Goggins, it seems, is one of those actors whose face grabs the camera and won’t let go. His deep-set eyes, lean build and finger-in-the-socket haircut make him look like he could go off at any minute. In real life, the 39-year-old is anything but volatile. A passionate photographer and avid reader, Goggins takes the works of W. Somerset Maugham along on his world travels. (He and writer-director Nadia Conners named their child Augustus Somerset—after the author.)
Since coming to town from Georgia, Goggins has landed steady work in films ranging from The Apostle to The Bourne Identity. Now the parts are getting bigger. Working around his Justified schedule, raising the new baby and remodeling his 1927 Hollywood house, Goggins shot a role in Universal’s sci-fi thriller Cowboys & Aliens, which opens July 29. He’s also in Rod Lurie’s Straw Dogs remake, coming in September, and recently filmed his part in 2012’s independent drama Officer Down.
Goggins currently sports barely visible braces to correct a long-ago Little League accident that knocked out some teeth. As might be expected from someone who makes his living being stared at, he had become a little self-conscious about his appearance. Just not enough to keep from smiling.
This is two hit FX series in a row for you now. Do you feel like more of a cable actor than a broadcast actor?
I think broadcast would probably say that. [Laughs.] You know, when I first moved out here 20 years ago, the people working in television were more often than not conventionally good-looking. They had a safety about them that I don’t have.
But there’s always a place in Hollywood for interesting-looking character actors.
Oh, absolutely. I think that’s why I was able to make a living in movies. And this kind of programming we’re doing—serialized storytelling—started with The Sopranos. It was almost as if independent film began to find an alternate home on cable. It was a prime opportunity for someone like me.
Was the Georgia you grew up in anything like Justified’s Harlan County, Kentucky?
No, but there are people I grew up with from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that would give any person on Justified a run for their money in the scary department.