Hateful Eight
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Walton Goggins, TV’s Most Charming Villain, Joins Tarantino’s Inner Circle

Walton Goggins, TV’s Most Charming Villain, Joins Tarantino’s Inner Circle

Now everyone knows that Walton Gogging is one of the cult Tarantino’s actors! Work with such popular filmmaker opens new high prospects for any actors. It’s like playing in the Top League. The long way of a young boy with 300 dollars in the pocket to the Hollywood star and the Oscar from the Academy Award! What W. Goggins is thinking about the Hollywood?!! It’s hardly to believe how many times he read the script for The Hateful Eight?!! Don’t waste time and read the sensational confessions of the actor!

The Justified and Shield star steals Hateful Eight right out from under everyone’s noses. You take the long view on the career of actor Walton Goggins, a clear pattern emerges. Here is a performer who, through some potent combination of charisma and talent, worked his way up from supporting role to bona fide co-lead on not one, but two back-to-back prestige dramas: The Shield and Justified. Now the globe-trotting Goggins who takes a stack of chapeaus wherever he goes has made it a hat trick. Graduating from a bit player who was nearly cut out of Django Unchained to surprise leading man Chris Mannix in The Hateful Eight, Goggins has joined an elite club as a Quentin Tarantino regular. But he’s not about to stop there.

Anyone who’s followed Goggins’s on-screen work might be tempted to have their defenses up when speaking with him. That same Southern-fried eloquent magnetism that makes his most famous characters so dangerous is all there, and you can’t help but wonder: is Walton Goggins trying to pull a fast one? But the more you talk to him, the more you see that he’s got all of the charm and none of the snake of his fictional alter-egos. Still, the actor will be the first to admit that his most famous on-screen persona, the outlaw Boyd Crowder of Justified fame, has his roots in the legend of Walton Goggins.

“I feel Boyd Crowder in a way,” Goggins said when asked why he refers to himself as a blue-collar actor. “I feel the limitations that people who come from where I come from feel. But there is a way out, you know, and that is through self-motivation and just being O.K. to not be liked all the fucking time and leaving your ego at the door.”

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Goggins tells the story of his Hollywood arrival the way one of his characters would monologue about ambition. “I left college in my teens to move to Los Angeles with $300 in my pocket,” he says. Brought up by a mother “who’s a very unconventional thinker,” Goggins says his education was based in the alternate theology of writers like Joel Goldsmith, and he was relentless about opportunities to learn more. “As soon as I was in a conversation where I didn’t understand the nuance or the references that were being banded and piled around me, I was like, Fuck that, I will never be in this situation again. I want to know.”

Goggins then set about educating himself, reading everything “from Hemingway to Somerset Maugham” and concluded the story of his Hollywood arrival by paraphrasing a well-timed Henry David Thoreau quote: “Dare to live the life you’ve imagined and in so doing, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” A personal anecdote from Walton Goggins has character arcs, themes, and literary references. So it should come as no surprise that he would catch the eye of a lover of language like Quentin Tarantino.

Walton Goggins was in an Alamo van in Mexico, riding to his rental car when he got the call about The Hateful Eight. “You haven’t got much room and I was riding with a couple who happened to be fans and the phone rang,” he remembers. “I held it in a way where they could see who was calling and it was Quentin Tarantino. They’re looking at me, and then they say, ‘I think you need to answer that.’”

Goggins says the call came after the whole rigmarole involving Tarantino’s leaked Hateful Eight script, but just in time for him to join a staged live reading of the script for one night only in Los Angeles. “It’s like we were all witnessing a concert of our favorite band that we didn’t want to end,” he recalls. “Quentin was kind of inviting not only the audience but us into his process, into his personal space. I guess you just kind of had to be there, and damn it, I wish you were.”

Tarantino wrote the meaty part of Chris Mannix just for Goggins, the actor says, based on his roles both on Justified and his brief appearance in Django. “Quentin has called me his Warren Oates on multiple occasions,” Goggins explains, referencing the toothy character actor who was a favorite of one of Tarantino’s idols, Sam Peckinpah. But his role in The Hateful Eight isn’t just a classic Tarantino movie reference; not one to miss a trick, Tarantino has distilled exactly what makes Goggins such a compelling on-screen presence.

