John Goodman: Let the demons chase me now....

He made a name for himself playing Roseanne Barr's husband on TV. Nowadays, it's "easy does it" for John Goodman, who's enjoying the good life in New Orleans, where Michelle Miller tracked him down.

New Orleans, Louisiana - famous for music, food, and letting the good times roll.
It has also been home, for the last 20 years, to actor john Goodman, who's created more than a hundred characters - funnier, sadder, smarter and more graceful than you'd ever expect them to be.

"They're colorful, they're intense, and yet not - they're like these walking oxymorons," said Miller."

"Like human beings!" replied Goodman. "I think there's a lot of that in everybody. We're all like that."

Miller sat down with Goodman at Commander's Palace, a New Orleans landmark.

"It's globally recognized as one of the finest restaurants in the world, and it's only three blocks from my house," said Goodman. "It's family and it's down-home. I mean, you get okra and shrimp."

Goodman is getting plenty of Oscar buzz these days for his roles in two hit movies: "Argo," and "Flight," in which he plays Harling Mays, pilot Denzel Washington's drug dealer.

Why on Earth would you want to play him? asked Miller.

"It's a movie that I can relate to a lot," he said. "Denzel's character and I had a lot of the same problems that Harling does; you want to be everybody's buddy. And Harling looks like he stopped progressing around 1973."

Goodman himself stopped drinking five years ago. "If I don't pick up that first drink, I'm fine."

"Not chasing that demon?"

"Yeah, let the demons chase me, and they can knock all they want, I'm not home," Goodman laughed. "I'm learning the important things in life, which are petting my dogs, saying hi to my wife, looking at this beautiful city. Little things that I just missed or I just slept through for 30 years."

His wife Anna Beth Hartzog, a Louisiana native, is one of Goodman's reasons for moving to the Big Easy. Their 22-year-old daughter Molly is an aspiring filmmaker.

"She just does stuff that I'd be too lazy or not have the imagination to do," Goodman said.

"Sounds like you were a good father, though," Miller said.

"Well, the jury's still out on that. I could have been a lot better, let's put it that way. But the way things look now, I don't think I did too much damage."

John Goodman grew up in St. Louis, the son of a postal worker. His father died when he was two. His mother, Virginia Roos, worked lots of jobs to provide for her three children. "She did what she had to do to get by, and yeah, I miss her, I was glad I could do stuff for her toward the end of her life."

"I'm sure you did something for her every day of her life."

"She pretty much trolled the line at the grocery store going, 'You know who my son is?'" he laughed.

Perhaps it was those working class roots that made him a natural to play Dan Conner, Roseanne Barr's husband, on her hit TV show, one of the most-watched in the nation for nearly a decade.

"Roseanne always hit one thing on the head: She said, 'Just because we're poor doesn't make us stupid.' And we kind of lived by that rule."

"She told one of my colleagues she had a huge crush - in fact , I think she said she was in love with you," Miller said. "Is john Goodman blushing?"

"Yeah, I'm a cheap blusher!"

And a sought-after character actor, particularly by the Coen Brothers in their dark comedies, beginning with "Raising Arizona," then as an affable insurance salesman (a.k.a. serial killer Madman Mundt) in "Barton Fink."

"They started writing these characters specifically for me," Goodman said. "They seemed to see in me something I could bring to those characters. God only knows what it is. I don't want to know! Mostly I think it's just a fat guy who's really loud."

The loudest: Walter Sobchak in "The Big Lebowski."

But what is Goodman like? "I don't know, I'm finding out," he replied. "You know, in the five years that I've been off the booze and the other stuff, I'm starting to find out, and I'm kinda startin' to like me!"

Commander's Palace owner Ti Martin likes Goodman so much, she presented him with one of New Orleans' most coveted prizes: The key to the back door. And it works!

"This is unbelievable," Goodman said.


John Goodman being awesome as usual...