Walton Goggins didn’t just walk into the role of Lee Russell in HBO’s Vice Principals. Instead, it took him years to land the part. The series, co-created by Jody Hill and Goggins’ co-star Danny McBride, earned Goggins a best supporting actor Critics’ Choice Award. It wrapped its two-season run at the end of last year.
The dark comedy series centered on Neal Gamby (McBride), a prickly high school vice principal who teams with his rival Russell against the new principal who took the job they both wanted.
Goggins said Sunday during Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event that he always wanted to work with McBride, but it took a while to find the right project. “I actually went in and I auditioned for a role on Eastbound & Down,” Goggins said of McBride’s previous HBO series.
While Goggins didn’t get that part, he did make a lasting impression on McBride. “A couple of years later, I was doing The Hateful Eight and he reached out and said, ‘I have this role and I want you to do it.’”
Goggins said it was a project he won’t soon forget.
“It was bittersweet to say goodbye to it,” Goggins said. “It was an incredible experience.”