan Miller, you will have a sped up timeline in which to view who he is and his place in the world, and that’s also for every single character in this story.
This is a show that was shot on location across three countries, and that also did a stint in the Sahara Desert. What’s the experience like, shooting something like this, in all of those places?
GOGGINS: For me, I have always wanted to be a part of a political thriller that intersected cultures, economics, and diverse interests from different groups. I haven’t gotten to play Jason Bourne in a movie, so for me, it was a dream come true. This is a story that takes place in three different countries, and there are seven different languages, with people from all over the world and one American, which is me. To step into that kind of sandbox is something that I’ve always wanted to play in, and it’s a show that’s not just made for a U.S. audience. It’s really made for all of the constituents that FOX International has, around the world. It has something for everyone. There are pebbles that are dropped into a lake, that make a very small wave, but that can turn into a tsunami. All of those waves intersect to bring about a change, which is sometimes for the greater good, and sometimes not for the greater good.
It seems like this was a shoot that was pretty high intensity with a lot of tension among the characters. Was there a hardest or most challenging day on this shoot? Were there days that were particularly challenging, especially depending on what locations you were in?
GOGGINS: Every day was challenging, and every day was exhilarating. Matthew Parkhill is a person not so different than myself. I think we’re soul brothers, in the way that he doesn’t like stages or sets that are built. He likes the reality of being in any given location. That really stimulates him. And so, when you don’t have the comfort of at least having a home base, and you’re moving every single day, for upwards of five months, that’s a challenge. That’s a challenge for the cast, the crew, and the directors. Matthew Parkhill created and wrote the show, and he directed half of it. And then, this wonderful British director, Joss Agnew, came onboard to direct the other half. And we had two DPs, Nic Lawson and Nick Dance, with all of the challenges that they faced. We all grew very tight, and it was about communicating in all of these different places. Some crew was there the whole time, but the crews changed, depending on which country we filmed in. It was an extraordinary struggle, really. It’s baffling that we were able to pull this off, for the budget that we pulled it off for, and all the while saying something that I think is really personal. It’s personal to me, I know it’s personal to Matthew Parkhill, and I think it’s personal to everyone involved.
I was so very thrilled to learn that you’d be reuniting with Danny McBride for The Righteous Gemstones because it would have been tragic, if you weren’t a part of that show. When and how did you find out that he wanted you to be a part of that series?
GOGGINS: He’s one of my best friends. Our experience together on Vice Principals formed a friendship that will last for the rest of my life, for sure. We talk all of the time, and we’ve been talking about this, for the better part of a year. For Danny, it was just figuring out, “Okay, well, how do we do this again? How do we do it in a way that isn’t repetitive of how we did it during Vice Principals? How do we fit in this story?” I won’t say much more than that. Suffice it to say, we’ve been talking about it for a long time, and when he found it in his magical imagination, it was perfect. He said, “I want you to play a 67-year-old man.” I said, “Damn, Danny, really? You want to sit in a make-up chair for how fuckin’ long?!” But, it worked and I’m so unbelievably happy. I am thrilled for this experience and what’s happening. It is so goddamn funny and so poignant, and it will cause a stir, in the way that Danny, Jody [Hill], and David Gordon Green do. They make big waves. There’s no place that I would rather be. It’s a real spiritual home for me, being with those gentlemen. Continue Reading →
HiddenRemote.com — Walton Goggins is one of the most tremendous actors of our generation, but Deep State may be his best performance yet.
Goggins joined the EPIX drama this season to portray fixer Nathan Miller, and he has brought so much to the international series. He’s carefully unraveled Miller, showing a man whose mission may be on a global scale, but has tremendous personal consequences. As the series tackles some big issues, Goggins has brilliantly zeroed in on the human collateral damage.
Ahead of tonight’s new episode, he spoke with Hidden Remote about following in the footsteps of the talented Mark Strong, how he’s worked with the cast and crew to craft Miller’s story and how Deep State compares to his previous roles on series like Justified and The Shield.
Learn more in our interview with Walton Goggins below, then don’t miss a new episode of Deep State tonight on EPIX at 9 p.m. ET/PT. You can find how to watch EPIX here.
Hidden Remote: Deep State is such an underrated show, and it’s different in that it’s an international production, too. What was it about the series that made you sign on to star in season 2?
