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Is America ready to finally love Walton Goggins the way it should?
This fall, CBS will debut The Unicorn, a new single-camera comedy all about how Walton Goggins is sexy and everyone wants to date him. His character, Wade, is a widower, and the show, which hails from executive producers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, is about Wade getting back on the horse and giving himself permission to live again after a year spent grieving his wife.
It is a role that involves Goggins stepping out of the box a bit. The actor has made a career of playing charismatic villains (Justified) or characters who exist in morally gray areas (The Shield), primarily on cable dramas that often, but not always, aired on FX. Goggins says the role of Wade is actually much closer to who he is in real life, and taking that on was a bit "unnerving."
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"I was really insecure about it," Goggins, who lost his first wife in 2004, told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday. "This is closer to me than anything that I've ever played. It took me asking myself the question, can you pull that off? Can you pull off just being you? Once I got past that fear of it then I said yeah, no, this is what I think I've always wanted to play."
"It was nice to step outside of hiding behind something," he continued. "We'll see where it goes. But it's been liberating in a way, and very grounding. I'm very happy with this opportunity."
Noting that he has a similar relationship with his son, Augustus (with wife Nadia Conners), and friends that Wade has with his two daughters and a close group of friends, Goggins said he was drawn to the material because of the writing. "When this came along, I just fell deeply in love with him and with his struggles. And I fell in love with his daughters and I fell in love with his friends and this community," he said.
Adding that he is now at an age where he is tired of irony, Goggins is simply ready to focus on different things. "I am at a place in my life, at 48 years old, where kindness and sentimentality and being earnest are things that are very important to me. And this show kind of spoke to all of that."
However, when asked if he was ready for everyone to fall in love with him or find him sexy just like Wade, Goggins isn't so sure. "I've never been accused of being that handsome or that attractive. ... I suppose if the circumstances make the man... I'll take it."
The Unicorn premieres Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)