Movies

John Goodman, still lovable even when playing a 'pretty revolting guy'

Dec. 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM ET

"Inside Llewyn Davis" is the Coen brothers' latest movie, a film about a struggling 1960s-era folk singer. But in it, Coen brothers regular John Goodman doesn't make music — he makes trouble.

"A lot of us don't know his business," Goodman on Thursday explained to TODAY's Matt Lauer about his mysterious character (who gets a criminally small amount of screen time). "He's a junkie. As so many of us are. He's very unlikable, he's very angry at the world."

Goodman's mostly known for his comedy, and Turner certainly has his humorous touches, but the Coens often cast the "Roseanne" actor — who has appeared in six Coen films, one way or the other — in menacing roles (think "Raising Arizona"). And he'll come calling any time the writer/director pair wants him. "They had me at 'Hey, John?'" he said about getting the call on the film.

Or, as Lauer suggested, they had him at "Mad Man," which "is what Ethan (Coen) calls me," Goodman acknowledged.

When he's playing bad, Goodman is pretty darn good; Lauer referred to a quote that mentioned the actor's "indefinable aura" that makes him lovable even when he's playing "revolting people." 

"Which is about the nicest thing you can say about anybody, I think," said Lauer.

"That I'm a pretty revolting guy?" grinned Goodman. 

"No, when you're playing revolting people," explained Lauer.

"Sucker," said Goodman.

"Inside Llewyn Davis" opens in New York and Los Angeles theaters on Dec. 6.

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