Walton Goggins on ‘Justified’ Season 4

Goggins shares his thoughts on Boyd Crowder, Shane Vendrell from "The Shield" and even "Venus" from "Sons of Anarchy."

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

The cast of “Justified” was at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour for their fourth season, which started in January. Since we’d just gotten to hear a conference call with Timothy Olyphant, we went after Walton Goggins after the panel wrapped.

The ever gracious Goggins shook my hand, recalled our phone interview for Django Unchained in the film channel, and he answered even more questions about Boyd Crowder. Oh, and there is a spoiler coming  for Django Unchained if you haven’t seen it yet. But we’ll give you one more warning before it comes up in the interview


CraveOnline: Do you get to have any scenes with Patton Oswalt?

Walton Goggins: You know, not as of yet. To my disappointment. I’ve known Patton for a little while. We have some mutual friends in common and I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time. I’m hoping that that opportunity presents itself. We’ll see.

CraveOnline: On the panel, Joelle Carter talked about Ava’s relationship with Boyd. Do you and she come from a similar perspective on the relationship?

Walton Goggins: Yeah, well, Joelle’s a very smart woman, a very smart person so it’s always kind of enlightening to hear things from her point of view. We actually did a scene yesterday, two days ago and I saw it a completely different way. I had no idea really what it was going to be about but I thought well, it’s probably going to be about this and Joelle said, “You know what? No, I think it’s this. I think this is really where they are.” And I looked at her and I said, “Really? This is a bold move.” And she said, “No, this is where it is” and we went there. It was so gratifying and so surprising, so she knows Ava as well as I know Boyd.

CraveOnline: Which episode is that going to be in?

Walton Goggins: That’s going to be in episode eight, I think the last scene for Boyd and Ava in episode eight.

CraveOnline: How would you describe Boyd’s relationship with Raylan this season?

Walton Goggins: There’s one line that Boyd’s never said in the previous three seasons that he says this season. It’s really interesting to me and an indication as to where they’ve kind of come in this relationship, and Boyd looks at Raylan at one point, and he says, “Raylan, I don’t like you.” And it’s the first time he’s ever really kind of said it that way, so I don’t know.

And over the course of their relationship, Boyd has seen their friendship as one thing and Raylan has seen it as something else. But at the end of this season, they may see it the same way, and that is that they don’t like each other. We’ll see where it goes from there.

CraveOnline: You had the greatest guest spot ever in “Sons of Anarchy.”

Walton Goggins: Thank you, thank you very much.

CraveOnline: How did that come about, your reaction to the idea and what did you think when you saw how you looked?

Walton Goggins: You know, I’m going to answer that question because I’ve answered the other ones. When we set out on the day, I’d kind of worked with my hair a little bit and had had an idea for it. We wanted her to be very feminine and for some reason I wanted to go with short hair and I was wrong. And then we started the process of putting on the prosthetics and then she really came to life.

Then we put on the dress and the heels and I looked at myself in the mirror and I fell in love with her. I was like oh my God, this is either going to sink or it’s going to fly. I have no idea which. It was just the opportunity of a lifetime. I did not know when we set out to do it that Venus would mean that much to me, and it’s interesting because I’ve had a lot of conversations about it with my friends and it’s been interesting to hear where they want this character to go. I won’t say any more than that.

CraveOnline: I think everybody wants to see her again.

Walton Goggins: Oh, good. Okay, well, I think you will.

CraveOnline: When you have a character as complex as Boyd, do you want audiences to like him or would you feel more rewarded if people were suspicious of him?

Walton Goggins: That’s a very good question, man. Boyd has done some violent things and will continue to do violent things. In some ways, I look for opportunities to balance the emotions that people have about the characters that I play, about Boyd in particular, so that they don’t just see him as one way. T

hey don’t just see him as another way but they can see him for who he really is and then make your decision. He’s a man who does violent things but also has an inordinate ability to love and to profess that love and it’s something that I don’t even think he knew he was capable of.


