Exclusive: Walton Goggins Talks ‘Tomb Raider’ & ‘Ant-Man & The Wasp’

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Exclusive: Walton Goggins Talks ‘Tomb Raider’ & ‘Ant-Man & The Wasp’
Posted by Wilson Morales

March 12, 2018

Coming out this week from Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ reboot of Tomb Raider, starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl).

Directed by Roar Uthaug, the film also stars Walt Goggins, Dominic West, Hannah John-Kamen, and Daniel Wu.

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.

First published in 1996 by the London-based video game company Eidos, Tomb Raider became one of the most successful video games of the time. A reboot of the series, telling the origin of Lara Croft, was released in 2013 and sold over 5 million copies. The most recent game, titled Rise of the Tomb Raider, was released in 2015 and is available now for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PC.

For Goggins, who is best known for roles as Detective Shane Vendrell on FX’s The Shield and Boyd Crowder on FX’s Justifield, the Alabama native has been racking up some incredible roles on the big screen as of late. He appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Quentin Taratino’s Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, American Ultra and more recently Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Goggings will be joining the Marvel when plays Sonny Burch in Ant-Man and the Wasp later this summer.

Blackfilm.com spoke exclusively with Goggins about Tomb Raider, Black Panther and Ant-Man & The Wasp and his return to TV with LA Confidential.

How much awareness of knowledge did you have about the game?

Walton Goggins: None. Zero. Zip. De nada. None at all. I never played the game. I’ve seen the poster of the movie. I’ve never seen either one of the movies.

Caption: WALTON GOGGINS as Mathias Vogel in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ action adventure “TOMB RAIDER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. from Warner Bros. media pass site

You never saw the Angelina Jolie film?

Walton Goggins: Never saw the Angelina Jolie movies, man. No. That was in the ’90s. I was working. No, I didn’t. And I didn’t see ’em, Wilson, when this opportunity presented itself, I didn’t want to be hindered by the mythology of this story. I wanted to judge it and to criticize it based on the merits of what was on the page, and not have to adhere to the story.

I felt that way about Justified, mate. I read Fire in the Hole, but only that particular short story that the show was based on and only after we were two years into it because I didn’t want to just see what Elmore’s intention was for Boyd Crowder because it was so clear in what was on the page. And it was so alive for me. I just wanted it to be free and open, you know?

So what went into saying yes, not playing the game, not knowing the game, but being offered the opportunity to be in this movie?

Caption: (L-R) ALICIA VIKANDER as Lara Croft and WALTON GOGGINS as Mathias Vogel in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ action adventure “TOMB RAIDER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. from Warner Bros. media pass site

Walton Goggins: Because the script was so good. The script was so good and I felt like I could service this story in a way that I hadn’t seen these stories be done before. And whether I accomplished it or not, that’s for somebody else to decide, but for me, I felt like I could- after my first conversation with Rohr, and asking him what he really wanted to say visually, I felt like I could help him say that.

My affection and my admiration for Alicia and what she does and Graham King. The man is Martin Scorsese’s producer. He’s one of the best in the history of the business. I felt like they wanted to do something that was a little different. They liked what I had to say, and I felt like I could service Alicia in her interpretation of Lara Croft by honoring the truth of who this guy, Mathias Vogel, was and making it hard for her to become the iconic character that we all know Lara Croft to be by making it difficult for her physically, but really making it difficult for her emotionally and psychologically. That was what interested me.

So then, having said all that, how you would you guys describe Vogel? Is he a villain throughout or is there a reason for his villain-ness? So how would you best describe?

Walton Goggins: Well, I suppose every story needs an antagonist, right? Yeah, okay. Sure. Yeah, okay, I need, in order to have a shitty day, I need somebody to cut me off in traffic when I’m going to pick up my son from school, you know? I need traffic in Los Angeles, whatever else. To spill something on my suit, whatever that is, whoever that person or that circumstance dictates for me to have a bad day. Whatever that is.

But for me, I just looked at it, and after reading it for the first time, I started to see the world from his point of view. And this is a guy who’s been on this island for seven years. I thought about the first time he said goodbye to his children, his wife. I thought about the enthusiasm he probably had, first year that he was on this island in service of some great discovery. And year two. And then year three. And his slow journey to seclusion and cutting himself off from the people around him, and how he became, over the course of his experience here, hopeless.

And I thought, “Well that’s really interesting to me. Haven’t really seen that in a while. I’d like to play that guy. That guy.” And that’s why I took it. That’s why I’m here.

It’s amazing, you see the trajectory of people, where they know you from, The Shield, Justified, you don’t see that many people coming out out of the TV world and all of a sudden explode on the film world. But now you can do both. Now you can have that platform. So you’ve played all sorts of roles that people like, they don’t like. What goes into saying yes to the roles you take?

Walton Goggins: Whether or not I can help my director tell their story. “Do I have the potential to bring something very special to this story, as I understand it, in a way that is satisfying to me and that helps my director tell his story.” It’s no more complicated than that.

You’re in the Marvel world now. We saw Black Panther. We saw what Michael B. Jordan brought to the role of Kilmonger as the villain. We’ve seen what Loki has done so far did. What are we going to get out of your role in Ant-Man?

Walton Goggins: Oh, well I think that’s comparing apples and oranges, isn’t it? That is so culturally significant, Black Panther, and I think when you get past that incredible experience and you dive into the story, it’s just a great fuckin’ story told by a great director, interpreted by great actors with a heart. Right? That’s what it is. Ant-Man has its own great story. It’s the second installment. I think Peyton Reed and Paul and everybody associated with that franchise are all so smart. I think they have found themselves in a place where they are allowed to play in a sandbox that nobody else has now.

They are able to find humor and drama in a grownup reality, in a regular-sized world reality, and then in a world that’s just this small. And then there are other worlds involved in this movie. I’m not really at liberty to say too much beyond that. I’m grateful to be along for that ride. Is my character going to live up to Michael’s Kilmonger? You can’t ask that question man. Come on.

Let’s go into LA Confidential, Jack Vincennes. I love the way Spacey played that role and then to hear that you’re going to be playing that character. How exciting is it that they’re bringing that to a TV screen?

Walton Goggins: Well, man, I’m scared. I’m full of anxiety. But the first question I think everyone will ask – “Why would you ever do that?” Because it’s one of the greatest movies ever made, man. It’s unbelievable. But the followup response should be, “Well, we’re not remaking the movie LA Confidential. We’re making the book that Mr. Ellroy wrote.” And for me, regardless of who played it before- Kevin’s interpretation, it was unbelievable. Everybody was unbelievable. But that’s not even a part of my reality because I’m just looking at it as, “I’m a person who lives in Los Angeles.” It’s been my home for 27 years. This city has given me a lot. And I think you can love a place more if you hold it up to the light and you look at it even closer.

I think that by looking at the world now, with everything that’s happened, and where we are, and all of these movements colliding right now. And you look at it through 1950s Los Angeles, that it’s an opportunity to really say something about this. It’s just great material.

Tomb Raider will hit theaters on March 16, 2018.

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