Billy Bob Thornton Says His Goliath Character Picked Up the Actor's Bad Habits in Season 2

Thornton isn't entirely comfortable with the trappings of success and he avoids the public. Plus, Mark Duplass plays a real creep in the series, but is intimidated by the veteran actor in real life.

by | June 15, 2018 | Comments

Billy Bob Thornton is a master at playing antiheroes. His murderer in Sling Blade, racist executioner in Monster’s Ball, and his foul mouthed womanizing degenerate in Bad Santa all found some form of redemption. Even when he’s a villain who gets his comeuppance like on Fargo season 1, Thornton makes them endearing until the bitter end.

Goliath’s Billy McBride may be the perfect role for Thornton, and his most personal. A disgraced trial lawyer who got vindication against his old law firm in the first season, McBride in season 2 helps his friend’s (Lou Diamond Phillips) son who’s being framed for murder.

Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath (Amazon)

(Photo by Amazon)

Victory may be harder for McBride than being disgraced. He won $50 million from the case in season 1 and doesn’t quite know what to do with himself as season 2 begins.

“I think it’s hard for Billy to reconcile this kind of success, just like me in real life,” Thornton told Rotten Tomatoes. “I still don’t know how to act. Being somebody that got successful in this stuff, I’m not far away from the character in a lot of ways. In other words, it’s easy for me to go there every day and put those clothes on, because they’re the same clothes I wear in my regular life.”

Even a giant win like this might not last McBride long. He’s being overly generous with his winnings, giving away cars and cash.

“I’ve done that too,” Thornton admitted. “I’m a Leo so Leos tend to do that. ‘Oh, everybody get a drink. It’s on me.’ Maybe in a way it’s like yeah, I want the money, but then once he’s got it, it’s just here to spend and [he] doesn’t particularly pay that much attention. Fortunately he’s got a daughter who keeps him in check a little bit.”

Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath (Amazon)

(Photo by Amazon)

McBride bought a fancy beach house for his daughter’s visits, but he still calls the Chez Jay motel home.

“He certainly doesn’t want to move into the fancy house he bought,” McBride said. “He feels weird there. He likes the motel. He likes Chez Jay. Why would he change that? That’s his mind.”

You’ll still find McBride on the beach drinking out of a bottle, a cigarette in the other hand. Thornton relates to sitting out the media circus too.

“At the end of the day I’m a little bit agoraphobic,” Thornton said. “I don’t get out much. You don’t normally see me on the red carpet and Star Tracks in the magazine and all that. I’m not out there too much. I’m kind of uncomfortable around rich people, kind of uncomfortable around social scenes, so it’s easy to play a guy who likes to just walk down to Venice Beach by himself and sit there and have a smoke.”

Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath (Amazon)

(Photo by Amazon)

Thanks to Goliath, Thornton doesn’t have to go out much. He still does a movie in between seasons, but he wouldn’t even have to.

“Really, that’s all I have to do every year although I’m predominantly a film actor, so I want to keep doing movies,” Thornton said. “After the first season, I was kinda like yeah, maybe one more and I’m good. After we’ve filmed a second season, it’s like yeah, I’d like to do a couple more of these. I’m now into this guy where I can’t imagine not playing him.”

Season 2 finds Billy McBride in uncharted territory with a murder case, not his normal area of practice. In order to get Julio Suarez (Diego Josef) free, McBride will have to do more field work to get some dirt on the corrupt mayoral candidate (Ana de la Reguera) and real estate tycoon Tom Wyatt (Mark Duplass).

“This one has less in the courtroom and more out snooping around,” Thornton said. “Billy’s more lawyer-detective in this one. He has to get out there and get involved more this time. It’s not just going out and interviewing a witness at the house this time and then going back to court. He gets up to some shenanigans in this one.”

Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath (Amazon)

(Photo by Amazon)

Tom Wyatt and his cronies are no match for Billy McBride, but they may not know it at first.

“I don’t think Tom Wyatt is intimidated by Billy McBride,” Duplass said. “Tom Wyatt is very, very powerful. He hasn’t had any obstacles in his life that he hasn’t been able to overcome. I think there’s a level of sociopathy there that allows him to shape shift and get done what he needs to get done. I don’t think he identifies Billy as somebody who’s going to be a problem for him.”

