Sons of Anarchy: Walton Goggins Opens Up About His Surprise, Sex-Rated Cameo

Walton Goggins Sons of AnarchyThe buzz about this week’s mystery guest star on Sons of Anarchy was deafening: Someone presumably with a connection to series creator Kurt Sutter was poised to turn up on the FX smash in a surprising way. But even with that heads-up, it’s safe to say no one was prepared for the sight of Walton Goggins sporting double Ds. But there he was, the Emmy nominated star of such gritty, hyper-masculine dramas as The Shield and Justified playing — no, embodying  — a sassy, quick-witted and altogether fabulous transgendered woman named Venus who was hired by SAMCRO to headline a faux sex scandal/blackmail scheme.

RELATED | Joel McHale’s Sons of Anarchy Character Revealed!

Here, the fearless Goggins recalls how the gender-bending surprise came about, what it was like simulating a series of graphic sexual acts (in nothing but assless chaps!) in front of Sons‘ male ensemble, and why he decided to go off script and kiss leading man Charlie Hunnam.

TVLINE | So, how did this come about? I assume you got a call from Kurt…
About a year-and-a-half ago Kurt did an interview about Shield actors appearing on Sons of Anarchy. He said he could never have Michael Chiklis or Walton Goggins on the show because they’re too closely identified with their characters on The Shield. And I read this interview and I sent it to him and I said, “This is bulls–t.” [Laughs] I said, “What if I played a transgendered character?” And literally a year and a half later, Kurt texted me, “Remember that conversation we had about you playing a transgendered character? Well, I’ve written something — and I’m not going to do it unless you do it.” So he sent me the script pages and I fell in love with her. And this happened while I was in the middle of filming [the upcoming Quentin Tarantino western] Django Unchained and I was in the [depth] of my masculinity. I had a full beard, and a f–king gun and my cowboy gear on; I was kicking ass. I went to work every day on Quentin’s movie ready to kick some ass. So initially didn’t know how to respond to it because I was so not there physically. But Kurt knocked it out of the park [with the script]. She was all the things I wanted her to be. So I said yes… I’ve always wanted to play a woman. I’ve always wanted to have that experience as an actor, and do it in a way that is very respectful and empowering to the [transgendered] community.

TVLINE | How soon after did you shoot the episode?
I literally wrapped Django at 9 am on July 4, and on July 5 I flew back home and went to the wig shop, on July 6 I shaved my entire body, on July 7 I went with my wife to get a mani-pedi, on July 8 I soaked in the tub, on July 9 I did the makeup test and on the 10th we were filming.

TVLINE | You looked great overall, but your breasts stole the show.
First and foremost, I have to say how unbelievably talented the special effects people are at Sons of Anarchy. And the hair and makeup department. Because it wasn’t just the breasts. It’s transforming the face and the hair. It was all about the hair. I went back and forth on the hair. I considered using my own hair and keeping it short and sort of pixie-ish, but they talked me into wearing it long and [going with a] Farrah Fawcett kind of feminine look. The first time I saw [myself] I didn’t really know who I was looking at. So it became so easy to turn yourself over to your imagination and let it run wild. The process took the better part of four-and-a-half hours. It came in four parts: Makeup, breasts, makeup again and then hair.

TVLINE | Sons is a super-masculine show — even more so than The Shield. What was the atmosphere like on the set while shooting those scenes?
I have known Charlie and Kim [Coates] and those guys for a long time. I was so afraid that we would digress into a [typical] conversation like, “Hey man, what’s going on? How are you?” So I was very careful not to see those guys [until I was in character as Venus] — out of respect for them. And they out of respect for me didn’t want to see me until the transformation happened. And then I came out and it was as if they had never met me before and I had never met them. Literally the conversations were like, “Where are you from?” It was as if we had no history together whatsoever.

TVLINE | That’s freaky.
It was freaky! And so important. Everyone wanted to go there. And it was so easy to go there because she was so beautiful. And so f–king funny and smart and in her power. She knew who she was and she knew the reaction she elicited in people. It was as if she always existed in the world and we were all experiencing her at the same time.

