As a sometimes ill-equipped but always devoted single parent to his two adolescent daughters, he is taking the major step of dating again.
To Wade’s amazement, he’s a hot commodity with women, and his friends explain that he’s the perfect single guy — a “unicorn”: employed, attractive, and with a proven track record of commitment.
With his daughters and best friends rooting him on and hoping he’ll find happiness, Wade and his healing heart are ready to try life, and love, again.
Global News spoke with Goggins about the new series, his definition of “a unicorn” and much more.
Global News: Can you tell me a bit about the show?
Walton Goggins: It’s a story about about a guy who who has lost his wife to cancer and he has two daughters. It’s a show about his community coming together to help him get used to his new reality. There’s light on the other side of loss, but really it’s about learning how to live again and the absurdity at times of that experience.
What drew you to your character Wade?
I was so taken with the story and the journey of this guy, Wade Shelton. I thought it was just infinitely relatable to people because of what it has to say about learning how to live again. I think we’ve all gone through tough times in our lives and there are moments where we really need each other. I think at any given moment we are either giving advice or getting advice, needing comfort or are giving comfort. We explore all of that in this show with a whole lot of laughter thrown at it and it just really touched me.
I watched the first episode at a premiere party and I thought it was so great. Your character Wade is a lot different from the intense, villain-type characters that you usually play. One of my favourite characters of yours is Venus Van Dam in Sons of Anarchy. How do your other experiences compare to working on this comedy?
Thank you so much for saying that. In some ways in the aggregate they’ve all been leading to this point. I’m 48 years old, I have a son, I’m married and I have a great group of friends that I love dearly. I’ve played a number of villains for a very long time, but people have been able to see the world of their points of view. Now, at this stage of my life, to do something that is so, so very different and so close to who I am as a person, really, it seems like I’ve been waiting for this. It seems perfect for where I am in my life.
Did you have any say on your character or how the show was directed?
I did! My showrunners Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, who are just veterans in this space, along with our producer Peyton Reed and our director, the great John Hamburg, we all looked at this as a real collaboration. We wanted to do something special and something that was really funny but also grounded in truth and a real experience, because it’s based on one of their best friends. We wanted to treat it with respect and so to answer your question, yes, I was involved at every stage of the game once I signed on to do it. It’s been an incredible collaboration between this group of people and this great network that has given us the opportunity to tell the story and continues to be that. It’s really exciting.
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Were you nervous to take on Wade since The Unicorn is based on the real-life experience of Grady Cooper?
No, I wasn’t nervous about that. I felt a lot of gratitude that they would entrust me with the opportunity to really tell his story. I’ve had four close friends that have gone through this very thing and I think we all have our struggles that we go through in life. Whether it’s an aging parent or the loss of a parent or a divorce or the loss of a job, whatever that is, I think we all go through this in our life. We need each other to get through it. It’s a show about community as much as it is about anything else. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited, and I think Grady was excited, too, because he felt like I would bring some authenticity and some truth to his experience.
It’s an important story to bring to TV, as well. I was laughing and almost crying when I watched it. The entire room had a great reaction to the show.
Wow, that’s so good to hear! I can’t wait for you to see episode two. It’s just going to get you. It’s almost like come to CBS and Global on Thursday nights at 8:30 to get a hug!
They’ve worked together for so long. Michaela Watkins and Rob have played husband and wife two or three times on the screen. Rob Corddry has been a friend of mine for 12 years and Omar and I have been friends for 15 years. There is this real connection and sustained long friendship outside of this experience. It has just translated on the screen effortlessly. You never know how these things are going to happen, but the first scene that we did together we all looked at each other halfway through it [and] said, well, this is special. However long we get to do it, this is really cool. There is nothing forced about this at all. And the people that you’re mentioning are so unbelievably funny and they’re also so unbelievably human and grounded and true and honest.
What do you hope people take away from the show?
I hope people are able to see themselves reflected in the story and the stories that we’re telling. It is made by people that care deeply about the human condition and about these people. The story that we’re telling, we’re doing it as truthful as we can and infusing it with absurdity and laughter, which is what I think most people experience in their own lives. Hopefully people will take away the fact that it is relatable to them because it is being dealt in such an honest way.
What is your definition of a unicorn?
A unicorn for me is someone that I come across out of the world that has been all over it and experience life on such a deep, profound level and has something really interesting to say about it based on their experience. Whenever I come across these people in my life, they become friends for life and they are unicorns to me.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)
New series The Unicorn airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Global.