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.