John Goodman doesn’t simply play a role…he owns it. Should you be lucky enough to play a scene with this talented actor please be advised the audience will probably be looking at him, not you. Goodman has a way of stealing every scene he’s in. He makes it look easy. Most good actors do.
If your even close to being a movie buff like myself you’ve seen John Goodman play a number of roles. He’s done so many movies it’s difficult to name a favorite. On occasion, John Goodman will play a television role and he manages to nail that as well. He’s just a darn good actor with a marvelous range. And, he manages to play each character with his trademark roguish charm. Everything from the Klu Klux Klan con man in “O’ Brother Where Art Thou,” to the certified nut job, Walter in “The Big Lebowski.” Goodman’s free spirited drug dealer in “Flight” allows him to steal scenes from the likes of Denzel Washington and watching him play the sleazy, bombastic movie producer in “Trumbo” was a sheer delight. Goodman’s characters are totally believable and he reminds us how a motion picture benefits by the presence of a gifted, talented character actor.
When you work in the world of animation you pay special attention to an actor’s vocal performance. I’m an old guy and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of actors who were trained in radio. A radio actor had to deliver a performance using only their voice. Good looks won’t save a bad performance and casting a poor actor simply because they look “hot” is a bad idea. Once again, Mr. Goodman delivers the goods. Whether it’s a role for a Pixar or Disney film, you know he’s in the zone. His voice can be gentle, soft and soothing or a thunderous roar of rage. Whether he fills the frame in a live-action movie or simply the booming voice on an audio sound track, John Goodman is an actor you can trust. You can imagine how I felt when first meeting Mr. Goodman some years ago. He’s a big guy so approaching the actor was already a challenge. I first had to convince myself he wasn’t going to brandish a weapon like “Walter” in “The Big Lebowski” and shout, “Mark it zero!” Lucky for me, John Goodman was more like the character he voiced in “Monsters, Inc.” Like James P. Sullivan, his voice was rich, warm and soothing, and he even called me, sir. This was most unexpected from the big guy I fearfully watched onscreen wielding a baseball bat. Deferential, and soft spoken, John Goodman couldn’t have been a nicer gentleman.
Many years ago, I reported back to Pixar Animation Studios to begin storyboarding on a new film entitled, “Monsters, Inc.” Many still regard this Pixar Animation Studios motion picture as their favorite Pixar film. I regard it as one of the finest movies I’ve worked on in my long career. Having Pete Docter as director and Randy Newman as composer, made it all pretty cool. However, getting to meet Mike and Sully was certainly a thrill. While it was fun to storyboard Mike Wozowski and Roz (Billy Crystal and Bob Peterson) it was truly cool to meet an amazing actor named, John Goodman.