10 months ago

Birmingham’s Walton Goggins stars in new CBS series ‘The Unicorn’

Walton Goggins is best-known for his roles as a career criminal on “Justified,” based on an Elmore Leonard short story, and a detective in the crime drama “The Shield,” so it might seem a little out of place to see him in the comedy “The Unicorn,” which premieres Thursday on CBS.

Not for Goggins, a Birmingham native.

“I think ‘The Shield’ was one of the funniest shows on TV,” he says from Los Angeles. “It was really serious, but it was pretty funny. Same with Elmore Leonard. He’s a very funny guy. Everything I’ve done has walked the line between drama and comedy.”

The same could be said for “The Unicorn,” about a recently widowed father of two re-entering the dating scene. Much to his surprise, he becomes a sought-after single because he is a “unicorn,” an attractive working father in the dating world.

“We set out to tell something that is absurd and really funny and really heartfelt and earnest,” Goggins says. “That’s what I wanted more than anything.”

Goggins’ parents moved the family to Atlanta when he was only 1, but he spent a lot of time in Birmingham, visiting his aunt and uncle, who were active in Birmingham theater.

“I remember watching them on stage when I was 6 years old,” he recalls. “The room would go dark, and I saw my aunt and uncle walk on to the stage not as my aunt and uncle but as other people … As soon as they started speaking, I was just so taken with it. … I was just blown away by it, profoundly impacted by that experience. … That’s really where I got the bug. That’s where I was bitten or smitten with the possibility of telling stories.”

He got his first paying acting job in Georgia at age 16 (the movie “Murder in Mississippi”) and attended Georgia State University for a year before moving to Los Angeles.

“I got my first job a week after being there,” he said. That was a role in Billy Crystal’s “Mr. Saturday Night,” where he was cut from the movie but made the DVD.

Some struggling and smaller roles followed, until he landed “The Apostle” when he was 24, sharing the screen with Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall. “That really changed my life,” says Goggins, who later would produce and star in the Oscar-winning short film “The Accountant.”

What followed were his roles in “The Shield,” movies like “Django Unchained” and “Lincoln,” “Sons of Anarchy” and his Emmy-nominated turn as Boyd Crowder in “Justified.” “The Unicorn” came his way after he starred in the movie “The Hateful Eight” and the series “Vice Principals,” “Six” and “The Righteous Gemstones.”

In “The Unicorn,” Goggins is Wade Felton, who is trying to move on after losing his wife a year before. He’s raising two daughters on this own, reluctantly enters the dating world (via a dating app) and, to his and others’ surprise, finds he’s a hot commodity.

This is not entirely unfamiliar turf to Goggins.

“I am a widower,” he says. “I can’t talk about the actual events surrounding this very traumatic period in my life, but suffice it to say this story is very personal to me and I’ve been there. … I understand what it means to learn how to live again. I went through that fire, and I couldn’t have done it alone.”

He’s hoping others can do the same by watching “The Unicorn.”

“I hope we can really get this right, for people who have struggled, which is all of us – we’ve all experienced things in life that are difficult,” Goggins says. “But there is life on the other side of it. … This is a way to come together and laugh at the absurdity of everything we all go through when we’re faced with a difficult period in our life.”

Goggins remarried about 14 years ago, and he and his wife have one son, 8-year-old Augustus.

“It’s a full-time job being a real dad and pretending to be a dad to two other daughters,” he says with a laugh. Wade’s two adolescent daughters on “The Unicorn” are rooting him on in his quest toward happiness.

“What you’ll see very quickly is that this is a show about moving on, about community, living in the society in which we live in now,” Goggins adds. “An episode can take place over a month or over two yours. This is not a show about dating. It’s a show about learning how to live again.”

“The Unicorn” airs Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on CBS.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 hours ago

Alabama Power sends hundreds of linemen, support personnel to assist after Tropical Storm Isaias hammered East Coast

Tropical Storm Isaias hit the eastern coast of the United States hard this week, leaving millions of Americans without power while producing high winds, heavy rain and tornadoes.

In the wake of the storm’s wrath, Alabama Power Company on Wednesday morning sent 133 lineworkers and 94 support personnel to New Jersey to assist utility FirstEnergy in its storm response.

A release from the company outlined that Alabama Power upon arrival will support FirstEnergy subsidiary Jersey Central Power and Light, which serves 1.1 million customers in the central and northern parts of the Garden State.

In addition to directly supporting FirstEnergy, Alabama Power advised that it released more than 325 contract lineworkers to assist in storm restoration at various other utilities along the East Coast.

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“Our crews are prepped and ready to offer assistance in the restoration efforts following Tropical Storm Isaias,” stated Kristie Barton, Alabama Power Company’s power delivery services general manager.

“As soon as it is safe to do so, which includes observing all of our COVID-19 safe practices protocol, we’ll be working to restore power as quickly as possible,” she continued.

The company’s help was reportedly coordinated through the mutual assistance program of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, a trade association comprised of several member utilities.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

Ivey named to leadership of National Governors Association

The National Governors Association (NGA) on Wednesday announced its new executive committee for 2020-2021, with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) becoming chair of the association that represents the 55 leaders of all American states and territories.

