Fitz fans, brace yourselves: Tony Goldwyn, aka President Fitzgerald Grant on ABC’s hit drama Scandal, is taking on the role of another troubled, charismatic leader — but this one won’t be making anybody swoon. In the new Lifetime biopic Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs (airing Saturday at 8/7c), Goldwyn portrays the fundamentalist Mormon church head whose crimes against his own flock landed him in the headlines — and on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
TV Guide Magazine: Warren Jeffs is a polygamist, misogynist and rapist who’s currently serving life in prison for the sexual assault of minors. What made you want to play him?
Tony Goldwyn: It wasn’t on my bucket list — far from it. But it was a great script, and what interested me most was this study of how power can so completely destroy someone’s moral equilibrium.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you make any attempts to humanize him?
Goldwyn: We had no intention of making him likable — he does horrible things. But if I don’t try to humanize a character, then I haven’t done my job. What I really like is contrast. If I’m playing a good guy, I always try to find the darkness — Fitz is a deeply good-hearted man who does really bad things. When I play a bad guy, I go the other way with it and try to avoid the obvious twirling-the-moustache villain.
TV Guide Magazine: Any chance that Jeffs will watch the movie from behind bars?
Goldwyn: I hadn’t thought about that — that’s interesting. He just might, because if nothing else, he’s a pathological narcissist and megalomaniac — he still believes he is the existing prophet — so I think he might be very enraptured with the notion that a movie was made about him.