Now reprising his role on Roseanne—which premieres on ABC Tuesday, March 27—actor John Goodman talks about being broke, getting older, and hiding inside his home.
— Roseanne on ABC (@RoseanneOnABC) March 5, 2018
What advice would you give your younger self?
Breathe and relax. Enjoy it all.
How has your childhood affected you?
My father passed away when I was a baby, so my brother became that figure in a way. I looked up to him and he helped shape my sense of humor. We lived in poverty. You’re always afraid of being broke again. It’s a very irrational fear. You can never stop thinking about that other shoe dropping.
Do you have any advice on managing money?
Don’t invest in restaurants or bars—I’ve lost a lot.
What were your friends like growing up?
There was a lot of ball-busting. If you achieved too much, you’d get cut down by others.
Did you have any passions growing up?
I liked football. I wasn’t very good and was really slow, but I liked being part of a unit.
What role should religion play in a person’s life?
I’m very conflicted by it. I’ll be honest, there’s damage that it can do. I was raised Southern Baptist and felt like I was getting yelled at all that time. Spirituality has become more important than religion to me, and I certainly don’t have a handle or a track on that.
How should a person handle getting older?
Just accept it. Don’t pretend like it’s not happening. It doesn’t mean you have to flop on a rocking chair out on the porch. And take more care of your body—more than I did.
Do you have any scars that tell a story?
I have two scars from knee replacement surgeries. They’re a good reminder that I should keep my weight down.
You have been married for more than 30
years. What’s the secret to a long, happy marriage?
Mutual respect and listening.
How has being a father changed you?
There are people who depend on you now. You can’t be quite so selfish. You start thinking about time and the future more. I look at my daughter, who is 27 now, and still think of her as 6 years old.
How do you look back on your time on Roseanne?
We came out at a time when there was Dallas and Dynasty, all these romantic, rich-people shows. We were kind of a refreshing, broke, middle-class diversion. Roseanne would say that the only way to get through the hard times is family. That’s what the show was in a nutshell.
What was it like to revisit your character for the reboot?
Weird and wonderful. When I stepped onto the set, it was like no time had passed. It raised the hairs on my arm several times. I miss not going to work now. For a long time I couldn’t say that because I was so burned out.
What movie influenced you the most?
I can watch The Godfather again and again. The statement in it is just remarkable. It came out right when I started acting and got into all things Marlon Brando.
Do you have any heroes?
James Bond. And my brother.
While filming The Big Lebowski, did you have any idea it would become a cult hit?
No, but when we had a couple of weeks of rehearsal before shooting, actors would try to improvise, but I couldn’t top anything on the page. The film was a gift.
What movie or television show do people seem to quote at you most?
The Flintstones. I hear a lot of “Yabba dabba doo.”
What’s the worst part of success?
Fame. People can be quite nice, but sometimes they don’t even know my name. I’m either Tom Arnold or John Candy. There are guided tours that stop in front of my house and look through the windows. If I want to go outside, I have to wait. It makes me nervous.
Do you enjoy it at all?
I have to take it in small doses to appreciate it, but you can never be too complacent.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be left alone. The man on the TV show is good enough.