Hateful Eight
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Walton Goggins on His Hateful Eight Family

Walton Goggins on His Hateful Eight Family

An interview with a really happy actor who has already found himself in all spheres of life! As Walton says, he canít believe that is happening to him too long. But it is really happened! Goggins are on the rise now! Read about his extraordinary and unbelievable participation in Tarantinoís project which allowed him to become a part of iconic star team!

Walton Goggins is familiar to most of the entertainment-consuming public as either Boyd Crowder from Justified or Venus Van Dam from Sons of Anarchy, both meaty roles on long-running TV shows with dedicated followings. But thanks to the efforts of Quentin Tarantino, Goggins may henceforth be known for his much-lauded performance as Chris Mannix, the supposed sheriff-to-be who ends up playing a pivotal role in The Hateful Eight, currently playing in a theater near you. Vulture caught up with Goggins to talk texting with the Hateful Eight cast, why Tarantino is like an "oasis," and the difference between playing a character over two hours and playing them for an entire season.

Howís it going?

Look at the smile on my face.

You seem pretty happy.

Iím really happy, man. Like, anyone whoís ever been remotely in a position like the one I currently find myself in, and that means a contractor who gets a great opportunity to build a house from an architect that heís admired or loved, thatís how I feel, you know? Thereís been a string of that, all culminating in this grand life experience with Quentin and this role of Chris Mannix and my Hateful Eight family, these actors. Itís extraordinary.

I talked to Kurt Russell recently, and he said that all the Hateful Eight actors have a text chain going, and that an uncommon, enduring relationship was formed on set.

It doesnít happen ever. Seven months after you wrap a movie, you have the likes of the people in this cast, from Kurt to Sam [Jackson] to Jennifer [Jason Leigh] to Tim [Roth] to Demian [Bichir], all in different countries, texting 30 times a day? Come on, man. [Laughs.] That doesnít happen with friends youíve had for 20 years! Itís very real, and itís very unique. I think we just all respect each other so much, and respect Quentin, and respect the opportunity to make this movie, and what we went through to make this movie.

Within the cast, youíre kind of the newcomer: Youíve been around for a long time, but compared to guys like Sam Jackson and Kurt Russell, youíre on the rise. When Quentin came to you with this part, what was your reaction?

I suppose the true way for me to answer that question is to be silent, because there are no words. Maybe, in your article, you just put "dot dot dot," because that really is the truth. What do you say? I never for once doubted that I would be able to do it, I just wanted to do it for him, and to be included in this group of people. Grateful is such an overused word, but I truly am, man. I was humbled, and I understood what it meant.

But you can't stay in the mind-set of I canít believe this is happening to me for too long. I tried to just move past that and instead start thinking, What can I bring to him, and what can I bring to the other actors, and to this crew, and to everybody else, every single day? For me, it was: How can I start here, in an arrested state of development, as a person who has never had his own worldview, let alone his own real, independent thought, someone who, when Major Warren is shot, becomes a 4-year-old little boy? He falls down on that ground and he has, for the first time in his life, no real authority figure. Thatís it. Heís alone. Then, over the course of the last chapter of this movie, Chris Mannix becomes a man.

One of the most interesting things about the production is that you guys are all basically in the same room for the entire movie. How did acting that way compare to other work youíve done?

We can, I think, definitively say that Quentin Tarantino has created characters that will stand the test of time. Heís written a story where, like you said, you have eight super characters, all in a room rubbing up against each other all the time. Whatís extraordinary about that is to hear Quentinís dialogue, to see how good he is at writing complicated relationships, all played out in one space, and to see how deep the story is in any given frame. Because if youíre focused on Sam Jacksonís character, Major Warren, or whatís going on with Chris Mannix, or with Kurt and Jennifer over by the bar, itís a completely different story within that frame, happening simultaneously. Then you look past them, at Oswaldo Mobray, and if heís alone, whatís going on with him. And if Quentin pans just a little bit to the left, then you see Michael Madsen sitting right over there, whatís going on with him.

Those are five different stories all being played out in one frame. You donít get the opportunity to do that, really, with 35mm. Itís just a different animal when you have 70mm, and no matter where you put that camera, you see that much of the room. That is very unique, and I donít know, maybe itís a Tarantino super-fucking-universe [laughs], I donít know what it is, man, but it was extraordinary to watch, because you get to see the work.

Itís like how players on good teams play better because theyíre playing with good players.

Thatís right. So often, youíre just not called on the day when the coolest scene in the movieís going to be shot. We were all there for every single frame of this movie. It is like a play in the sense that youíre sitting at a table where everybodyís talking, and then one person gets up and everybody else goes dark. And then that person talks and talks and talks and talks, and then we all kind of come back together again, and then another person stands out onstage by themselves with a spotlight and talks and talks and talks and talks. And everybody has that opportunity, every single person gets to shine in that way. Whether we were on camera or off camera, we were all on that stage, right in that snow, and you just got to see the work, man. It was really special. At the end of it, you could just go, [claps] fuck yes! Okay, Iím up next, can I get an espresso? Give me a cappuccino! [Laughs.]

Quentin did a big interview with us this year, and he was talking about you, and he had this really funny line where he was like, Walton had been doing all this faux-Quentin dialogue for so long, and I wanted to give him the real thing! What is it about his writing that is so enjoyable for actors?

Whatís so good about the song that you want to listen to over and over and over again? Go through all of his movies, look at Christopher Walken ó thereís not a speech that Quentin Tarantino has ever written that people havenít thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed. You donít get writing like that. People arenít able to write that way. It's just sitting down at one the best restaurants in the world and then masticating to the point of sickness because you canít get enough of the food. Itís like that with his words. When youíve been in the desert for a very long time, and you come across an oasis like Quentin Tarantino and his words, you just want to drink it, man. It just tastes that sweet.

You played characters on two different shows that were both beloved by incredibly intense fanbases. This year you did a bunch of movies. I know youíve done movies before, but whatís that transition been like? How is it different to live in a character for years versus being able to come in and do your thing and move on?

Playing a character over 84 hours will wear you out if you give a shit. I donít know how to do it any other way. I want to know who this person is. Until they say cut for the last time, I want to know. That is exhausting, but it is also exhilarating. But to dip in and do a movie, itís kind of having the best of both worlds. Because sometimes itís nice to just eat at a restaurant once and get a full belly and then move on.

Iíve been around for a long time, and Iíve done a lot of movies, but now Iím getting to participate in movies the way that I want to, and Iím getting to say something more substantial. I like it, man, I really like it. Thereís something to a limited commitment that in some ways allows you to not even have to slow down a minute, because itís a two-month to six-month process, whereas the two shows Iíve been on have been a seven- and six-year process, respectively.

Which is a long process!

Yeah, yeah! But that being said, I donít think thereís an actor worth his weight in salt who wouldnít go back to television in some way for 13 episodes. You canít tell a story in two hours, in two-and-a-half hours, in the way you can tell a story in 13. If you have the luxury and opportunity to live in both worlds, and now there is no judgment either way, why not take it, man? If youíre passionate about the story and you get the chance to tell it, regardless of the platform, just say it, man.