“You think he might be dangerous at first until you hear the first words come out of his mouth,” Goggins says, describing Mannix. “And then you realize, well, he’s just an unruly adolescent. He may as well be a stupid fucking 17-year-old, right, dumb-ass. And then you realize, no, he’s cunning and he’s very smart and he knows how to work a room. He knows just when to poke people and when not to poke people.”

Despite his smooth-talking ways, Goggins isn’t at his most riveting when he’s playing a straight-up villain, but rather when he’s doing a nimble dance on the knife’s edge of likability. It’s that dance that convinced Justified fans to root for his survival for six seasons, despite the fact that Boyd Crowder wears a large swastika tattoo on his shoulder and was intended to die in the first episode.

In The Hateful Eight, Goggins finds himself again in the uncomfortable position of playing the bigoted son of a white-supremacist father, this time one who fought for the actual Confederacy. Like many Tarantino films, it’s obsessed with race, and the script is freely peppered with the n-word, many of which are said by Goggins himself. “He is living off the reputation of his daddy and he’s not had a conversation with an African American. He’s just regurgitating fucking what he’s been taught.”

Mannix is an enigma at the center of a story where nearly everyone is concealing their true motivation and character. He’s a classic Goggins character overflowing with charm, contradictions, and some of the best lines in the script. Is Chris Mannix actually who he claims to be? That’s something not even Quentin Tarantino knows. Goggins says he asked the director, “‘I have one question for you Q. Am I Sheriff or am I not the Sheriff of Red Rock?,’ and he said, ‘I need for you to answer that question and I don’t want to know your answer.’”

Goggins will, at last, be putting aside the knotty moral quandaries for his next project, an HBO comedy with Danny McBride and David Gordon Green called Vice Principals. The project is unconventional. “It makes Eastbound and Down look like Laura Ingalls Wilder. We did two seasons, nine episodes each, back to back with no break in-between. It’s just a clean fucking shot, man, and I’m really proud of it and I’m really proud of him and I think people are going to see Danny in a whole new way.”

Goggins says he feels his partnership with McBride was meant to be; he talks the same way about Tarantino. “I had put that out in the universe, I really want to work with this guy if I’m going to do comedy that’s labeled a comedy,” he says. “I think I’ve done a lot of comedy over the course of my career. I think the Shield was funny as shit and I think Justified was really fucking funny the way that Elmore [Leonard] is funny. But if I’m going to do comedy in that way, goddamn, I want to do it with Danny McBride, and then it happened. I got the call.”

At first glance, Goggins seems to take this zen approach to a lot of his career. He already won an Oscar as a producer on a short film called The Accountant, but despite his massive popularity on TV, an Emmy win has eluded him. “If you’re nominated for an Emmy, how would you feel?” he recalls someone asking him as his tenure on The Shield wound down. “And I said, ‘Probably the same way that I would feel with the lessons that I’ve learned walking through Varanasi on the Ganges, which is before, I hadn’t been to India, and afterwards, I’ve been to India.”

He sounds similarly humble when he talks about a dream career path. “Man, you know, that is such a big question. That almost makes me want to run under a rock, you know? I look at my heroes. Tommy Lee Jones and Ed Harris and Chris Cooper and Bruce Dern and, obviously, Nicholson. I look at their careers and I think, If I can carve out just a niche, just walk on a fraction of the path that these people have walked on, Lord knows, that would be a dream come true.”

But just when you start to forget that this is man who brought Chris Mannix and Boyd Crowder to life, Goggins tips his hand. It’s not just good vibes or luck that got him where he is. He describes reading the script for The Hateful Eight “not once, not twice, not 3 times, not 20 times, I try to read it like 250 or 300 times.” Sounds just like that hungry twentysomething who came to Los Angeles.

And when Goggins is really honest about what he wants back from Hollywood, his answer is pure Crowder: “I want to fucking eat it all. I want it all, man.”