When he plays Boyd Crowder on FX's wildly entertaining Justified, Walton Goggins is the charming face of evil, the yin to the yang of Timothy Olyphant's Raylan Givens.
"I love my day job, with Boyd Crowder and his relationships on that show," Goggins says. "I'm very grateful for this season."
When I spoke with Goggins, he was part of a December press junket in New York for Django Unchained, in which he plays a vicious henchman of Leonardo DiCaprio, who nearly castrates Jamie Foxx. It is one of two visible (and slavery-era) roles he had in year-end movies that would go on to be Oscar-nominated for best picture (the other being Lincoln).
"Yeah, I have good management and a lot of kind people on Justified who try to accommodate these other things," he says. "It's so nice to leave Harlan County and go into other worlds that come along. To go into the world of Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg is kind of mind-bending."
The current season of Justified, its fourth, is at roughly the halfway mark, though, when I spoke with Goggins, the season had yet to debut. Boyd, who initially was supposed to die during the show's first season, survived to become an integral part of the series: a former coal-miner and white-supremacist bank robber who was transformed by his near-death experience. Instead, he became a born-again preacher, though he ultimately returned to his larcenous and murderous ways.
This season, he has consolidated his power in an effort to become the kingpin of drugs and prostitution in Harlan County, Kentucky, with an eye on dominating the state itself. Where past seasons focused on one or two nemeses for Raylan to chase (and Boyd to either partner up with or go against), the current season has focused instead on Raylan and Boyd and their relationships with each other and with the people around them (while tracking a long-missing and presumed-dead criminal who may actually be alive).
"We're going back to spend time with these two men - who they are and their interactions with each other," Goggins says. "There's some funny shit, and some really serious stuff. I'm really excited about it."
Goggins, 41, is tall and angular, with a spiky outcropping of hair atop a high forehead and a wide, sometimes sharklike grin that makes him look a little like the young Jack Nicholson. A courtly Southerner, he grew up "18 miles outside downtown Atlanta in a farmhouse that was 150 years old," he says. "I felt like I had the bucolic experience right outside a major metropolitan area. For me, in some ways, it was the perfect childhood."
This interview continues on my website.