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Walton Goggins talks new mockumentary John Bronco - Exclusive

The new movie John Bronco tells the story of the titular pitchman for the Ford Bronco. It goes over his early life, how he got involved with Ford at just the right time, his massively influential career, and his mysterious disappearance. Walton Goggins portrays John Bronco — a role he was particularly suited for, as he seems to be one of the few men in contact with the legend himself. Goggins told Looper about the experience in an exclusive interview.

Goggins himself isn't much of a Car Guy. His father is — the man has a '57 Chevy and has restored a few cars — but Walton says, "I've never had that gene. I get a car and it's more than just traveling from point A to point B." He's had two cars over 21 years and it's about comfort. "I get something. I name it. And I stick with it. That's just how I am." (For the record, his current car is a Silver BMW 5 Series station wagon, which his son christened "The Millennium Falcon.") At the same time, he loves the freedom cars offer. He drove cross-country from Georgia to the west coast when he was 19, an experience he remembers as life-changing. The Ford Bronco, arguably the first hybrid, represented that further, so it was only natural he'd get drawn to the part of an iconic pitchman.

A big part of making the movie was working with the Ford company. Goggins makes it clear that "this is not a commercial," but a story about the greatest pitchman of all time. As such, the filmmakers didn't quite know what to expect when dealing with Ford's entertainment division — but were beyond pleased with the outcome. "They were so unbelievably supportive of this story and the telling of this story and were really hands off." They were present for the entire production — which constituted four or five days — and just watched. "I was probably more conscious of their reaction than they were of mine," Goggins says.

Burt Reynolds, Ford, and John Bronco

It's hard to watch John Bronco's effortless pitchman cool and not be reminded of the Marlboro Man or Burt Reynolds. This is intentional, and a high compliment. Goggins explains that those two "were friends of his and they were his two role models." Goggins in particular is a huge fan of Reynolds, who he calls "ground zero for cool." He speaks from experience, too — Goggins met Reynolds after getting the legend a cameo role in the 2007 comedy Randy and the Mob.

Doing a documentary was also a different experience for Goggins. He notes that he didn't have as much "latitude" as he'd have in a conventional movie, since he was telling someone else's story. "You don't have the freedom to just improvise or create something as you go along." It took some doing for him to "get [John Bronco's] cadence and his walk and to become in some ways the epitome of cool. I'm not cool. Me, I'm not a very cool guy. I'm an honest guy. I can be funny. But more often than not, I'm kind of serious. And John is not that. He has the capacity to be serious, but he's a pretty funny guy."

When asked what John Bronco himself would want people to know about the movie, Goggins says that Bronco is likely "happy that his story is finally getting out" after stepping away from the limelight for so long. As the actor explains, John Bronco is still coming to grips with his impact, wondering, "Did that really happen to me? And did I make a difference? Did I help usher in this new era of people talking about cars? Was I a part of that?" The movie is "a real validation" of his life choices, one that helps him reconcile all the decisions he made to get here.

John Bronco premieres on Hulu on Wednesday, October 15th.