Is 'Goliath' Based On A True Story? Stars Maria Bello & Molly Parker Weigh In
Amazon's new drama Goliath may follow ruthless lawyers at a major firm, but Goliath isn't a typical show about the law. Billy Bob Thornton stars as the charismatic yet washed-up trial attorney Billy McBride. He walks away from practicing law until a woman knocks on his door asking him to revisit an unclear case with a possible, intricate coverup years later. So is Goliath based on a true story?
Well, not so fast. Stars Mario Bello and Molly Parker confirm the fascinating story isn't actually based on a real event, but they see how it could be. And honestly, that's what's terrifying. In the case, two men were killed by an explosion on the ocean, and viewers learn the major company (represented by Billy's former team) involved have some hidden government ties which ultimately manipulated the outcome. Billy's passion for law is reignited as he realizes there are holes in the case. Thus, Goliath shines a light on the intersection of law, business, and government that the public doesn't normally see. In a modern rebirth of a classic man-against-monster tale, Thornton's character is a reincarnation of David, who's on a seemingly impossible quest to overcome the massive, indestructible Goliath.
As Bello and Parker point out, this is happening everyday in the current world, one run by major conglomerates and forces out of the public's control.
Bello sees a direct link between the show and real-life massive corporations causing destruction. "I look at what went on with our housing crisis and the banks and everything that happened and big business and how that’s all tied together with politics as well," she states. For her, specific businesses come to mind. "There’s that one percent who is running that top tier and representing these companies, like the Exxon moguls of the world and Monsanto, who have destroyed so much of the world and continue to."
Parker illuminates Bello's observations saying corporations are legally considered to have the same rights as humans, which is clearly a problem. "A lot of the show is about the mechanics of the law and how they’re manipulated by these big corporations or these powerful people, people with money," Parker explains. "Can one man stand up to this big monster? It’s a hero story. It’s not a law show, really," she says.
Bello admits she's become "obsessed" with Monsanto and "the destruction they’ve done and continue to do in our world." Yet, as audiences see in Goliath, there are firms representing such companies and people who clearly cause harm in the world. Why? Because it's their job. Both actors admit they could probably never be trial lawyers like their characters. That said, they ironically understand why real-life lawyers and firms can justify defending such toxic forces.
"Sometimes you take a client on and that’s your job, and your job is to fight of this client and you can turn a blind eye to some of the things they do because your job as a lawyer is to win your client’s case," Bello explains. Parker puts it bluntly, saying people who take on this sort of responsibility see things in black and white. "The woman that I’m playing feels like she’s doing her job," she says. "People get screwed over, that’s the way it is. I think that’s going on all the time."
Parker, Bello, and the show opened my eyes and certainly make me think about the amount of control I have over my own life — a thought as scary as it is relevant.
Goliath premieres October 14.
Images: Amazon (4)