I’ve never derived the slightest pleasure from “rural”-looking actors playing lowlife redneck hicks, and so I’ve never been a fan of Walton Goggins. I realize he played Shane Vendrell on The Shield for eight years and then Boyd Crowder on Justified, and that he’s a respected actor as far as it goes. But he looks like a yokel with a nice suit — like the nephew of the guy who had his way with Ned Beatty in Deliverance. He played a submental yeehaw in Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, and now he’s playing another lowbrow, Chris Mannix, in Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

The “great” Walton Goggins.

The reason I’m on this jag is that a director friend told me this morning that Goggins “more or less owns the film.” My friend doesn’t know that, mind — he’s just “been told” this so take it with a grain. Here’s how our conversation went immediately following:

HE: “Walton who?”
Director friend: “You’re joking, right? If not, you sure as fuck will know him by year’s end.”
HE: “I’m not joking. I’ve never watched The Shield or Justified and I’m extremely proud that I had better things to do, and I couldn’t give less of a fuck who Goggins is. I can’t even remember him from Django — if you’ve seen one lowlife rural dumbass with a shotgun and a hillbilly hat, you’ve seen ’em all.”
Director friend: “You’re serious?”
HE: “On top of which that name sounds like the name of a fucking hayseed. Walton Goggins sounds like Jethro McGillicutty or Bumblefuck Podkins or Dumbshit McCrackledoodle.”
Director friend: “That may be true. But he is also one of the most respected actors in town. He’s an adored actor. I double and triple fucking dare you to put up a column piece dismissing him. Your loyal readers will prison rape you for it.”
HE: “He’s a good-looking guy but that rural face, those chewin’ tobacco eyes. He seems to be straight out of Deliverance.”
Director friend: “Like I said, put your doubts up on your site and see what happens. He is one of our great actors although he does often play hicks — true. I’m told he has many offers now in anticipation of The Hateful Eight.”

“Great” actor? “Many offers”? This is a cynical effort to get people talking about Goggins. I’ve been around. I know this game. I’m just being used.

SAG member #1: “Have you heard about the awesome performance given by the great Walton Goggins in The Hateful Eight?”
SAG member #2: “No, I haven’t. But I know Walt. I’ve seen him at parties. He plays great rednecks and he looks like one, so I can’t wait. Plus Tarantino is a genius…”
SAG member #1: “I’m hearing it’s one of the greatest portrayals of a lowlife, ball-scratching yokel in the 21st Century.”
SAG member #2: “Awesome. I’m telling my wife. She once told me she wants to fuck Goggins. She told me she’d definitely cheat on me if she could manage that.”

A voice is telling me that Goggins is the new Tennisballhead.