Friday, January 17, 2014

FX's Reimagined Fargo Series Features Sherlock's Martin Freeman as We've Never Seen Him

by Roth Cornet JANUARY 14, 2014

Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo.

FX's new limited series, Fargo, is set to premiere in April. The 10-part limited series from producers Noah Hawley, Warren Littlefield, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Geyer Kosinski exists in the same universe as the original film, but tells an entirely original story.

Stars Martin Freeman (Lester Nygaard), Billy Bob Thornton (Lorne Malvo), Allison Tolman (Molly Solverson), and Colin Hanks (Gus Grimly) were on hand at today's TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour along with Littlefield and Hawley, who serves as showrunner and is writing all ten episodes, to discuss their Fargo-inspired drama.

"The movie is about the tension between comedy and tragedy, so it’s 'cragedy,'" Hawley joked when asked about the tone. His Fargo will operate in a similar vein, though rather than following the events that lead up to a tragedy, it will trace the aftermath.

"You know, Joel and Ethan said something about polite society as often being the most violent," Hawley recalled. "I was really interested in this idea of taking a man like Lester Nygaard, Martin’s character, who is so squeezed by life, and, you know, pushing him to the point where he might snap."

Freeman's Nygaard, a mild-mannered salesman, is only briefly exposed to Thornton's Malvo, a mysterious drifter who Hawley says, "is someone who represents wilderness." Yet it only takes that momentary interaction for an "infection" to take place in Nygaard's heart, head, and soul. The series is in some ways about the fallout of that one - seemingly chance - encounter wherein Malvo opens a portal to all of Nygaard's pent up rage.

Though the show opens with a bang, Hawley assures that they're, "heading toward a collision, a big collision, at the end of the thing" as well.

Thornton feels that Malvo is, "a little bit God, a little bit the devil" and stressed that he's not afraid to "take on a character who starts at a ten." For his part, Freeman was drawn to the strength of the script and the opportunity to do something entirely different.

"It wasn’t the idea of making a Fargo spinoff at all," Freeman said. "Enjoy the movie as I do and enjoy the Coens as I do. It could have been a terrible Fargo spinoff. Do you know what I mean? It could have used that as an inspiration and I could have read the script and it’s awful. It has to stand on its own, and I felt it did."


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