Q&A: Walton Goggins of 'Justified'
Actor's actor talks all things Boyd Crowder as Season 3 comes to an end
By Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to MSN TV
Walton Goggins is an actor's actor. He thinks long and hard about the things that motivate his character, Boyd Crowder, on FX’s hit crime drama “Justified.” Such attention to detail has made Goggins' portrayal his best to date. Sure, he impressed as a troubled cop named Shane on “The Shield,” but Boyd Crowder is more complicated, intelligent and patient and that makes him and his cuffed dungarees one hard act to follow.
Like on the show, Goggins, 40, has to share the spotlight with the star of “Justified,” Timothy Olyphant. He plays sexy and equally complicated Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. But what would “Justified” be without Raylan’s oldest frenemy, Boyd Crowder, and his ever-growing criminal ambitions?
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We caught up with Goggins recently as he talked about all things Boyd Crowder as the third season comes to an end.
MSN TV: What are your thoughts on this season?
Walton Goggins: I’m really proud of the last five episodes. And when I say I’m proud, I’m not just talking about my participation. I mean I’m proud of everybody. I’m such a fan of all the actors on the show. And we’re so lucky to have Mykelti Williamson join us this year. It’s a season about crossing lines. It’s about people doing things they said they would never do. Boyd is so perplexing to me. He got an opportunity, in some ways, to stand in front of a pulpit and galvanize the people that are behind him to sway the election for sheriff. It was his way of striking back. The thing about Boyd Crowder is that he doesn’t always strike back with a gun. He rarely ever uses his fists unless he needs to. The most powerful weapon in his arsenal is his oratorical skills and his ability to empathize with people. And we’ve seen that on display this season.
Has Boyd evolved as a character?
He has. In the first season, Boyd was comfortable with who he was because he was living a lie. After the first episode, he was almost killed. And I’ve said this before, but because he almost met his maker, he found God. By the end of the first season, his belief in God and everything was shaken. The first half of Season 2 for him was about becoming comfortable with who he is and being honest with himself about who he is. And now in Season 3, it is about him building this criminal empire in a way that is slow and methodical. And he’s hamstrung by his crew. He has Ava (Joelle Carter), which is awesome, and he has Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), who is a lion in winter. And he has his cousin Johnny (David Meunier), who is in a wheelchair. But, it doesn’t matter. Now he has some muscle and he’s slowly building it and, hopefully, for the first time in his life, he’s able to see an endgame.
Would you say Boyd has become a more enlightened criminal?
Human beings are so peculiar. If you drink coffee to wake up in the morning, like I do because I have a 14-month-old son, you can’t drink too much because that’s kind of bad for you. But I’ll still drink too much coffee and I’ll find a way to justify it. For Boyd, that’s the way he approaches building a criminal empire. Initially, I think he was kind of justifying the things that he was doing because he’s a showman, a charlatan. And when he found God, he did the same thing but with different motivations. It’s thinly veiled if you look through it. That’s why at the end of Season 2, he realizes that he’s going to do the things he has to do not because he’s found God or because he’s a narcissist and needs people to follow him. He’s doing it because that’s who he is. In the end, Boyd may get brought down by the very thing that has saved him, and that is love.