Walton Goggins on Tarantino, 'Justified' and other things...
Well, hello there baby, you look so beautiful," Walton Goggins purrs, leaning forward and suddenly going into full-on loverman mode. "Look at you, all done up in that white dress and those white shoes. This is a proper get-up, my dear. You look hot!" The 44-year-old actor is sitting in a downtown Manhattan restaurant, his face hovering inches away from a plate of Burrata; he was sold on the appetizer after being told it's "like Mozzarella's sexier cousin," so he's now whispering sweet nothings at the cheese with an intensity and seductiveness that's almost frightening. You're afraid that he may actually start making out with the quivering dairy product any second now. Then he scoops up a big chunk with his fork, pops it into his mouth, and says, with a familiar Walton-esque whoop: "God-DAMN, this is good!"
For a long time, the Alabama-born, Georgia-raised Goggins was one of those where-have-I-seen-him-before character actors who showed up, stole scenes and, whether he was playing soldiers, gunslingers or detectives, left a spiky-haired impression. Six seasons as Boyd Crowder, the top-buttoned hillbilly criminal on the popular FX series Justified,upped his small-screen profile substantially — and now a key role in Quentin Tarantino's 70mm Western The Hateful Eight is doing the same for his big-screen bond fides. In an ensemble cast that includes Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Dern, Goggins stands out as a former Confederate soldier and (possible) new sheriff in town who gets caught up in the film's haberdashery-bound whodunnit. Next to Jennifer Jason Leigh's bruised belle of the ball, he's a strong contender for the movie's MVP and, without saying too much, a major factor in the film's notion that racial strife is part of this country's past and its present.
"We're gonna do what Quentin does on all his sets," Goggins says, before slapping his cellphone down in the center of the table. "You turn these things in at Checkpoint Charlie, and all distractions get left at the door. We're going to have a conversation, you and me." And in between philosophical musings and some steamy Googins-on-fancy-cheese action, he told us all about Tarantino's working methods, why his trans character on Sons of Anarchy is a personal favorite, how he ended up on that Marilyn Manson track and why having a Southern accent shouldn't automatically mean playing a redneck.