CraveOnline: Was there a certain point with Shane on “The Shield” where you felt the audience turn? I never totally turned on him.

Walton Goggins: I think it took up until the last 45 seconds of Shane’s life on the show for people to really have an inordinate amount of sympathy for him and empathy and see it from his point of view for a minute, that he was caught up. In some ways, I think that Shane payed the ultimate price for the transgressions of the strike team.

That’s the way that I look at it. That’s the only way that I can go to sleep at night and feel good about it. When we were showing the finale to a group of 400 people, at that moment it got very quiet and then people started to cry. I looked at Shawn and I said, “We got ‘em, buddy. We got ‘em.” For me, at least what I’ve heard on the street was that people ultimately did feel that way about Shane.

CraveOnline: At what point in your career did you figure out character roles were the place to be?

Walton Goggins: My favorite actors are character actors. I think Leonardo [DiCaprio] is a character actor. He’s extraordinary. Look at his body of work. Look at Sean Penn’s body of work. Look at all of the people that you all write about more often than not. When you really look at their career, they’re character actors, whether they’re number one on the call sheet or whether they’re number five on the call sheet.

Sam Jackson, Sam’s an incredible character actor and those are the people that I really look up to. I have a face for it and I just hope that I continue to get the opportunity to flex my muscles in different ways.

CraveOnline: Was it interesting to work with both Spielberg and Tarantino last year?

Walton Goggins: Yeah, it was a chance of a lifetime really.

CraveOnline: Are they really different?

Walton Goggins: They’re very different. Yeah, they’re very different but what they have in common is a cinematic acumen that is unparalleled. They have a confidence and a talent that is iconic in this medium, but their styles are completely different.

They’re not my best friends. I don’t know them really, really well, but I feel like I know them pretty well. Where Steven is really kind of calm and measured, Quentin is passionate and enthusiastic and it’s great. You need both. For me as an actor and as an artist, both styles really speak to me. I respond very well to those two types of direction.

CraveOnline: How do they deal with actors?

Walton Goggins: I think that casting is a very big deal for both of the directors, I believe from what I saw, that they cast the people that are right for the role. They cast very smart actors that have the ability in a moment with a word to do exactly what they need for the actor to do. When you look at it from that angle and I think they want to work with people that understand their vision and they go to great lengths to make sure that that happens.


You've been warned!


CraveOnline: Regarding your death scene in Django Unchained, how elaborate was that whole setup with all the blood? Are you worried if you don’t get it in one take?

Walton Goggins: We got it in one take, but Quentin is so passionate and to regurgitate a word I used before, enthusiastic about it. As soon as it was done he said, “Okay, let’s do it again.” Because for him it’s so enjoyable. Every single part of the process is so enjoyable and when you’re with someone like that, it’s infectious. I could’ve had my balls blown off 10 times and been okay with it. That’s how you feel when you’re working with Quentin Tarantino.

CraveOnline: It seems like a huge mess to clean up and reset for another take.

Walton Goggins: If you look at it that way but we’re very privileged to do what we do for a living. I think one of the greatest quotes of all time is “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I really feel that way. It has really kind of come to a head with working with these two directors back to back and I’ll say the same thing, I’ve been on television now for more than a decade and I got to work for seven years for Shawn Ryan and all of those writers, and Scott Brazil, the executive producer. Now I’m getting to work with Graham Yost and Michael Dinner and all of these writers, Francis Kenney our DP. It’s been back to back Cinderella stories for me in television and I’m just very grateful.

CraveOnline: Do you know what to look for now?

Walton Goggins: I do, yeah. I feel like I do. I feel like I can tell over the course of a lunch or a long, extended conversation if it’s someone that not only I can work with, but if it’s someone that has a story I feel like I can really add to. That’s what I look for more than anything, whether it’s a small roll in an important film or a big role in an independent film or a big role in a big film or a supporting role on television or the lead in a series. It’s all about what I feel like I can contribute.