TVLINE | I loved that Tig couldn’t fight his attraction to her.
He was right up against his own curiosity. He’s a maverick by nature. He’s not dissimilar to Shane from The Shield. He’s his own person and would try anything. And in that moment, he’s extremely attracted to her.

TVLINE | Was the kiss you planted on Jax scripted?
No. That was improvised. He didn’t know it was coming. I leaned up to Charlie and in the voice of Venus I said, “When [the director] says action, trust me.” And then Venus did what she would have done to the person in charge, which is flirt in a very harmless, very sweet way. It was not overtly sexual. It was just a kiss. It was tender. And the look on Jax’s face was not repulsion, not revulsion… it was just like a child. It was like a sensation Jax had never felt before. It was a life experience that Charlie’s character had never had before.

TVLINE | There was some graphic sexuality in the scene. Did you have a moment where you were like, “What the hell am I… “
What the f–k am I doing? Yes. Every part of me was, “What the f–k am I doing?!” That internal conversation happened in the trailer when they were putting the breasts on me. I had to put that voice way out of my head and I couldn’t be concerned with people’s reaction to it. We were trying to do something different and I wanted to do a character that was so far outside of my comfort zone. So in those moments, like [climbing onto] the gentleman on the table or walking around in assless chaps… which if you’re aware that you’re walking around in assless chaps then you’re done. There’s no coming back from that. So none of it entered my mind. I said to myself, “I am doing this in the service of art and of this show and storytelling in general, and I’m just going to have fun.” And everybody felt that way. Everybody had so much fun.

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  1. Pat D. says:

    OMFG….WALT GOGGINS IS FREAKING AWESOME! I couldnt believe it when I recognized his face. ROFL…

  2. Eliza says:

    OMG I love Walt Goggins! I recognized him right away when he took the sunglasses off. And then I just sat there stunned. LOL. Excited for the return of Justified.

  3. A.Rae says:

    Amazing! And he looked so pretty…

  4. Sara says:

    I love how completely fearless he is an an actor. He is simply amazing.

  5. Lady K says:

    OMG…OMG…OMG…as soon as Venus sauntered in (and she so saunters!), I started screaming at the TV “It’s Boyd! I can’t believe it is Boyd!” Walter Groggins was AMAZING and it is probably the funniest scene I have watched in a very long time! I truly hope this is not the last time we see Miss Venus! She is so good with the men of SAMCRO.

  6. Tammy G says:

    He is freaking awesome. Recognized him right away and couldn’t believe the character he was playing. Lol

  7. pammie says:

    i think I laughed the whole time. OMFG…Hilarious. He was great as Venus.

  8. Steven says:

    And I found it great that as a throwback reference to The Shield, her name was Venus Van Damme, which any diehard Shield fan knows was very similar to the fake name The Strike Team would give (Cletus Van Damme!) Too funny!!!

  9. Kay says:

    What brilliance!!!! I, too, was screaming at the TV, “It’s BOYD!” Although I wasn’t believed until the credits ran and proved me correct. The make-up and character transformation was incredible.

    Absolutely stunningly well-done. Kudos to all, involved!

    I do hope that Ms. Venus returns now and then. : )

  10. Elwood P. Dows says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Walton Goggins since The Shield, and — of course — his fabulous work in Justified. This is one seriously good actor, who makes his character REAL.

    A couple of seconds after he walked into the Orca’s office, I looked at that face and went, “Whoaaaah … if I didn’t know better I’d suspect that was him.” But of course he wouldn’t be playing some bit part, one-time walk-on. Never happen. But I told my wife to look at him and see how much the facial structure looked like Walton. But by the next shot, I knew who it was, and she was getting suspicious.

    Only because we are huge fans would we have ever figured it out, but we were giggling and laughing the whole time, knowing that he was turning in one of the most memorable cameos of all time.

    Not sure whether it’s best to leave it as the perfect thing it was, or hope for another appearance by Venus in her (his?) assless chaps down the road. It is certainly a tempting thought.

    For anyone unconvinced of this man’s talent ….. I rest my case.

  11. Erica says:

    This was truely one of the best S.O.A.’s in a longtime! Love me some Venus. tig and Jax were great.

  12. tonya says:

    Goggins was amazing on SOA!

