411mania Interviews: Walton Goggins
Walton Goggins enjoyed an amazing 2012, with another successful season of Justifed, a much buzzed about guest spot on Sons of Anarchy, and roles in the big screen hit movies Lincoln and Django Unchained. Season four of Justified begins tonight at 10pm on FX.
Al Norton: The hard part in prepping for this interview was how to not spend the entire time talking about Venus Van Damme (the character Goggins played on Sons of Anarchy).
Walton Goggins: (Laughing) Well, we can do that. We could say it was justified.
Al Norton: How much of an idea did you have going into the part about what kind of a stir this was going to cause?
Walton Goggins: I didn’t. I thought, “wow, we really have an opportunity for fans of Sons of Anarchy to be surprised.” We really just focused on trying to be honest, on trying to get it right, we thought that would be what created the stir. It’s such a pleasant surprise…People’s reactions have just been the icing on top, especially people in your field. It makes me blush to talk about it.
Al Norton: I think it was so powerful, so memorable, because it was played so straight.
Walton Goggins: That’s what we were going for, that’s the only thing we focused on.
Al Norton: I know everyone keeps asking you if Venus will potentially come back but is the answer yes, she really may be back or is it more of a, “hey, anything can happen” situation?
Walton Goggins: I think it’s safe to say that she will be back, and I won’t even say, “schedule permitting.” I think we’re just trying to find the right time. Yes, she’ll be back. Her heels have not been thrown away.
Al Norton: I know you don’t do this for the awards but please tell me your people are going to submit you for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Emmy.
Walton Goggins: I haven’t really thought about that but I’m going to tell them that you said to do it and that’s what I’m going to run with. In fact, I want you to leave it on their answering machine for me (laughing).
Al Norton: I thought the season premiere of Justified was one of the stronger episodes the series has ever done.
Walton Goggins: Wow, really? You felt that way? It’s really, really nice to hear. Everybody’s been working so hard, not just to repeat what we’ve done before but…I had a conversation with (series creator) Graham (Yost) in New York right after season three ended and he said something that I thought was really smart; he said the first three seasons was the first chapter and now it’s the second chapter. I feel different, I know Tim (Olyphant) feels different as Raylan, and we are really zeroing in on what we want to say with the story, going back to the roots of the story and this friendship between these two men. Friends or acrimonious enemies, at this point I’m not quite sure which it is to be honest with you; both definitions will be used at different points during the season.
Al Norton: I think if someone had never watched the show before and were not familiar with where it came from but had read any of Elmore Leonard’s work, they would watch the hour and totally get that this show was adapted from one of his stories.
Walton Goggins: That’s really nice to hear. Graham wrote that episode and I felt the same way as you when I read it; this is when we’re at our best. I think it’s really given us a road map for the season and gives us the opportunity to be serialized in a way that celebrates the Elmore Leonard humor with the Elmore Leonard drama, and there’s going to be a fair amount of both this season. From Boyd’s perspective it’s really going to solidify – like an arrow – his journey for the rest of the series.
Al Norton: What does (new cast member) Ron Eldard bring to the show?
Walton Goggins: He’s an extremely talented actor first and foremost. Ron is a way into this world, a fresh set of eyes, someone who has never really seen anything like Harlan. I didn’t realize when I read the script but when we did the first scene that I had with him I understood it gives Boyd the opportunity to express himself in a way that he hasn’t been able to do with the people that he’s familiar with in Harlan County. It shows you another side of him, an intimacy that exists in this friendship that was forged during war, therefore their short hand is different, their sense of humor is different, the things that they talk about and the way that they talk about them is different. The way Boyd talks to him is not like an employee but like a friend, and a guy friend, so different than Ava.
For me it’s added dimensions to Boyd’s reality that I knew were there but I just didn’t know we were going to have the opportunity to express them. It’s been very interesting.
Al Norton: What’s it been like to be a part of the story of Boyd and Ava’s relationship?
Walton Goggins: I literally thank the universe almost on a daily basis. I come home and talk to my wife about my pretend wife about what the relationship is like. As fallible and as violent as it is, I think some people could hold their own relationships up to it. These are two people who don’t have to be together, they want to be together. They’re two people who respect each other as much as another person can respect another person. They have compassion, an extreme ability to listen to the other person, they put the other person before themselves, and at the end of the day they in many ways complete each other. They are love personified.
I am so excited about this season and what happens between these two people over these episodes. And not only this season but where we want to take it when all is said and done.
Al Norton: Please tell me that Boyd and Patton Oswald’s Constable Bob have scenes together during the season.
Walton Goggins: I know Patton – I’ve known him for a little while outside of the show – and whenever I see him, it just brings the biggest smile to my face. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time and it’s such a coupe for us to have him on the show doing his thing, especially with his thing being so much bigger than it used to be. I am such a big fan of The Fan and his work in it and am grateful he agreed to do the show.
Al Norton: To me Justified has always been about how your past and your family impacts who you are and will be in the future and at the same time about the way we all look for a purpose or sense of meaning in life.
Walton Goggins: I agree with you; that’s really well put. I was reading an article in the New York Times about who we think we are and how that changes when we look at our past, but for some reason, human beings being the way we are, when we look at who we are today we are able to see how we’ve changed from our past but we don’t see ourselves changing in the future. A 30 year old today will see how their taste in things like music and movies and who their friends are have changed since they were 20 but they don’t seem to think it will be different at age 40. We all know that that constantly changes but we can’t seem to acknowledge it.
Boyd is a person who is constantly open to change and he sees himself as having a sincere capacity to change, and I think that’s what he wants more than anything.
Al Norton: This has been a big year for you on the big screen, too.
Walton Goggins: Thanks, we’re doing pretty well. This has been a life changing experience, with Lincoln and Django coming so close together.
Al Norton: You’re like the Christmas season actor this year.
Walton Goggins: It’s been good, it’s been good (laughing). We’ll take it.
Al Norton: Have you noticed more people recognizing you the last couple of weeks?
Walton Goggins: I am fortunate enough to have a level of celebrity I am comfortable with, where people know your name and they actually talk to you, but they don’t bother you if you look busy. I like having conversations with people about the things I’ve participated in. I think that’s the least we can do for people who invite us into their homes for 13 hours a year. For me, I’ve arrived at a place that is very, very comfortable. It’s great to have conversations with people that care about what you do.
Al Norton: I always like to ask people what show they would love to do a guest spot on.
Walton Goggins: What if I could play Venus Van Damme on Downton Abbey? That would be a hoot; I’d like to try to pull that off.
Al Norton: What’s something about the new season of Justified that may surprise fans?
Walton Goggins: There are a few things, first being the relationship between Raylan and Boyd and where it’s ultimately going to end up at the end of the season. I think they people may be surprised at some of the twists in the relationship between Boyd and Ava. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job, despite some of the horrible things that Boyd may do, you will understand by the end of the season the motivations of Boyd doing the things he’s done in a way you’ve never understood before. Hopefully you’ll be surprised to how relatable it is, that it’s not that different from what we all want.
Don’t miss the season premiere of Justified, tonight at 10pm on FX