These smug rich guys in suits think they own everyone. They’ve never met someone like Billy McBride, who has a countermove for all of their moves.

“Billy’s good at smelling a rat,” Thornton said. “I think that’s one of his main strengths.”

Mark Duplass in Goliath (Amazon)

(Photo by Amazon)

The audience can look forward to seeing Billy McBride make Tom Wyatt and his henchmen sweat.

“When you’ve got a person who thinks that they are above the law and that they can do things that will harm people or negatively affect people and there won’t be any consequences, I think you want to see them get taken down,” Duplass said. “That’s part of the joy of watching a show like Goliath. Billy Bob Thornton as a person is a real seeker of truth and honesty. I think that’s very evident in the character of Billy McBride too.”

Tom Wyatt and Billy McBride will come face to face in Goliath, and Duplass may have had more butterflies from that encounter than Tom Wyatt does.

“Billy Bob Thornton is just as intimidating as Billy McBride,” Duplass said. “He’s got so much emotional power to him. When he walks in the room, you just feel it, but he does a really good job of making everyone feel comfortable. He’s super open and conversational, very easy to be around. Within five minutes we were talking about our kids. He’s still intimidating as sh-t once the cameras start rolling.”

For an actor as vulnerable as Thornton has admitted to being, to hear that someone is intimidated by him is shocking.

“I look at acting as a very natural thing,” Thornton said. “Once we get into it, Mark and I only had like one or two scenes together and they’re very natural. He doesn’t have to worry about keeping up with me. Nobody does. If you’re in a scene and both of you are being honest, you got it made. He seemed at ease to me. I didn’t think I ever had to put him at ease. He seemed perfectly fine.”

Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath (Amazon)

(Photo by Amazon)

You will see Thornton on the big screen again in the film adaptation of A Million Little Pieces. Thornton plays Leonard in the adaptation of James Frey’s memoir, which drew controversy when it was discovered that Frey invented some of his memoir.

“I look at it this way,” Thornton said. “Let’s say it’s not based on reality. It’s still an interesting, amazing book to read so it’s worthy of a movie. Then they took it a step further from the book. A lot of stuff is the same but there’s a lot of stuff they took liberties with. They’re just trying to make a good movie, not something that’s true to a book which wasn’t even true to itself.”

Saying goodbye to a beloved character may be the hardest part for Thornton. He got to play Willie Soke one more time in Bad Santa 2, 13 years after the original. He wouldn’t rule out a Bad Santa 3 either, but most of his favorite characters were one and done.

“There are characters that I never wanted to stop playing,” Thornton said. “The character in A Simple Plan, Jacob, never wanted to stop. I wished that movie went on for five years. The Man Who Wasn’t There, Sling Blade, Monster’s Ball, Bad Santa, The Alamo, Bandits — all those movies. I just loved playing the characters. I didn’t want any of them to end. All those movies have varying degrees of success with box office or public or critics, but the experience of them was always great.”

So Billy McBride is certainly a keeper.

“Yes, I’m used to it now,” Thornton said. “I’d like to do it as long as they’ll let me.”

Goliath season 2 is available now on Amazon Prime.

