Anybody of a sure age who loved watching The Waltons throughout its unique run within the Nineteen Seventies is happy to see the present return in the same type on The CW. They’re additionally thrilled that Richard Thomas, the unique John-Boy Walton, is alongside for the journey.
In anticipation of A Waltons’ Thanksgiving, premiering on Sunday, November 20, on The CW, we spoke with Thomas about his profession and returning to the position that made him a family title.
Good. Thanks a lot for speaking with me as we speak.
Oh, it is my pleasure.
I’ve to let you know, in fact, as so many different individuals have stated, I grew up watching you, so speaking to you now and particularly about this new model of the Waltons is admittedly particular.
Oh, thanks. Thanks. I respect that. I like it when individuals discuss having watched the present years again. It makes me joyful.
So it was an unlimited hit throughout its preliminary run and thru a spate of flicks, however you were not all the time John Boy Walton. You have been taken over by any person else while you shed the character for a time for a extremely profitable profession.
So what does it imply to type of come again full circle with the character returning as a narrator that we all the time imagined you to be?
Effectively, it has been such an enormous a part of my life, clearly. And although it appears like I am coming again, there may be a part of me that appears like I by no means left. The unique forged members, we have all stayed in contact through the years, and we’re very shut.
And in order that household has remained comparatively intact over time. And so there’s all the time been a sense of connection. However once they bought in contact with me to ask me to introduce and narrate these new specials, I used to be significantly thrilled as a result of I cherished the connection and was very joyful to be invited again to the household.
However the narration is especially particular for me as a result of Earl Hamer’s narration was completely simply inevitable and ideal for all these years. The standard of his voice, the lyricism of his writing, and the musicality of his voice, which simply went collectively so completely.
However on the very starting, there was part of me that was like, ‘I am taking part in John-Boy; I need to do the narration. I like these narrations. I am sorry that I can not get to do them.’
So 50 years later, once I now really am the older John-Boy, if not really the outdated John-Boy, which I’m as properly. It is nice to lastly, in spite of everything, have the ability to fill in that lacking piece of the John-Boy puzzle and be the narrator.
I cherished it. And it is stored me near the fabric, and I like being a part of the brand new household, and it is simply nice.
I assume all good issues come to those that wait.
Effectively, typically they do.
I do know that every time The Waltons Homecoming got here out, you had talked about that you simply hoped it could be successful and that it nonetheless resonated with viewers and had an unimaginable reception. What was your tackle that? And now right here we’re again for a second film.
Effectively, clearly, I used to be extremely gratified that it was obtained so properly. It made me really feel good, not just for the present, but it surely made me be ok with the viewing public, that there’s nonetheless a market and an viewers for a narrative like this.
It was very heartening for me, and I can not say I used to be shocked, however I have been on this enterprise so lengthy that I do know by no means to make an absolute prediction. Issues change, and the currents change; what individuals need to see and what they’re used to seeing all shifts. And so issues typically seem to remain the identical, however they seem to alter.
However on this case, there’s an important factor that stayed the identical, which is, I feel, the will for individuals to discover a protected haven for a sure type of programming, even within the midst of loads of turmoil and different tendencies.
This was the case when the primary present was on the air when the nation was going by means of nice upheaval, and there was loads of [division], and there was loads of animosity, there was loads of alienation, and the Waltons definitely did not cease that. It would not have that type of energy.
However it definitely gave individuals a center floor, a spot to return collectively, and a spot the place they may come and have just a little little bit of therapeutic about human nature and about how our interdependence with each other. And so I used to be joyful to see that that occurred once more.
And The Walton’s Homecoming film was lacking a personality, so it did not fairly resemble the household that I grew up with. However Walton’s Thanksgiving takes that additional.
I am not going to enter particulars, but it surely exhibits that the Walton’s remains to be a dwelling and respiratory idea and that sharing the uplifting message of kindness and love with a completely new spin says lots in regards to the unique idea.
What’s it been like seeing this household and evaluating it to the household that you simply have been part of?
Effectively, I have never actually been evaluating. As an example, in numerous firms of a play or when a film will get remade or one thing, each new set of performers illuminates totally different points of the fabric. So this new mixture of fantastic of us because the Waltons goes to deliver a complete new vitality and a complete new method of taking a look at that household.
However the first a part of your query actually me in that it is completely nice to take a basic piece after which change it and work on it and make your personal model of it.
If the brand new Waltons had been a kind of slavish copy of the unique, then it could be lifeless within the water. It might not be talking to us at our time. And I feel it is a tribute to the basic power and high quality of the unique idea that it could really deal with variations on the theme and nonetheless have the impact that it has.
I encourage the brand new Waltons to search out variations and new methods to inform the story and to deliver it ahead thematically into the time we reside in now. I feel these variations on the theme are essential. In any other case, you are simply doing copy work, which isn’t going to be satisfying for anyone, together with the viewers.
Precisely. Precisely. You realize, you may have 122 credit in your IMDB web page, and my guess might be extra.
Yeah, my actor’s fairness card goes to be 65 years outdated subsequent yr.
And that is superb to me. You have had so many terrific roles after taking part in John-Boy Walton, which was nearly a career-defining second at such a younger age.
Oh, it was completely career-defining second.
Like Frank Gaad on The People and, recently, Nathan Davis on Ozark. Actually nice characters. Was there ever a time while you fearful that you wouldn’t have the ability to escape John-Boy Walton?
