Ken with an interview of Walton Goggins for his part in THREE CHRISTS.
THREE CHRISTS follows Dr. Alan Stone (Richard Gere) in 1959, as he denies the ideas of his day on paranoid schizophrenics. You know, like electrocution and untested anti-psychotic drugs. Instead, he thinks simply listening and acknowledging their stories, working with them in a peaceful manner is what will lead to better results. Clearly he’s a quack. The three patients he’s allowed to try this theory on all believe they’re actually Jesus Christ, for different reasons. Clyde (Bradley Whitford), Joseph (Peter Dinklage) and Leon (Walton Goggins) end up not being so insane after all. Simply stuck in their own heads and too unsure to peek from behind their protective curtains.
It’s a thought provoking movie. Makes you realize how lucky you are to get addicted to man-made pills. I’m not making light of that path. It’s a shitty one. I just think getting electrocuted is probably worse. Luckily, I don’t know either predicament.
Without further ado, let’s get to that interview.
Walton Goggins: Hey Fred, how are you doing man?
Freddy Beans: I’m doing great man. How are you?
WG: I’m good buddy. I’m real good. Glad to be talking with you mate!
FB: The pleasure is all mine Walton. I am an enormous fan of your work.
To start off, what did you enjoy most about filming THREE CHRISTS?
WG: I suppose the privilege of getting to understand this affliction. To participate in educating other people about this man Milton Rokeach and what he attempted to do. To understand people that are different than him. That’s a lesson that we all can’t get enough of.
R. D. Laing made a documentary that was a big help in understanding this world. ASYLUM was about a home for those suffering with schizophrenia on the outskirts of London. I wrote down a few of his quotes, when we set out to do this journey. This is one that fucking stayed with me. “There’s meaning and value for what lies within all of us that choose to listen in to the things that we are afraid of.” R. D. Laing also said this, “The condition of alienation. The condition of sleep, of being unconscious, of being out of his mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values, its “normal man.” It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be “normal.” “Normal men” have killed perhaps a hundred million of their fellow man and laughed over the years.”
If you put that in conjunction with one of my favorite quotes, “Insanity, a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world,” then you question what is sanity? What is sane? Those are the questions asked by Dr. Alan Stone in the 50’s. Trying to understand this condition from the inside out, with love and kindness. Taking people away from the threat of violence and taking them off of the anti-psychotic drugs, which had just been introduced. Maybe the greatest source of sanity for all of us is just to have someone fucking listen. Just listen, ya know?
That’s what he arrives at by the end of the film and I think it’s where all of us ended up at the same time, while we were filming.
FB: That’s beautifully stated and extremely thoughtful, thank you for that.
What did you find the hardest part of playing a paranoid schizophrenic?
WG: Not making it a caricature, right? I think we all wanted to create the proper environment. You know, Richard Gere is one of my fucking heroes, man! He is anybody’s hero from my generation. I’ve seen AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN at least 100 times over the course of my life, along with his other films. You’re sitting in a room with Gere, Dinklage, and Bradley. These are ballers.
We didn’t start off looking at one another going “OK, when am I getting judged? When I’m an actor acting clinically insane in front of another actor. We just talked about it openly before we began. We said let’s just throw that shit out the window. No one here is going to get judged for anything they do. And we’re not playing “crazy” people. We are actually playing people who are very sane. In their world, they are perfectly sane and that world makes perfect sense to them. Even though they suffer greatly with isolation, under the weight of their own imagination. Let’s tell it from their point of view. Getting to that point, was probably the hardest part. The fear of holding back. I think that’s it. I think I was afraid that I wouldn’t be courageous enough. That I would hold back, to try and protect myself from judgment. Does that make sense?
FB: Absolutely! However, going through your acting history, you’re doing anything but holding back. You’re really out there. I think that’s what is slowly building up your enormous fan base. In fact, one of my favorite things about THREE CHRISTS was watching you play a subdued character. You’re almost always lit up and really exciting. In this one, you were more subdued and I think it played to the character better that you did.
