Walton Goggins Says Making ‘The White Lotus’ Is ‘Meta on Every Level’: ‘We’re Guests…Playing Guests’

Walton Goggins has been around for a while. His first credited acting roles date back to 1992, when he would’ve only been 21, and his supporting turns on FX’s “The Shield” and “Justified” helped him craft an image that appealed to the likes of big-name directors like Quintin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. Goggins, now 52, is taking on roles he never would’ve dreamed of, like his standout performance as The Ghoul in Amazon Prime’s television adaptation of the “Fallout” video-game series and an upcoming role in the highly anticipated third season of HBO’s “The White Lotus.” However, in a recent interview with the LA Times, Goggins remembered a time in his career where his success wasn’t looking like a certainty.

“I was talking to my agent,” Goggins said, reflecting on a lull in work, “and asked him, ‘Why is it so hard?’ And he said, ‘It isn’t hard, Walton. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. There is no one job, no silver bullet for your career. It is the sum total … the aggregation of your body of work that will give you what you’re looking for. Just keep your head down, go to work and keep doing what you’re doing.’ This piece of advice changed my life.”

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Despite the struggles Goggins faced early on, he kept pushing and now continues to end up exactly where he wants to be. He said to the LA Times, “They say one door closes and another door opens. My life has been, one door opens and another door opens and another door opens, and you find yourself in rooms with people like Quentin Tarantino and [“Fallout” executive producer Jonathan Nolan] without questioning how you got there.”

The one time he did have to question things was when he got a call from his agents saying Mike White wanted him for “The White Lotus.”

“They said, ‘Before we do anything, we have to tell you something. You just got an offer for ‘The White Lotus,’ and it’s a very good role,’” Goggins said. “I said, ‘Could you say that again?’ They said, ‘Mike [White, the series creator, writer and director] wants you. I said, ‘Could you excuse me a minute?’ I walked outside and I start bawling. Crying uncontrollably.”

On the experience of making the show, Goggins said, “It’s all very meta on every level. We’re guests checking into a hotel playing guests checking into a hotel. We spend all this time together, whether we like it or not, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. We work where we stay.”

But there was added weight for Goggins to this particular trip, as he’d previously been to Thailand 18 years ago after a personal tragedy. Goggins said to the LA Times, “I went to a lot of the places where we’re filming now, the same streets and sandy beaches. I have come so far in my life and been healed on a number of levels. I am so grateful for this moment and the path I’ve been walking.”

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