  13. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I’m so glad I saw the episode before I saw this spoiler, because that was fun to figure out on my own. I had to stare at him and listen to the voice for a couple of minutes before it hit me. Then it was definitely an “Oh, sh*t!” reaction. I hope to God he gets an Emmy guest actor nomination for that next year, lol. Also, he looked much taller on this show than he looks on Justified. I figure either he was wearing really tall boots, or he just looks short because he’s always standing next to Timothy Olyphant? I’m also wondering about the boobs. I don’t know anything about how Hollywood make-up and prosthetics work, but how on earth did they give him such realistic-looking boobs?
    Man, I feel between the Walton Goggins cameo and Joel McHale’s upcoming appearance, Kurt Sutter is working his ass off to make me like this show. I won’t lie. It’s working! Though I may feel differently when they beat up Joel’s pretty face. ;) That’s gonna hurt me bad to see.

  14. Nicole says:

    Another Emmy nomination perhaps? Oh wait the academy hates SOA my bad

  15. MrMank says:

    Well, I’ll be the first one to admit it…I didn’t know who it was. I spent the whole scene saying, “damn, that guy looks familiar!”, but forgot to check the credits at the end. I was also distracted because the kid looked familiar. Was that Marshall Allman from Prison Break?

    • Meg says:

      That was him. He was also recently on True Blood.

      • TS says:

        It’s funny because the younger kid (actor Marshall Allman) also played as Donovan on the last season of Justified in episodes, “Guy Walks Into A Bar” and “Measures.” I absolutely love how the best shows on television constantly use the same great actors. So many people from HBO series Deadwood, Sopranos, and True Blood constantly keep showing up on FX series Sons of Anarchy and Justified. Guess the elite shows deserve the elite casts.

  16. Magically Suspicious says:

    I don’t watch SOA, but I might start to see Mr. Goggins.

    • Emily says:

      I was planning on starting from the beginning, but I think I’m going to have to start with this episode. I can’t pass up Boyd Crowder in drag.

      • Elaine Bondra says:

        You will NOT be disappointed. As a Justified fan, my jaw dropped to my knees when I realized who was behind the make-up & the boobs. I think you’ll like SOA, too. It’s totally worth going back to the beginning. I’ve been re-watching the early seasons & they still grab me … maybe even more now.

  17. Amanda says:

    If fully admit that I have no clue who Walter is. I honestly thought it could be some drag queen from Drag Race. He was seriously THAT good in the role to someone who doesn’t know his work. Kudos to Sutter’s casting abilities once again.

  18. Elaine Bondra says:

    Amanda, you have to start watching “Justified” to see Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder. As you might have guessed from his portrayal of Venus, this is one incredibly talented actor. I can’t wait to see him in”Django Unchained”, the Quentin Tarrantino movie he did just prior to his work on Sons of Anarchy. He is amazing in everything he does.

  19. Daisy says:

    One of the best TV surprises I’ve seen in a long time. He was spectacular.

  20. Snsetblaze says:

    Ok. I haven’t watched the actor in either of his series. But when I first saw the photo, I thought here he resembled a young John Travolta in drag.

  21. vansk8er7 says:

    Marshall Allman was also on Justified!

  22. I didn’t even recognize him at first with the sunglasses and the name VENUS VAN DAMME (CLETUS VAN DAMME) HAHAHA. Then when he took off the glasses, MY JAW DROPPED!!! LOVE THE SHIELD REUNION! :D

  23. Tagh says:

    I was taping SONS when suddenly I started getting texts from everyone saying are you watching this, he will do anything, can’t believe this, laughing out loud. I replied don’t tell me, it must be good, I want to watch it. Well when I got to the part my husband and I were roflmao! Love SONS, love Walter! Those boobs were amazing an Jaxs expression after kiss was hilarious. Thanks Kurt and cast for another night of fun entertainment. But still hate you killed Opie off! Lol

  24. Jennifer says:

    Okay just reading this post makes me want to start watching SOA. I love Walton in Justified. He makes Boyd likeable and hatable in almost every scene. The image on this post was just amazing. I knew he was a great actor, but this takes the cake.

