Published On: Fri, Jan 20th, 2012

Walton Goggins talks Boyd Crowder, ‘Justified’ season 3, role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

Assignment X landed an exclusive interview with “Justified” star Walton Goggins as the FX series debuted it’s first episode of season 3 this week.

ASSIGNMENT X: Going into Season Three, did you think from where Boyd started, as a pretty horrible-seeming person, that he was going to turn into such a gray antihero?

WALTON GOGGINS: I think he’s a man who’s sort of come to terms with who he is, and for the first time in his life, he’s on even ground. Is he a bad guy who does good things, is he a good guy who does bad things? I don’t know. I think he’s a very complicated guy and I think at times he can offend people, and I think at times he can generate great sympathy and empathy from people, and that’s interesting to me in a person, and that’s interesting to me in a character.

AX: How do you think Boyd see himself at this point?

GOGGINS: I think for the first time in his life, he sees himself without judgment. I don’t think he labels himself one way or the other. I think that he understands that he is a criminal at heart. He was raised a certain way, his options were very limited because of where he came from and his lack of pedigree and [lack of] access to money, and I think that he may not have raised himself out of poverty – he’s raised himself mentally out of poverty. He’s a self-taught man and a troubadour and a leader and [he thinks] that. “In order to live, this is what I have to do because this is who I am, and there’s no turning back for me, but I can do it in a way that I’ve never done it before,” and I think that’s interesting.

Love has informed that, and his love for another person has informed this change in him, and I think his great compassion and empathy for other people has allowed him to move in this direction. So in some ways, he’s Tony Soprano meets Nucky Thompson meets Peter Pan meets Robin Hood. Any actor worth his weight in salt would just die to get to interpret a guy like that.

Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins Justified photo/ FX

AX: There’s an episode where Boyd saves his own life and gets a lot of cash by double-crossing his partners on a mine theft job. They were trying to kill him, so he kills them, but he lets Shelby, the mine employee played by Jim Beaver, live, even though Shelby can identify him. That seemed very telling.

GOGGINS: Absolutely. And then Boyd goes home to Ava [the woman he loves, played by Joelle Carter], and he says, “People have been telling me this and this and this, and it’s taken me kind of listening to all of that to come up with my own definition for myself.” And it’s also a guy who hated his father [played by M.C. Gainey], as Raylan hates his father.

We mirror each other more often than we don’t. And there’s something between Boyd and his cousin Johnny [played by David Meunier] where Boyd sees his father for who he really was, and says, “Well, I might not have agreed with everything that he said; there was value in things that he said.” And for a character to be able to say that on television, to create a television show to give space for that, to allow space for that, is incredible. And so that’s kind of where he is.

AX: How was working with Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett?

GOGGINS: Look, I’ve been doing this for twenty years. Margo’s been doing it for forty. Nick’s been doing it probably for thirty-five or forty. And there are so many actors that are journeymen and journeywomen, and to see Margo, after having the career that she’s had, to see her [win an Emmy for her performance as Mags], to see her finally have in this role it took forty years to get to, for her to shine in that way – I was just grinning from ear to ear. She’s a lovely human being.

AX: Your characters were dead serious, but in your scenes together, there was a real sense of delight …

GOGGINS: I think that’s for everybody in this world. I think that’s for Tim and I think it’s the same thing for Boyd Crowder. I think it’s the same thing for Ava Crowder. Everybody’s serious with a twinkle in their eye. And I think maybe that’s an ingredient for success in this case.

AX: You also got to work with Steven Spielberg in LINCOLN.. Who do you play?

GOGGINS: I play Congressman Wells Hutchins. He’s a Democratic Congressman out of Ohio, who was instrumental in the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment [outlawing slavery], and it’s an important part of the story.

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