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Metro Canada: Walton Goggins says he’s just an ‘impartial interpreter’

By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

The last time we saw archeologist-adventurer Lara Croft on the big screen she looked like Angelina Jolie and saved the world by dunking a bad guy into a pool of acid.

The new Tomb Raider takes us back — back to a time when Lara Croft was an emo 21-year-old whose biggest adventure was navigating London’s busy streets as a bicycle courier. This time around she bears a striking resemblance to Swedish Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.

The reboot also comes with a new villain. Mathias Vogel, played by Hateful Eight star Walton Goggins, is a member of evil organization Trinity and an all-around bad dude. He’s been stranded for years on a remote island searching for the tomb of an ancient entity whose touch caused instant death.

His job is to uncover her resting place, discover the secret of her deadly power and unleash it on the world. Like I said, he’s a bad guy, but Goggins says, “I can’t judge him.”

Not even if he ruthlessly shoots people point blank?

“If I sat back in judgement of him then what am I doing for the audience?” Goggins asks. “I am just an impartial interpreter and that’s what I should be even if I am playing a good guy.

“I don’t think you want to pat yourself on the back every time you read a line. ‘Oh my God! I’m such a great guy. I just saved this girl.’ No, you are just in the process of telling the story so that the audience can feel what they want to feel.”

The busy actor — he’ll soon be seen in the TV remake of L.A. Confidential and the Marvel blockbuster Ant-Man and the Wasp — drew on personal experience to create a backstory for his character. Like Vogel, Goggins’s job frequently takes him away from his son Augustus and wife, filmmaker Nadia Connors.

“My in for this experience was thinking about the day (Vogel) said goodbye to his family,” he says. “He’s a father and has two daughters. I just kind of meditated on saying goodbye to them, kissing his wife, walking out the door for what Mathias Vogel thought would be a year of his life and culminate in some great discovery.

“One year turned into two years, which turned into four years, and hopelessness set in. You meet this guy seven years into this experience and he has a real opportunity to get off this island. People will do whatever it takes to get back home and see the ones they love.”

For Goggins, coming home is the best way to leave a character in the rearview mirror. “I have a seven-year-old waiting at home for me,” he says. “There is no room for anything other than him…. I used to really revel in that experience of bringing the character home and living and stewing in it. You romanticize being alone, having a glass of wine and thinking about it, but it is not necessary.”


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