'Fallout:' Walton Goggins calls The Ghoul ruthless, funny bounty hunter

Walton Goggins can be seen playing The Ghoul in "Fallout." Photo courtesy of Prime Video
1 of 5 | Walton Goggins can be seen playing The Ghoul in "Fallout." Photo courtesy of Prime Video

NEW YORK, April 12 (UPI) -- Walton Goggins said he wanted to play The Ghoul in the new sci-fi series, Fallout, because he was able to explore who the character was before and after a nuclear apocalypse.

Now streaming in its entirety on Prime Video, the video-game adaptation follows people who have been cocooned in luxury bunkers for years and now are forced out into the dangerous real world known as the "Wasteland," which is populated with mutants and bandits.


The show was helmed by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, creators of Westworld, and co-stars Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten and Kyle MacLachlan.

"The Ghoul is, in some ways, the poet Virgil in Dante's Inferno. He's the guide, if you will, through this irradiated hellscape that we find ourselves in," Goggins told reporters in a recent virtual press conference.

"He is a bounty hunter, an iconic bounty hunter. He is pragmatic, he is ruthless, he has his own set of moral codes, and he has a wicked sense of humor. Much like me," the actor known for roles in Righteous Gemstones, Justified and The Shield said with a laugh. "No, he's a very, very, very complicated guy."


Goggins said that to understand The Ghoul, one needs to know who he was before the war.

"He had a name. His name was Cooper Howard, and he was a vastly different person than The Ghoul," Goggins said.

"Over the course of the show, through his experience back in the world before the nuclear fallout, you will understand how the world was. And he is the bridge between both these worlds."

Nolan said he wanted to helm the series because he was obsessed with the video-games.

"I think it started, for me with Fallout 3, which devoured about a year of my life," Nolan added.

"I was an aspiring young writer at that point. It almost derailed my entire career," he joked. "It's so ludicrously playable and fun. No, I mean, seriously, the games were just incredible."

This is the second time in Nolan's career that he was able to create a new version of something he loved after working with his brother, writer-director Christopher Nolan, on the Dark Knight Batman films.

"It's such a rare thing and such an unbelievable thing," he said of being able to reimagine an established property.

Jonathan Nolan said he wanted to adapt Fallout because there was so much rich material to pull from.


"One of the things that's so powerful about the Fallout series is that every game is a little different -- different characters, a different setting and a different look into this extraordinary universe," he said.

Yellowjackets actress Purnell plays Lucy, a sheltered "Vault Dweller," in Fallout.

"What excited me about playing her was that she is so innocent and so naive and obviously very privileged, as well," she said. It was exciting for me to start in that place."

Purnell added: "She's essentially a newborn baby. She hasn't had any real-life experiences. All she knows is what she was taught and what she's read in books that she has in the vault. It's limited."

Next alum Moten plays Maximus, who is part of the Brotherhood of Steel and someone who has lived his whole life in the Wasteland.

"He has to have a certain type of moral ambiguity that is forced upon him, living in the world that he lives in, and where you go from there [is what is thrilling to explore] -- how you hold onto what is your unique, pure self, and how that changes, and how you discover what it is that you want," Moten said.


One of the most challenging aspects of the production, according to Nolan, was recreating the games' "power armor" -- rare robots that are paired with people to protect them and help them carry heavy weapons.

"On a technical level, the scope of the world and the power armor, in particular, was one of those things you go, 'Oh, how on earth are we going to do that? But we got there,'" Nolan said.

Moten said every day on the show's set was a "new, fun challenge," but that was why he wanted to work on movies and television in the first place.

"It's super-exciting as an actor to get the opportunity to show up to work to do outrageous things," he added.

"We spend a lot of time doing things that are normal, or there's a mundane-ality to them," Moten said. "So, to get to trudge around the Wasteland with the power armor by my side is an experience in itself.

"And getting to see our stunt performer, Adam [Shippey] in the full garb, and seeing the seas of people and crew on sets part for him -- that practical realness to it is really exciting."

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