Walton Goggins is adjusting to walking down red carpets and aisles. The actor and Oscar-winning producer (Best Short Film, The Accountant) recently received a Prime Time Emmy nomination for his turn as Boyd Crowder, a deep-fried and outspoken white supremacist on FX’s Justified and has recently joined the cast for the sequel G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation as Warden Nigel James.
Goggins also costarred in the summer popcorn flick Cowboys & Aliens. Soon to turn 40, the Lithia Springs, Georgia native just last month exchanged wedding vows with his longtime girlfriend filmmaker Nadia Conners (The 11th Hour) with their seven-month-old son Augustus serving as best man.
Many critics and fans of The Shield, on which Goggins portrayed the smarmy Shane Vendrell, point out that the recent nod is long overdue as Hollywood suits take notice. Steven Spielberg cast him as Ohio Congressman (D) Wells A. Hutchins in the undoubtedly epic Lincoln with a 2012 production date. Goggins told UTR that he’s pleased to finally play someone who is articulate and wears a suit, that his career almost didn’t happen and that he doesn’t foresee a full night’s sleep on the horizon. And he’s grateful for every single emotion and speed bump life brings his way.
Q: Are you tired of playing rednecks and a lot of corruptible fellows?
A: I quite like playing people that appear to be one way at first glance and surprise you by infiltrating your sensitive side and you wind up kind of feeling for them in a way that you never anticipated. It’s an interesting dynamic with an interesting trajectory to be a part of. By playing Boyd Crowder and really exploring how smart he is, those things have started to open up to me and I’m grateful for that.
Q: Did David Legrant (the late acting coach) almost derail your career?
A: Ha! At 19, this Georgia boy moved to Los Angeles with only $300 in his pocket, but with an immeasurable amount of tenacity and good luck. Legrant pulled me aside and said, ‘Walton, you’d better become good because you’re not good-looking and for someone like you to make a living in this business, the only thing you’re going to have a fall back on is your talent.’ So, what he asked of me was to be the hardest worker in our class, and he was right.
Q: This past year you have run the gamut on every single emotion — love, loss, birth, celebration. How are you dealing with this rollercoaster? (His producing partner and wife of his best friend, Lisa Blount, died suddenly in late 2010.)
A: Wow. It’s this kind of primordial esoteric soup bowl that I’ve sort of been tossed into and Big Momma is just stirring it with this really soft, edgy wooden spoon. I’ve just kind of been along for the ride to be quite honest with you. I’ve surrendered and I’m grateful, so grateful in a way that good fortune can make one grateful.
Q: Share some things that are surprising about you.
A: I like sad music; music that makes me feel something, like Ben Harper and Patsy Cline. I like listening to people who have something to say. I like laughing and I like honesty.
Q: Would you say that translates over into your personal life?
A: Yes absolutely.
Q: Would you say that is one of the reasons why you fell in love with Nadia?
A: I would absolutely agree with that statement that to be in a relationship with someone who has something profound to say about everything, that’s a real gift to have that in your union. I do believe, ironically, that love is the great releaser. There’s a reason why the song goes, ‘all you need is love, all you need is love.’ It’s powerful and maybe it’s just that simple. Even for Boyd Crowder, who has been living his life a number of ways only for him to find love and that be the greatest lesson of his life and to the greatest gift in his life. For that to happen to him, the irony is not lost on me and I think the same thing applies to reality. You know, we all want to be loved.