Walton Goggins: I have always wanted to be a part of a world like this. I’ve always wanted to explore politics on a global level and the way the world works, or a hypothetical of how the world works. I’m a big fan of a filmmaker out of the UK called Adam Curtis, and it just kind of makes you think about the world we live in—the flow of money, and the confluence of different interests and different points of view.
I thought that Matthew Parkhill, our creator, what he had done with the first three scripts that I read was unbelievable. How are you doing that? How are you pulling that off? He was a big fan of The Shield, actually, which [is] always a good thing when somebody likes your work and I liked the way his mind works. So when they asked me to come on board, I said yeah, I’ll go wherever you want me to go.
I’m a better man for it. I’m a better human being for it. We had an incredible experience. It’s something to be part of a show that takes place over three countries, seven different languages, and you’re the only American involved. That’s pretty cool.
HR: The first season had its own story and some, though not all, different characters. So did you watch season 1 or did you want to treat season 2 as its own separate entity?
WG: I’m a huge fan of [season 1 star] Mark Strong and a lot of the other actors; Alistair Petrie, I’ve followed his career for a really long time. And I felt that it was really necessary to understand [the] tone and Matthew, what his visuals are like and how his language is interpreted visually.
So that’s always important to do that…It was important to understand what the story was—and then to throw all that away the best you can and do your own version of it.
HR: Nathan Miller is a man who is on top of his game, but it’s also taking its toll. What would you say people need to know or look for about your character as we get further into Deep State season 2?
WG: The term “deep state” has become part of pop culture. The Illuminati has been around for however long for as long as they’ve been around, and this is a person who works for this organization and is a fixer for this organization. Ihe process of doing that, he will become morally compromised, and he will become spiritually compromised, and he will become physically compromised.
If you like tension and you are attracted to deep character development, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t as an actor. I hold these stories up to a high standard to be involved in, and I’m really satiated and satisfied with how every percent of this story evolves over the course of the eight episodes.
I think it’s extraordinary, really. It’s hard to pull off a show that takes place in three different countries and seven different languages, it’s very difficult to do that with two different timelines, and I think we did it.
HR: You’re no stranger to playing complicated, often morally grey characters. How does Miller compare to people like Shane Vendrell from The Shield or Boyd Crowder on Justified?
WG: It’s right up there with them. It’s in that race, all the way up to the last thing that Miller says in this story. [That]’s as profound and personal to me as any last words of any character that I’ve ever been given an opportunity to play. It reverberated at the room at the time. It was so deeply emotionally impacting.
It’s one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I would say that about a lot of experiences I’ve had. I’m a very lucky man. I’ve been given great opportunities over the course of my career, and this is another one.
HR: Deep State has so many layers, whether it’s the secrets that come out as a spy thriller or the many facets of your character. Did you want or need to know the entirety of the arc going into filming?
WG: I’m at a place in my career where that’s imperative. I don’t want surprises. I don’t want secrets. I’m not a person that lives his life that way, and so I need to know everything. What I mean by that is if [there] happens to be a discussion that happens before the finale is written, I want to have that discussion.
What I try to do, and I think what a lot of people I look up to really try to do, is be emotionally pure—that it is an authentic point of view. Iit’s not contrived or gratuitous, but it is inherent to the emotional and spiritual journey this person I’m playing would go through. This show was no different.
And I like collaboration. I think I’m a really good collaborator and I let whoever I’m working with know that up front, and Matthew really liked my ideas. Once he told me exactly what he wanted to say, I trust him and I trust the people I work with, but we talked about the finale of this show and four or five different options for what he wanted to say from the very beginning. As long as we say something at the end of five months of experience.
I think my time is very valuable. [This is] time I’ve taken away from my child and my family, my friends, my wife. So it better be for a reason that I can say to my child that this is what I was doing. This is why your father was away. Matthew is a person that wants to say something, and he did it.
HR: How do you look back on the experience of Deep State season 2?
WG: I came into this world. It was already set up when I came into it. And all of the other actors on this show—Alistair Petrie and Joe Dempsie and Karima McAdams and Anastasia Griffith—these are incredible actors who have an incredible story that they’re also protective of and it unfolds for them how it unfolds for them.
