Walton Goggins Needed To Be Alone With His ‘Fallout’ Ghoul-Self For Awhile…

Walton Goggins is normally down to do just about any silly type of role, whether it be as an overly-tanned Uncle Baby Billy or an eclectic vice principal. So when he was meeting with the team behind the Fallout adaptation, he was prepared to play something he had never played before: normal!

Goggins told Deadline that he was initially unfamiliar with the game and just assumed they wanted him to play a Vault Dweller. “I went online and began reading about the game,” he said. “Whatever article came up first in my search was about a guy leaving a vault, so I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting. That’s obviously who they want me for, the Vault Dweller that’s coming out into the world, of course.’” This, of course, was not what they wanted him for.

The actor was chosen for a dual role of Cooper Howard and his 200+ year old alter ego, The Ghoul, who survived the nuclear war. As it turns out, all of that radiation will get to you, as The Ghoul does not have a nose. But Goggins was already on board before he knew that. “Right out of the gate, maybe two minutes into the conversation, I did say that I was in, no matter what,” he explained. “And it was only after saying I was in that they said, ‘Well, don’t you want to know who you’re playing?’ And I said, ‘It doesn’t really matter. I’m in.’ And they said, ‘Well, you’re going to be playing a noseless, irradiated ghoul,’ and I said, ‘You know what? Maybe I should read those scripts. Yeah, maybe that’s a good idea, and let’s talk afterwards.'”

They did talk, and Goggins prepared for his Ghoulish role with a very specific vision. “All of us universally agreed that we didn’t want the audience to be repulsed by his appearance. We wanted them to lean into this experience with him and want to study his face and to understand what’s hiding in his face, what’s hiding in plain sight, and for that to be almost another piece of the story in and of itself,” he explained.

After Goggins first saw himself as The Ghoul, he needed a little space, presumably so he could avoid some sort of identity crisis.

“My dear friend Jake Garber, who’s one of the best special effects makeup people in the business, put it on, and then I just asked to be left alone really for about an hour and a half, and just walked outside and took a lot of video and looked at it in different lighting to understand what was possible with it. What are people seeing and what aren’t they seeing? How am I going to have to modify what is normally my instrument? Can I do that? So, there were a lot of those questions. And I don’t want to alter my imagination. I’m not going to over-emote. I don’t really even know how to do that.”

Even though he tried not to over-emote, the human side of The Ghoul did shine through throughout the first season, and we will likely see that continue in the second season. “When you read about The Ghoul for the first time, on paper, one can think, ‘My god, he is sadistic, what he’s putting this poor Vault Dweller through.’ And as the story goes along, hopefully, at least that was my intention, because I think that’s the story, [you understand] that it isn’t personal. It only becomes personal as he gets to know her,” he says of his dynamic with Lucy, who helped bring out his humanity. “It’s only after he’s confronted with, yet again, his own mortality, that he has to think and recalibrate his plan, or his day is f*cked, as they say, and he has to change course.”

He still tortures Lucy, but he has feelings about it after! That’s progress for a Ghoul.

Fallout is now streaming on Prime.