Fallout Star Walton Goggins On Bringing Such A Huge Game Franchise To Life Without Having Actually Played Any Of It

Fallout Star Walton Goggins On Bringing Such A Huge Game Franchise To Life Without Having Actually Played Any Of It

Spoilers below for those who haven’t yet watched Fallout with an Amazon Prime subscription, so be warned!

2023 and 2024 truly threw down the gauntlet for upcoming video game adaptations, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie earning a billion dollars at the box office, while The Last of Us and Prime Video’s new critical darling Fallout succeeded in winning over both general audiences as well as hardcore gamers. (And earning some comparisons to each other in the process.) But don’t expect co-star Walton Goggins to speak at length about the source material, because he chose not to play the games after landing the killer role of The Ghoul.

The character Walton Goggins portrays, both as Cooper Howard and The Ghoul, isn’t directly sourced from the Bethesda franchise, and is more of an amalgamation of various creatures and concepts. As such, he wasn’t living up to any super-specific expectations for the role, but talked to CinemaBlend about why he still chose not to partake in the post-apocalyptic universe’s digital adventures, as seen in the video above.

I noted that I wasn’t familiar with his own gaming habits when asking about the reveal confirming his character inspired the iconic Vault Boy, and here’s what he told me:

Well, you know, I didn't play the game. I wasn't familiar with the game, except my son is a gamer, and so I'd heard about Fallout. . . . But in talking to Todd Howard this past weekend at South by Southwest, we talked at length about my decision not to play the game when this opportunity kind of came my way. Because I didn't want that responsibility. I knew there were enough people around that were protecting this, the mythology for this legacy property, that I didn't need to worry about that. I felt to be ... unencumbered by the weight, and carrying the weight of that responsibility around, it just left me free and clear to judge these scripts and this behavior on this person that was in my imagination.

Walton Goggins brings up a point that doesn't come up as often as one might think when it comes to TV shows and films based on other hugely popular projects. In choosing not to invest himself in hundreds of hours of exploring and surviving the multitudes of vaults and landscapes within the variety of Fallout games across multiple consoles, Goggins knew he had the safety net of a creative team that was very heavily invested in the source material.

As such, the Justified vet knew that if he was bringing something to his performance as The Ghoul that went in direct opposition to what audiences should expect, someone such as showrunners Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet or director Jonathan Nolan would step up and point him in the right direction. I can imagine that some actors might consider it highly undesirable to be corrected in such a way, but Goggins allowed that guarantee to help him focus more on doing what he needed to do. (Such as get used to The Ghoul's noseless look and its effect on his ability to talk.)

Walton Goggins' The Ghoul inside old house in Fallout

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

The Hateful Eight vet continued, saying that his interest in personally connecting with an adaptation or biographical project's inspiration depends on the project itself.

There are a number of people that have played people in real life, a biography or a movie, and a lot of times [as] actors, we don't want to meet those people, because they have a version of it that makes them very, very comfortable. And I've done it both ways, really. In Dreaming Wild, I wanted to meet Joe Emerson, and in a couple other things, I didn't want to meet them. So this was no different, right? It's a video game that exists in the world, and that was my decision.

Let's be honest here. Does anyone think that Walton Goggins' performance would have been greatly enhanced by all-night gaming seshes and encyclopedic knowledge of The Great War? Because I kinda think he already knocked it out of the park, and I can't wait to see more of it.

Walton Goggins wrapped those thoughts up by talking about how much of a passion project this was for many behind the scenes, saying:

Man, thank you so much for watching. And I really, I hope you enjoy it. We put a lot of love and a lot of thought into it, and tried to protect this experience for the player of the game. That was in the forefront of every decision that was made. But then also leave it for a new interpretation, and an entry into the canon that is Fallout.

Amusingly enough, Goggins pointed out that his son doesn't play Fallout, but does play Skyrim, the hyper-vast Elder Scrolls sequel that Bathesda first released in 2011. They're as timeless as two video game franchises can be, so kudos for all involved on making the TV series such a blast.

All eight episodes of Fallout Season 1 are available to stream now, and considering it's already shaping out to be one of the best Amazon Prime original TV shows to date, we're hoping to get big Season 2 news soon. Head to our 2024 TV premiere schedule to see what other shows are hitting streaming, broadcast and cable soon.