But I suppose for me and Nathan Miller, that there is a price to pay for compromising oneself morally. I hope that it will be as emotionally impactful to the audience as it was for me, because it came from the heart of the people that created this experience in the first place.
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!
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!
Emmys 2018: Walton Goggins, Hollywood’s Ultimate Journeyman, Is Finally a Breakout Star
Walton Goggins delivered one of ET’s Standout Performances of the 2017-18 season.
ETOnline.com — Walton Goggins is, perhaps, Hollywood’s ultimate journeyman.
The actor, who has bounced between film and TV for the past 29 years after first appearing in a 1989 episode of The Heat of the Night, has been this way “since I was a young man,” he tells ET by phone, acknowledging, in some way, that he’s been “that guy from that show” for most of his career. In fact, to many, he has become known for supporting roles on The Shield, Justified and Sons of Anarchy — three shows that have earned Goggins critical praise and steady work if not “it” status or covers of magazines.
Then, in 2015, all of that changed thanks to, yes, another supporting role, but this time as Sheriff Chris Mannix in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. It was his second time working with Tarantino, after an even smaller role in Django Unchained. But this time he ran away with the entire film, stealing scenes from Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell.
While on set of The Hateful Eight, outside of Telluride, Colorado, Goggins was offered the opportunity to star opposite Danny McBride in Vice Principals, a new comedy marking the return of McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green to HBO after four seasons of Eastbound and Down. “I read the first three scripts and I was just blown away by it,” Goggins says. “I was just grateful for the invitation to come play with them.”
Soon, he was playing Chris Mannix for Tarantino during the day and at night getting into the character of Lee Russell, a conniving and sociopathic vice principal vying for the top job at a South Carolina high school. “You know, you’re tired when you fall asleep but it’s a high-class problem, isn’t it?” Goggins says of the experience.
The show, which ran for two seasons, premiered in July 2016 to rave reviews and has since earned Goggins photo spreads in high-profile magazines as well as also roles in History Channel’s Six, this year’s big-budget films Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Tomb Raiderand Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the lead in the CBS pilot for a new TV adaptation of L.A. Confidential.
In a conversation with ET, Goggins reflects on playing Lee Russell, the most diabolical character of his career, and how much of his career is instinct versus luck.
ET: You auditioned for Eastbound and Down and didn’t get the role. But then the opportunity to audition for Vice Principals came back around and you got that. What was it about Eastbound that wasn’t a right fit, but Vice Principals worked out?
Walton Goggins: Well, that’s really interesting. I think they were looking for something different for Eastbound and Down, and when I walked in, I knew that. At least, I felt in my heart that if I got into a room with Danny, there would be chemistry. Real chemistry. That’s what you hope with people that you look up to and it was, there was a lot of chemistry in this reading. I think by my very nature, my take on things is pretty dark. I’m not a comedian by trade. I’m just a storyteller, and most of the actors in the room when I showed up were all people from SNL and comedians. So I didn’t think I had a shot in hell of ever getting that whatsoever. It’s not really ever about that for me, it’s just about the opportunity to come play with someone you respect and admire. I think because of that reading, they were kind of going back and forth on whether or not they wanted to go darker with this particular role on Eastbound and Down. Then they made the right decision and they went with Jason Sudeikis. But in their mind, when it came to Lee Russell and when it came to Vice Principals,they wanted to go a different direction. They wanted to mine these characters for who they are, their tragedies as well as their comedic experiences.
You have had such a great track record with The Shield, Justified, Sons of Anarchy and now Vice Principals. When it comes to being involved in these projects and knowing they’re going to be so great, how much of it is instinct and how much of it is luck?
Oh, God, The Shield was luck. For sure. [Creator] Shawn Ryan had been around a little bit, but it was really his first time manning the wheel, so no one knew. But it was on the page. The same with Justified. It’s Elmore Leonard [who authored the short story on which the series is based], so we had that going with us, and the great Tim Olyphant. With all of these things, it is luck. I suppose the instinct or the gut feeling is the other part of that. I read Boyd Crowder and I just saw him immediately. I saw Shane McDonnell instantly. I saw Venus Van Dam immediately and I saw Lee Russell immediately. So I think it’s a combination of luck and just knowing when I can really add something to this or that I can help this storyteller share their story. Continue Reading →