WG: Thank you very much for saying that, man. For a long time, that’s what the story felt like it needed from me. From this to THE UNICORN, to DEEP STATE, and this movie I just finished titled THEM THAT FOLLOW. These are all quiet men. To be honest, I’m probably a bit of both. I’m loud and crazy and quiet and contemplative. Yeah, I like it too, is what I’m saying.(Laughs)
FB: I feel you. I recently read an old interview where you wanted to escape being typecast as the racist southern actor. You’d just moved to LA from Atlanta. Presently, you’ve ironically found great success embracing that southern charm role. What do you think of those older thoughts now?
WG: I think it’s like that for anyone that moves from their home town. Initially, you want to get as far away as possible. Only to look back at that spot later and see that place for the first time. To truly value it. That was my journey. I suppose a lot of other journeys are like that. Those were the opportunities I was given, when I first came out. Just like if I was Italian from New York, I’m certainly going to play a guy that’s in the Mafia. That’s just what you do. Any subculture in America that’s what you’re going to get called for. If you’re from California with blonde hair. You’re a surfer dude. That’s where you’re going to be. When you step back from it though and step back in, you’re more in control of it. You have a deeper understanding of how you can expand the definition of what that means. That’s been a real blessing. Getting to play Boyd Crowder (JUSTIFIED) was a badge of honor for me.
To have freedom to talk about where I’m from and express where I’m from, in a way that people weren’t really accustomed to seeing. At this stage of my life, I get to do both and I don’t judge either. I just go wherever the best story is being told.
(The interview was interrupted and time was up here. Except Walton is an absolute gentleman and insisted on another five. Thank you, my man!)
FB: My kids and I loved VICE PRINCIPALS and now THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES. You and Danny McBride have this undeniable chemistry. I was wondering if that was legitimate and how much of a blast is he to work with?
WG: Not only is it real. He’s become one of my best friends. David Gordon Green and Jody Hill too. It’s a group of people that have become like family to me. We’ve gone on vacation together a number of times and we’re doing it again this year. I’m very fortunate after thirty years of doing this to have pockets of people that I really respect and revere. And who dig what I do. I found a home with Danny and a chemistry or camaraderie that people fucking dream of. I was a fan of his for so long before I got the opportunity to get up close to him. I look at him now and I’m just overjoyed that I can call him my friend. Like fucking really?
FB: You can feel it on screen. Thanks for sharing that. He does seem awesome.
WG: He’s fucking awesome man! Just a great human being.
FB: Well hopefully you can set me up with an interview with him this year. (Laughs)
WG: Yeah, buddy!
FB: What’s your favorite horror movie?
WG: I’m old school. The first HALLOWEEN, I loved Danny and David’s interpretation of it, too. FRIDAY THE 13TH. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD scared the shit out of me. THE EXORCIST. Even if it’s not part of that genre, fucking JAWS scared me man! I’m pretty sure it scared everybody else too. What does it mean to experience horror? Like what is that? It’s a horrific feeling I get, every time I go swimming. It’s one of the reasons I became a scuba diver. So I could be down in it and see what’s going on. Its’ the only place I still feel at peace while out in the ocean. (Laughs)
FB: (Laughs) That’s hilarious. And fuck yeah, JAWS is a horror movie. I couldn’t agree more. It’s perfection in my opinion.
You have the extremely long and extended death scene in HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES. It seemed such a harsh way to go. We all knew what was coming, yet it dragged on in tune to the music. What do you think of that scene, looking back on it now?
WG: The moment I met Rob Zombie, I knew right away. WOW, this guy is a filmmaker. He’s an absolute artist. I think it was my last day of work, that moment. Whether you saw it or not, I was acutely aware that I was in the hands of someone who knew exactly what they were doing. He played that song in real time, while we were filming that scene. I think we did that scene 14 times before he got it the way he wanted it. It was fucking cold! I knew exactly what was happening and the suspense and waiting for that gun to go off in that two minute song. It was exhilarating. That’s how I feel about Rob Zombie, who I also call a friend. I haven’t seen him in a while but if I bumped into him today, we’d go out to dinner.
I have to go man. The wife is looking at me. That was a really good fucking conversation.
FB: Dude, you are the man! Thank you so much for extending the time. Good luck with everything!
Pretty great way to enter the New Year!
THREE CHRISTS is available in theaters, On Demand and on digital January 10!
Til next time Kids
Ken Lewis (AKA: Freddy Beans)