Jeff Daniels on Not Playing the Standard Bad Guy in Scott Frank’s ‘Godless’

     November 21, 2017

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With the upcoming Netflix limited series Godless starting to stream on November 22nd, I recently sat down with Jeff Daniels for an exclusive interview. He talked about how writer-director Scott Frank pitched him on the project, how they worked together to make sure he wasn’t playing the standard bad guy, the advantage to having just one director for the entire series and also having all the scripts before filming began, breaking his wrist on the second to last day of filming, the incredible production design, how he always wanted to be in a Western, and so much more.

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Image via Netflix

If you haven’t seen any of the trailers for Godless, the seven episode series is set out west in the 1880s and tells the tale of an outlaw named Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), whose murderous band is hunting down Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), one of their own who turned on their brotherhood. As Roy hides out in a New Mexican mining town run by women, he meets the tough widow Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), and the two prepare alongside the rest of the town for what will be an ultimate showdown as Griffin’s men arrive. Godless also stars Merritt Wever, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Jeremy Bobb, Scoot McNairy, Sam Waterston, Kim Coates, and Christiane Seidel. Godless is executive produced by Steven Soderbergh.

I got to watch the entire series before sitting down with Jeff Daniels and am happy to report the show is fantastic. Loaded with great performances, incredible production design, and all around excellence from all departments, I absolutely recommend checking out the series when it starts streaming.

Check out what Jeff Daniels had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis. For more on the series you can read Chris Cabin’s review.

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Image via Netflix

Jeff Daniels:

  • How much did Scott Frank tell him about the arc of his character before signing on?
  • When did he find out his character would just have one arm?
  • How is it to film when you’re pretending to have one arm?
  • How many of the scripts did he have before filming began?
  • How they filmed different episodes on the same day.
  • What would surprise people to earn about the making of Godless?
  • Had he always wanted to be in a Western?
  • Talks about falling off his horse three times during the shoot.
  • Did he get thrown off during takes or just when he was riding along?
  • Talks about getting thrown off the horse on the second to last day of shooting and how he broke his wrist.

Here’s the official synopsis for Godless:

Notorious criminal Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his gang of outlaws are on a mission of revenge against Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a son-like protégé who betrayed the brotherhood. While on the run, Roy seeks refuge with hardened widower Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), an outcast herself, in a worn-down, isolated mining town of La Belle, NM — governed mainly by women. When word reaches La Belle that Griffin is headed their way, the town bands together to defend against the murderous gang in a lawless western frontier.

Television