Walton Goggins can cast a spell over you during a phone conversation just as easily as he does playing the magnetic Boyd Crowder in FX’s "Justified.”
He puts everything out there—even when doing an interview at the end of an early morning shoot after he’s been up the night before with his new son, Augustus Somerset. It’s hard not to be drawn in by his zeal for the work he’s doing.
“It’s always exciting,” he said, answering a simple “how’s it going?” “One should be so lucky to be in this situation that I’m in, or any other person on television [is in], who really cares about what they do every day.”
The former "The Shield" star definitely cares, and that translates to “Justified” (9 p.m. Wednesdays, FX), where his mercurial character continues to trouble U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), the childhood friend who just can’t trust Boyd, even if he claims his outlaw days are behind him.
Since last year’s freshman season, Boyd has gone from white supremacist criminal to born-again evangelist to leader of the disenfranchised to disillusioned ex-con. He’s about to change again, Goggins teased.
“I think that he has been without the ability to see himself as good or bad, and through the course of this season, he will acquire a pair of glasses that allows him to see himself really for the first time,” Goggins said, adding with a laugh, “How about that for a quote? Come on, Curt!”
Goggins talked more about working with Olyphant ("like doing a waltz"), being a father and how cool it would be to see Boyd wearing a marshal's star.
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Good to talk to you again. How’s it going?
When you’re near the end of a season [they were shooting Episode 11 of 13 when we spoke], you just don’t know what’s going to happen. [It’s like] the way the audience doesn’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a very, very, very exciting, fertile time and you’re just—you’re just figuring it out. [You] can’t wait to read [the scripts]. Just like the audience can’t, hopefully, wait to see it.
You haven’t seen the final script?
No. I had never saw a final script on “The Shield” until two days before [we filmed]. And you just know that everything is changing; everything changes in a narrative like this that’s [done] over the course of 13 episodes. I can only imagine what it’s like with this [bleeping] “Sopranos” or “Boardwalk Empire,” when you have that many characters.
I love watching Boyd and Raylan together. One of their great exchanges came in the premiere when he Boyd says, “My outlaw days are behind me.” But how true is that?
Well, I think you have to take everything that Boyd Crowder says with a grain of salt. But I think that, on some level, he believes it. I think this is a guy who needs to get lost in the desert for a little bit and just to kind of re-evaluate his world view. That’s always tricky business with a guy like Boyd Crowder, because you just never know what conclusions he’s going to come to. But for the most part, I would say that he’s genuine in his desire to be alone. But things change.
Since the series began, he’s had quite a journey from sort of a racist bad guy to religious leader to sort of having Raylan’s back in the Season 1 finale. And now this season, he’s done changed again.
Yeah, to wanting to get as low as he possibly can, to this kind of cathartic experience, this release of this flood of emotion at the end of Episode 3, and the guy that you see [after that] is not the guy you saw in the first three episodes of the season. He’s a mercurial dude and he’s always changing. And he might not wear his emotions on his sleeve, but he is very much in touch with how he feels and that informs the next direction that he takes.
Do you think at the beginning of the season he was simply bent out of shape about his father being killed, or was something else troubling him?
I think he’s bent out of shape over the fact that his father was killed and 18 men of his were killed. Also his faith in a religious institution, with God as the CEO, [was shaken]. He was fighting a righteous fight and he wasn’t rewarded for that. To a religious zealot as deep as Boyd had become, to go down that path only to have that path illuminated with a different light [and learn] that things don’t always work out in the way that you expect, that really rattled him. [It] really debased his fundamental belief in the world. He was able to grasp religion and find order in the universe through religion. Once that was taken out and the rug was pulled out from underneath him, well, he’s directionless. He’s just wandering. He will find his direction again, in a different way.
Boyd always seemed to see things in black and white. Is he having a hard time just realizing that there’s some middle ground, some grey areas in the world?
I think he’s having a hard time seeing that initially, and I think that’s very intuitive of you, I think that he’s going to become a man in balance. And you’ll have to see what balance means for a guy like Boyd Crowder, a guy who lives in extremes. And that’s no longer working for him.
But what’s left? What is left after God? What is left after being an agnostic and then believing in God? I don’t know what’s left for Boyd Crowder, but he seems to find a way and he has a different answer. One that I didn’t expect.
Now you’ve got me wanting to see the rest of the season.
What's he drinking all the time, by the way? What's his drink of choice?
He’s a Jack Daniels buddy, straight up.