John Goodman Talks Weight Loss, Twitter Issues, and How a Stunt Sent Him to Hospital

Season 2 of The Righteous Gemstones proved more dangerous for John Goodman than he could have anticipated.

The legendary actor returns as Dr. Eli Gemstone, the patriarch of the pop-Christian Gemstone family in the second season of the HBO Max show. His onscreen children Danny McBride (also the creator), Edi Patterson and Adam DeVine are all back too.

Straight from the off, a lot was asked of 69-year-old Goodman as a stunt-gone-wrong filmed for the first episode, landed him in hospital. TV icon Goodman spoke to Newsweek about his incredible weight loss, remaining healthy as he approaches his 70th birthday, and how an incident on the set of The Righteous Gemstones Season 2 ended with a trip to the emergency room.

Parking lot brawl concussion

Season 2 of The Righteous Gemstones was supposed to be back a lot sooner than now but, like many projects, production was delayed by the pandemic.

The cast returned to shoot the new season in March 2020 but production was shut down after just two days. Instead, they finally finished shooting over a year later in 2021.

Goodman assured Newsweek the show wouldn't lose its spark, but he hopes the delay in shooting won't affect viewership. "It's not the spark I was worried about," he said, "It's the momentum or the audience base, but they can always catch up a week before now if they're so inclined, I think it'll stand up on its own just as well."

The Righteous Gemstones Season 2 John Goodman
John Goodman returns as Dr. Eli Gemstone in the new season of "The Righteous Gemstones." Season 2 begins on HBO on Sunday January 9. Ryan Green/HBO

The show returns in style as Dr. Eli Gemstones' past is explored with surprising revelations. Some of his violent tendencies reemerge in Episode 1 as he gets involved in a bar parking lot brawl, which unfortunately concluded with Goodman ending up in hospital.

"We were quite a few takes in with the fight, and it was maybe 1:30-2:00 in the morning. I'm 69 years old so I lost my footing.

"The choreography was safe, everything was safe but I lost my footing and slammed headfirst into the rear of a truck and got, as they say, my bell rung." Goodman said.

Luckily, the accident wasn't severe and he appeared to make a full recovery. "We had it all anyway, so to be safe I went to a hospital and got a concussion protocol to follow and some pictures taken of my head to make sure it was okay." Goodman hopes, like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, they at least used the take of his real injury as part of the scene in the show.

Maintaining his fitness

Over the last decade Goodman has been turning heads, not only for his performances onscreen, but also for his incredible weight loss. While he was in his fifties, he made a vow to live life better and shed dozens of pounds, drastically changing his appearance.

"I'd rather be healthy and laughed at than overweight and laughed at," Goodman told Newsweek. "Plus, I heard someone say that you can be old, or you can be fat, but being old and fat doesn't really work very well."

Goodman knows there is something of an active interest in his weight loss, and admits he knew there would be once he started losing it. He's managed to maintain his new frame in recent years, despite not being as active as he previously had been. "I haven't exercised for a couple of years. It's just, it's hard to start when you're working all the time and you worry about how it's gonna interfere with your work."

Goodman shows no signs of slowing down professionally at 69-years-old, with four TV shows on the go in the last year (The Righteous Gemstones, The Connors, The Freak Brothers and Monsters at Work).

John Goodman weight loss
John Goodman has reportedly lost over 100 lbs to change his physical appearance. Here he is pictured in July 2004 (left) and again in December 2021 (right) Getty Images

He admits he would like to find time to exercise again though. "I miss the energy that I get," he said. "So perhaps I'll start again shortly. I've been out of the habit of doing it for about a year.

"I was boxing for a while and I really enjoyed that but I've got to find another place. It's hard to find something like that when you're on the road. So I, you know, I've got to do it myself for myself." He continued, "Perhaps I'll run again, when I was a runner, I really felt great."

Whilst he's one of most recognizable men in film and television, Goodman is content to remain anonymous on the internet, and shuns the option to become a celebrity on social media. While he has accounts for personal use to keep up with old school friends, he doesn't like platforms like Twitter because of what they've become.

"It just got mean very quickly, and I didn't want anything to do with it. Unless we learn how to deal with it better or accept things better... it's coarsened." Goodman continued, "When you can say something anonymously, and there are no repercussions, and I think that's showing up now, in what used to be civilization."

He added, "I just don't care for it [social media]. It'd be nice if there were Dorothy Parker, or Noel Coward clips you could read every day, and I'm sure there are somewhere, but it never ends up like that. It all ends up with genitalia on the screen."

Continuing The Righteous Gemstones

Creator of The Righteous Gemstones, McBride told Newsweek he writes seasons of his show as if they could be the last, but he wants to continue making this show for as long as he can. It seems Goodman is on board with the plan too, and is eager to continue as Dr. Eli Gemstone.

"I've got nothing else to do," he joked, "And if I'm gonna loiter on a set for five years, I think these are the finest people to loiter with."

The Righteous Gemstones cast
Adam Devine, John Goodman, Edi Patterson, Danny McBride (creator) all play the core members of the Gemstone family in the HBO comedy "The Righteous Gemstones." Ryan Green/HBO

Goodman was raised in the Southern Baptist Church surrounded by "yelling and guilt" which he admits was great inspiration for him to draw on for his role in The Righteous Gemstones. "I enjoy when I get to preach," He admitted. "There's just something about it, it's like doing a musical number.

"You're on a solo, you've got somewhere to go and it's a lot of fun to see how far I can take things."

The Righteous Gemstones returns to HBO on Sunday January 9 with two new episodes. Episode 1, "I speak in the Tongues of Men and Angels" starts at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT while Episode 2, "After I Leave, Savage Wolves Will Come" follows afterwards at 10:55 p.m. ET/PT. Each episode will be available to watch on HBO Max after they've aired on HBO.

This article was updated on 01/05/2022 at 08:00 ET to change the Season 2 original production date.