‘Tomb Raider’: Walton Goggins on His “Confused”, “Angry”, and “Desperate” Villain

     December 27, 2016

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Walton Goggins is an actor who makes whatever he’s in better just by being there. Every film or TV series is improved when it has Goggins. It’s impossible to look at his work and not be a fan, and I’m glad he’s been able to find success over his career. Earlier this month, he landed arguably one of the biggest roles of his career thus far when he nabbed the villain role in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. Getting to play the antagonist in a blockbuster film is no small feat, and Goggins has already played some incredibly memorable baddies in his career.

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Image via The Weinstein Company

Christina Radish recently spoke to Goggins about his upcoming History Channel series Six (which premieres January 18th), and during their conversation, he talked a little about what appealed to him about this new adaptation of the popular video game franchise:

The idea of a Tomb Raider reboot became interesting when Alicia Vikander was cast as Lara Croft, but it became even more interesting when you were announced as the villain, or antagonist. What was it about this telling of the Tomb Raider story that spoke to you?

 

GOGGINS:  I’m just so excited about it! I’m such a big fan of Alicia and this director, Roar [Uthaug]. Quite honestly, the script feels like it’s already been in the world, in some ways. The structure and the foundation of this story is so solid and so interesting. It’s so unbelievably entertaining, and yet it’s real in the journey that it takes you on. And this person that I get to play is confused and angry and desperate. I’m just looking forward to getting in his head. I’m really, really, really excited about it.

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Image via HBO

Goggins then talked about what it is about villain roles that he finds so appealing, and he provided a thoughtful breakdown of how he goes about choosing any role, whether the character is good or evil.

When you play antagonists that are so memorable that they’re thought of alongside the story’s protagonist when people think of that particular TV show or movie, does it give you pause when the next one comes up?

GOGGINS: Yeah, I suppose. On one level, I think about it in those terms. In another way, I just go where the work is and where people are extremely passionate about telling their story and where they’re capable filmmakers, no matter how long they’ve been doing it. It’s about whether they understand what it is that they’re asking themselves to do and whether they really want to say something. That’s always been my motivation. This thing that I did after Six, Three Christs, I don’t know if there’s an antagonist in the bunch. Maybe schizophrenia is the antagonist, or maybe it’s how we view those that aren’t like ourselves. Maybe that’s the antagonist. It was just an incredible opportunity. And Tomb Raider is an incredible opportunity. People have only seen the first season of Vice Principals, but when you see where the show goes, there’s so much more than whether or not those are bad guys. That’s what I’m interested in playing, regardless of what side he’s on. I’ve had some opportunities lately to play the hero, and they just haven’t been about the right thing. They haven’t spoken to me, in that way. But Six certainly did, and Three Christs did, and lord knows that Tomb Raider did.

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Image via FX

Goggins also talked about how it was a variety of factors that led to him signing on for Tomb Raider:

When Tomb Raider came your way, was it the script that sold you on it, or did you also wanted to talk to director Roar Uthaug first?

GOGGINS:  It was threefold, to be quite honest with you. I think Alicia is one of the greatest actors of any generation, let alone her own. And I saw Roar’s movie The Wave last year, and I wanted to meet that filmmaker. And then, it was the script. It always starts with the story for me. I couldn’t believe I was reading what I was reading. I couldn’t believe that it continued in this way, and the ball was never really dropped. It was the combination of those three things. I understand why Alicia signed on for it. Those things don’t happen every day. And then, you go forward and you just try not to be result-oriented and you try to do the best job you can possibly do, before you move on to the next one. It’s a good life! I’m just grateful to be a small part of that life.

We’re still waiting on the first successful video game adaptation, and there’s no reason it can’t be Tomb Raider. It’s got two strong lead actors with Vikander and Goggins, Uthaug showed he had directing chops with The Wave, and if there’s a good script, it could make for a solid adventure film.

Tomb Raider opens March 16, 2018.

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