Tag Cloud

Film Pirates joker Syfy toronto franchise Martial Arts HBO Star Wars NYCC game show crossover Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt OWN Certified Fresh Black History Month Paramount Network latino FXX TNT witnail Photos Pride Month Acorn TV nature stand-up comedy worst movies name the review Opinion USA Musical cinemax Spectrum Originals SXSW History Cosplay IFC zero dark thirty Nickelodeon Lionsgate The Purge Lifetime reboot Pixar Cartoon Network YouTube Red DirecTV ratings ABC Family justice league Television Critics Association die hard Universal adventure police drama unscripted science fiction TCA dramedy Superheroe spy thriller Epix Dark Horse Comics what to watch GLAAD screen actors guild First Reviews zombie dragons Crackle aliens spanish language cars Teen stoner X-Men video SDCC Emmys YA Disney streaming service Musicals Oscars revenge LGBTQ teaser AMC Ghostbusters travel renewed TV shows A&E Columbia Pictures Freeform Baby Yoda TruTV Sundance TV cartoon Nat Geo BET sag awards Classic Film series anthology Pet Sematary facebook Starz festival New York Comic Con golden globes Arrowverse RT History movies political drama Warner Bros. Mindy Kaling hispanic Animation serial killer IFC Films screenings Trophy Talk Spike PaleyFest President scorecard Chernobyl free movies directors LGBT Winners parents emmy awards worst award winner HBO Max Reality Election Apple TV Plus BAFTA discovery The Witch Toys canceled Country rotten animated Super Bowl Mary poppins Tarantino vampires Pop independent Endgame Anna Paquin nbcuniversal Sony Pictures Marvel space Ellie Kemper twilight Disney TIFF Peacock Red Carpet war Winter TV cancelled TV series cops Emmy Nominations Countdown Mudbound romance Summer PBS Funimation indie comic remakes Family Fox News Amazon Prime Video TV renewals 4/20 Interview quibi scary movies cooking movie RT21 Masterpiece Biopics cancelled Star Trek blockbuster The Walking Dead 2015 mission: impossible dark criterion comics a nightmare on elm street boxoffice laika dceu Comedy Travel Channel DC Universe ESPN technology Binge Guide 72 Emmy Awards Horror Rock thriller TCM Mystery Reality Competition TV Land Television Academy Polls and Games crime drama 24 frames Creative Arts Emmys 20th Century Fox The CW YouTube comiccon TCA Awards Esquire Infographic comedies based on movie Tumblr Adult Swim natural history nfl asian-american WarnerMedia Box Office DGA rotten movies we love Amazon Studios MSNBC Trailer BBC One 2017 Tomatazos spain National Geographic Calendar NBC batman disaster child's play Pop TV classics breaking bad canceled TV shows documentaries USA Network football Elton John reviews Discovery Channel critics Avengers Cannes First Look Mary Poppins Returns Chilling Adventures of Sabrina transformers sitcom FX on Hulu SundanceTV OneApp 2019 Premiere Dates hollywood CBS tv talk superhero Tubi Set visit universal monsters Captain marvel Hear Us Out book biography APB TCA Winter 2020 American Society of Cinematographers TBS best stop motion medical drama psychological thriller adaptation E! ghosts Mary Tyler Moore concert Netflix Christmas movies cults FX Song of Ice and Fire films Disney+ Disney Plus composers mutant sequels Crunchyroll crime sports foreign MTV harry potter all-time werewolf sequel diversity news finale romantic comedy Christmas Sneak Peek BBC Black Mirror Rom-Com singing competition anime Disney Plus Sundance Now Podcast Vudu Hallmark strong female leads Shondaland psycho Spring TV fast and furious HBO Go green book Paramount 2020 Schedule Action Apple Best and Worst politics talk show Amazon Comic Book Video Games CW Seed binge TLC The Arrangement CNN zombies dogs Academy Awards Apple TV+ Hallmark Christmas movies Character Guide Marathons Britbox Sundance social media hist GoT PlayStation children's TV obituary Awards Tour Fantasy Turner Classic Movies Shudder Brie Larson docudrama Ovation kids CBS All Access theme song 45 DC Comics crime thriller mockumentary streaming chucky Nominations CMT Marvel Television toy story El Rey supernatural Valentine's Day satire blaxploitation BBC America Amazon Prime Grammys 21st Century Fox ITV Food Network 71st Emmy Awards Fall TV 007 FOX true crime indiana jones Heroines E3 Sci-Fi Rocketman halloween Drama Hulu period drama elevated horror spinoff Awards Holiday versus cancelled TV shows Extras documentary WGN venice christmas movies Lucasfilm Marvel Studios television TV Trivia spider-man miniseries See It Skip It festivals robots cancelled television Writers Guild of America casting San Diego Comic-Con ABC cats Comedy Central Western Stephen King Holidays richard e. Grant Film Festival VH1 Netflix Turner slashers TCA 2017 Watching Series Quiz Kids & Family historical drama Women's History Month doctor who A24 2018 Showtime dc 2016 Rocky DC streaming service Comics on TV YouTube Premium GIFs video on demand Music Disney Channel Superheroes Year in Review Logo south america Lifetime Christmas movies game of thrones BET Awards VICE Bravo jamie lee curtis VOD Walt Disney Pictures Thanksgiving MCU