Members of the executive committee were elected during the NGA summer meeting, which was held in a virtual format this year.

Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) was one of the governors elected to the nine-member executive committee.

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“I’m honored to have been elected to serve on the [NGA] Executive Committee for 2020-21,” Ivey said in a Wednesday tweet. “I look forward to working with my fellow governors to develop initiatives & policies to support our country now & in the future.”

The NGA recently highlighted Alabama’s workforce development efforts under the Ivey administration as a model for other states to emulate.

Ivey assumed the governor’s office on April 10, 2017. In November 2018, she was elected to her first full term as Alabama’s chief executive. That term will expire in January 2023. Ivey could seek reelection in 2022.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Mo Brooks: Democrats are banking on creating more moochers in 2020

The latest stimulus bill in Congress is tied up for many reasons, but a major sticking point appears to be the continuation of a $600 a week unemployment booster on top of what states already pay in benefits.

With the current impasse, there is currently no bonus to be given to those who are unemployed.

This is creating a battle between those who want to keep the bonus payment going for the foreseeable future and those who believe that the high payment is keeping people from vigorously re-entering the job market.

The stalemate in Washington, D.C. will eventually break. Some form of sweetener will be included, and the battle for stimulus will move on to the next bill.

U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) views this battle as part of the larger ideological battle in the United States.

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Brooks appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” on Wednesday and referred to the Democratic Party as “the moocher party.” He said he believes this disconnect all started in the 1960s when Democrats embraced the idea of the “Great Society.”

Brooks opined, “Democrats have discovered that’s a huge voting block that they get in elections, so one way to win an election is to turn more independent, self-reliant voters into moochers.”

The congressman from Huntsville believes this is nothing new and noted how political it all is.

“Democrats perceive that that’s going to help them tremendously in the 2020 elections just a few months from now,” he advised.

My takeaway:

Brooks, of course, is right.

The argument from the media and their Democrats is always going to be some version of: “We want to give you [this] and they don’t because they want you to die.”

Free healthcare, free childcare, free college education, and it never stops.

Stopping any of this is the equivalent of kicking a baby in the face and taking its food.

Democrats have bought into this idea for years, and in the time of rampant unemployment and a pandemic, they will kick their grievance politics into full gear to gain new power.

The House, Senate and presidency are at risk this year. Republicans can give in and extend the $600 unemployment benefit (they will), and Democrats will just move to the next free item.

In 2020, this strategy might work.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

9 hours ago

Dollar General opens 450,000 square foot distribution center in Montgomery

Budget shopping chain Dollar General on Wednesday announced the opening of its large, new cold storage distribution center in Montgomery.

The 450,000 square foot facility is the product of a $26 million investment for the company and will support around 65 new jobs in the River Region.

The Montgomery facility is cold storage, meaning it is designed to store goods that must be kept chilled like milk and deli products.

“Welcome to Montgomery Dollar General, thank you for investing in our state and in our people,” said Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday during a digital event celebrating the facility being opened.

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“We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous support from both state and local officials who helped make this project happen,” remarked Rod West, Dollar General’s vice president of perishables growth and development.

The low-cost retailer opened its first store in Alabama in 1965 and now has around 800 retail locations in the Yellowhammer State.

“Dollar General is a trusted company with a long history in Alabama,” said Elton Dean, Montgomery County Commission chairman, in a statement on Monday.

“The River Region has a lot to offer, and we are thrilled that this esteemed organization, that does business across the country, recognizes that,” Dean added.

Dollar General also has a traditional distribution center in Bessemer and claims to employ approximately 8,100 Alabamians in total.

Montgomery’s new distribution center is located on Mobile Highway, around 15 minutes southwest of downtown.

“We welcome Dollar General and look forward to years of partnership and progress to come,” commented Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed on Wednesday,

The company says it will support around 1,500 stores in surrounding areas and help spur the “DG Fresh” initiative “which is a strategic multi-phased shift to self-distribution of frozen and refrigerated goods such as dairy, deli and frozen products” according to a release.

“We are confident that Dollar General recognized our strong workforce and business-friendly environment when choosing a location for this facility. We are excited to welcome Dollar General and countless companies to come, to grow in Montgomery,” concluded Arthur DuCote, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce chairman.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

9 hours ago

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate

The Alabama Forestry Association (AFA) on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville in the Yellowhammer State’s 2020 U.S. Senate race.

Tuberville, after defeating former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in last month’s GOP primary runoff, is set to face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November’s general election. The AFA had endorsed Sessions in the runoff contest.

In a statement, AFA executive vice president Chris Isaacson said, “We are proud to endorse Tommy Tuberville in the United States Senate race. He is a conservative with an impressive list of accomplishments, and we know that he will continue that record in his role as U.S. Senator.”

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“Tommy knows that decisions made in Washington impact families and businesses and will be an effective voice for the people of Alabama,” he concluded.

This comes as another major endorsement for Tuberville from the agribusiness community. The Alabama Farmers Federation endorsed the former Auburn University football coach last year and has been credited as being integral along his path to securing the Republican nomination.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association. The AFA is an excellent organization that stands for pro-business policies. Protecting Alabama industry is a key to our state’s success,” Tuberville stated.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn