He’s played a bank robber-white supremacist on Justified, a nefarious henchman for Leonardo DiCaprio’s slave hunting Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and this weekend you can see him as an obsessed Pentecostal snake handler in 1091 Media’s Sundance acquisition, Them That Follow. That pic, which also stars Oscar winner, Olivia Colman, will be opening in New York and Los Angeles.
But on Sept. 26, on CBS, you can see another side of Walton Goggins, that of widower dad in The Unicorn. The series from EP/writers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, was described by some at TCA today as a throwback to the 1969 Bill Bixby series The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, however that series had no direct influence on the creators but their friend, series producer Grady Cooper who lost his wife, and found his way “back into the sunshine. His life got funny. There was still a lot of sadness, but it was funny” — all fodder for a TV show. What was appealing, was was the tragi-comedy in it all, laced with sincerity.
In The Unicorn, from CBS Television Studios, a tight-knit group of friends and family help Goggins’ widower move on following the most difficult year of his life, which includes being an ill-equipped but devoted single parent to his two daughters, and taking the major step of dating where, to his shock, he’s a hot commodity. Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Omar Benson Miller, Maya Lynne Robinson, Ruby Jay, and Makenzie Moss also star.
On changing up from black hat cowboy to comedy, Goggins told the TCA Corps today at the Beverly Hilton, “I play it as it (the material) lays to be. I go where the material is or where the best writing is.”
“When this came along, I fell deeply in love with him and his struggles and fell in love with his friends and his community,” says the Justified Primetime Emmy winner, “I’m in a place at 48 years old where kindness, and sincerity and being earnest are very important to me, and this show spoke to all of that. It touched me in a way that’s deep and meaningful.”
One of the wonders of the series per Goggins was that “an episode can take place over five minutes or two months.”
The Birmingham, Alabama native says that his role as Wade Felton on The Unicorn “is closer to me than anything I’ve ever played.” Goggins had his doubts whether he could pull it off, just being himself.
“Once I got past that fear of it, I said, this is what I’ve always wanted to play,” said the actor, “I have this similar relationship with my son and group of friends.”