I by no means actually fearful about it. Every so often, there are frustrations as a result of every time you may have a fantastic success of that magnitude in a single specific position, whether or not it is in a film, a tv collection, or no matter, you’re instantly going to be related to it. And you are going to get supplied issues which can be the identical, and you are not going to get supplied issues which can be totally different.
I imply, there is a interval of adjustment and transition, which may be irritating. And I feel that is true for all actors who’re shifting from an enormously identifiable position into new territory. It was definitely the case for me, however I by no means actually fearful in the long term about it. I’ve to play the lengthy recreation with this stuff.
It’s a must to attempt to make choices with what you do which can be, you need to do issues which can be related in the event that they’re good, however you need to make each alternative to do one thing totally different.
I used to be all the time very fortunate that the theater was all the time in my life as a result of one is not essentially topic to the identical sorts of typecasting right here. And in order that all the time stored that flame alive. And I simply figured it was going to take years to stability the scales. And it did.
You simply must go one job at a time. And, like I say, simply play the lengthy recreation. And likewise, you need to ensure that you do not seize all of the elements simply because they’re like what you have already performed, and so they could be profitable. It’s a must to be prepared to show a number of of these down.
It’s a must to be prepared to lose a number of the place individuals cannot see previous your most up-to-date success. That is okay. It is all a part of the sport. All of us undergo it if we’re fortunate sufficient to be within the recreation lengthy sufficient. I’ve simply been a extremely fortunate actor.
And likewise, I had been an actor for a very long time earlier than I did the Waltons. And although that was definitely an unlimited, career-defining second, as you say, it was a success of a distinct diploma of magnitude. I knew that I used to be an actor, and I knew I used to be all the time going to be one, and I knew that I used to be simply going to maintain working.
Do you may have a favourite position that you simply performed or maybe a time period by which you felt that your profession was simply precisely the way you wished it to be?
Effectively, I do not actually select favorites. I imply, the Waltons would all the time must be up there on the high due to how good it was and the way a lot it did for me and what a pleasure it was to work with all these of us. So it could all the time must be up there.
However I have been actually fortunate. I’ve gotten an opportunity to play loads of nice elements in entrance of the digital camera and on stage, and I am probably not good at choosing favorites. However I must say that for an outdated man like me proper now, I could not think about being in a extra satisfying spot as an actor.
This nice alternative to revisit the best hit of my profession with the brand new Waltons, the chance to be touring across the nation on this nice manufacturing in To Kill A Mockingbird taking part in such a fantastic half as Atticus.
And having achieved roles not too long ago, very age-appropriate roles in Ozark and the People and within the Netflix image I did with Sandra Bullock and all that, I could not consider a greater place to be proper now than the place I’m.
I am deeply joyful and gratified that after such a protracted and fortunate street, I’ve a lot selection and a possibility to work, and to do the issues I like.
And beginning as a younger boy on this enterprise, working steadily ever since, I might say you are simply as well-known now as you have been then. What recommendation would you give to these following in your footsteps?
Oh, properly, see, the factor about our enterprise is you may’t observe in anyone’s footsteps as a result of all people’s footsteps are totally different. That is the factor about being an actor. It’s fully about who you’re and what makes you who you’re in relation to different individuals in relation to the digital camera or the stage, and your work.
So there are paths that look related, but it surely’s actually uncharted territory for everyone else. I simply assume that when you’re fortunate sufficient to do properly, you need to keep a way of perspective.
It’s a must to take a look at it at the beginning, above anything. You simply have to take a look at it as work. And that is to not diminish it; it is simply that it is a job. It is work like anyone else’s work.
And if it is work you’re keen on and work you are joyful doing, then you definately’re one of many fortunate ones. I used to be raised by ballet dancers who had a robust sense of self-discipline. They have been very grounded. It was all the time the household enterprise actually to be a performer. So I’ve all the time checked out it as simply my work as part of my life,
And if issues should not going properly, then you need to study how lengthy am I prepared to attempt to maintain opening a door that is not opening? And possibly there’s one thing else in my life that may be a higher path for me.
However it’s like individuals have requested me, “Effectively, did you give Logan recommendation about John-Boy?” No, I do not give Logan recommendation. He is a terrific actor who’s bought his personal method of taking part in. And it could be horrible to presume to present recommendation to anyone really until they ask for it particularly.
And my final query for you is, what message would you prefer to share with individuals for this Thanksgiving vacation?
Oh, there’s all the time room for gratitude. And I feel there must be greater than room for gratitude. I feel gratitude must be one of many founding practices in our lives. I feel that it is simple to be grateful when issues are nice. It is tougher to be grateful when issues are difficult.
Proper now, there are loads of issues which can be difficult for lots of people. So I feel it is actually vital to take a look at areas in our lives the place we may be grateful. As a result of if we really feel grateful and we really feel stuffed up, it is simpler for us to be sort, for us to be sort to others.
If we discover elements of our life that make us really feel fulfilled that we are able to be thankful for, it is simply that a lot simpler to achieve out to different individuals and assist them.
A Waltons’ Thanksgiving premieres on Sunday, November 20, at 8/7c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a employees author and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Alternative Affiliation, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of tv and movie with anybody who will pay attention. Comply with her on Twitter and e mail her right here at TV Fanatic.
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