    • Elaine Bondra says:

      Watch the episode. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen “Venus” in her ass-less catsuit. Oh yeah! A full view of Boyd’s butt cheeks. Beyond the fabulous visuals, though, was WG’s great performance of this tranny prostitute. He was sweet, feminine, sassy & quite the savvy businesswoman all at the same time. And the best news is that he has said in interviews that a return of Venus is in the works.

  25. Whatever says:

    Walton/ Venus deserves the Emmy for Best Guest Appearance on a Drama !
    Marshall Allman was great too.
    I hope that they both visit SOA again , best laugh I’ve had in awhile.

  26. Colleen says:

    I luv WG & SOA what a great match up just not how I thought it was gonna go…..LMFAO it was too funny, greatly scripted with a superb actor. I watched it twice!! I think Venus would make a great manager at the Sons new “companion” business!!

  27. Dan says:

    I have to admit… I really disliked Walton (Shane) on The Shield. That is a testament to his abilities as an actor, for me to have carry over dislike for someone based on a role they played. That said… last night he made me literally laugh out loud, and that is a rarity for me.

    • Elaine Bondra says:

      I recommend you watch Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder on Justified. I had never seen him before but his portrayal of Boyd has made me a true fan. And if you haven’t yet seen Justified, you should check it out. It’s great show.

    • Pat D. says:

      Absolutely….Shane (the character) was despicable…arguably even more so than Vic, because he was also incompetent at being “dirty” which ended up hurting even more people. I hated that man so much, it wasnt until the day after the finale that I realized the actor is NOT Shane, LOL. And who among us wasnt cheering when Vic told Shane off on the phone mockingly after he got his immunity deal? Walt is awesome.

  28. chris says:

    Thrilled to see Goggins again! Personally he is one of my favorite actors. His portrayal of Venus was superb…hope she’s a returning character. I watched it twice also! I hope Goggins gets an Emmy for Best Guest Appearance in a Drama category for his portrayal. Can’t wait for Justified!!!

  29. Dennis says:

    If this doesn’t earn Coggins a long overdue emmy. there is no justice.

  30. Pat D. says:

    Just watched the scene again….I could swear that the MC members in the background are laughing “out of character” at Walt/Venus.

  31. dibbley says:

    Forget Goggins, the make up person nailed the boobs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

  32. Tricia says:

    I must say as a 51 year old black woman I am not too happy with any poytrayals of bigoted rednecks, however I manage to get over it watching SOA, I have also watched Walter Goggins portray a number of bigoted rednecks, and I have also gotten over it because of his wonderful acting. This episode however outdone itself, this was the best combination of bigoted redneck acting I’ve seen in recent years. Well done.

  33. Rockn Robyn says:

    Great acting by Mr.Goggins..!!! Hope he is nominated for guest spot in a tv series for an emmy!!!

  34. Keya Taylor says:

    I am SO glad I had my DVR on for this….I kept rewinding it over and over again. WHen he first walked in the door I actually thought he was really pretty –then when I heard the voice…IK couldn’t believe it was Goggins. That was awesome! Even more funy was the reaction from the crew..Tig was off the hook funny with his reaction and the flirting between Venus and Jax..Venus was powerful, pretty and funny as hell!!

    I’ll bet Goggins’ Justified castmate–Timothy Olyphant—probably thought the performance was as great as the rest of us.

    Good job Goggins/Sutter!!!! You made me happy after the loss of Opie.

  35. C J Jackman Zigante says:

    I love Sons and I love Justified….lemme tell ya Walton aka Venus, Superb!!!

  36. Chet Norris says:

    what was the name of the episode or when did it play….i missed it

  37. Sandy says:

    Love SOA and also love Justified! Had no freaking clue that was Boyd. He was awesome as Venus!! He should win a guest Emmy and I hope Kurt Sutter has him back. Maybe next time he will plant a kiss on Clay as the final death kiss. lMFAO!,

  38. eva says:

    I love venus Mr. Sutter never ever take her off the show! I had told my son I wanted my hair like venus! lol This is the best show ever.My favorite is gemma! god I love her, My children gave me her Lois Hill silver ring for christmas last yr. Hope this show stays forever!!!! Love all of you!!!

  39. Cyndee McIntosh says:

    When the guys meet Venus is by far my favorite scene from SOA! What a team of actors-love WG!