When “Justified” actor Walton Goggins originally signed on for Quentin Tarantino’s antebellum slave drama “Django Unchained” he had a small part as a plantation thug, Billy Crash, who worked under Leonardo DiCaprio’s scene-chewing villain in the movie. But fortune smiled on him during production. Kurt Russell was cast as a Mandingo trainer named Ace Woody, that served as villain Calvin Candie (DiCaprio)’s right hand man.
Well, Russell left the project for undisclosed reasons and then Tarantino did Goggins a favor, and folded the Ace Woody part into the Billy Crash character giving the actor a much larger role.
“It was unbelievable, man” Goggins said in an interview with The Playlist, confirming the character mash-up decision Tarantino made. “I’ve been around a long time and have had a lot of breaks in my life. And more often than not, those breaks have come through the back door and this one was no exception. To get an opportunity to work in this capacity, in a role that Kevin Costner had first, and then Kurt Russell had second. It was a chance of a lifetime.”
As “Django Unchained” actors Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson told us earlier this month, many of the scenes in the Spaghetti Western epic had to be cut because the film was already running at a three-hour length (the theatrical release was cut down to 2 hours and 45 minutes). And Goggins confirms, he too had a bigger part in the longer cut of the film.
“There were some scenes that didn’t make into the movie,” Goggins said about his character. “It’s hard not to talk about them because they are such a part of my experience and I think Quentin would want me to talk about them because the writing was so good and the scenes were so good. There was a big scene between Leonardo and I that really cemented their relationship and you really saw how the inner workings of the plantation were conducted. And we had long conversations between Billy Crash and Sam Jackson’s character and how they both had a vested interest in keeping the status quo because it was the only way they would retain their power.”
He even broke it down Hollywood style. “In some ways, Sam Jackson’s character was Candie’s manager and Billy Crash was his agent,” he said.
Those who have seen the film might have noticed a tiny almost-hidden little cameo from “Death Proof” actress Zoe Bell. It’s a bit of a mysterious one that doesn’t pay off in the film leading many to believe there’s something more to it in the longer cut of the film. Goggins hinted that indeed might be the case. “Yeah, you don’t really get anything from her character,” he said. “But she’s lethal. And you know, I should probably just stick to myself and my character.”
As for working with Tarantino again, if he gets the opportunity, Goggins will come running at a moments notice. “The answer to that question is yes,” he said unequivocally with a laugh. “But if he called me the chances are I would be stalking him.”
“Django Unchained” is in theaters now. – reporting by Drew Taylor