While “Fargo” Chapter 3 will blow “kisses” to past installments, expect a totally new story when Noah Hawley’s Coen-inspired series returns in April.
Stars Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, David Thewlis and Michael Stuhlbarg have only been shooting the third installment of FX’s Emmy-winning limited series for a week, but they, along with executive producer Warren Littlefield, still took the time to come by the TCA Winter Press Tour and reveal a little bit of information about what we can expect from this newest iteration.
Set in 2010, the show promises to take on issues like social media in the modern world, as Littlefield explained. (Hawley was scheduled to appear on the panel, but bowed out due to illness.) “Carrie has a scene where she’s on a plane and she looks around and everyone has their heads down,” he said. “No one’s talking, no one’s communicating. Noah’s going to have fun embracing the world as it is almost today.”
Littlefield confirmed to IndieWire that directors signed on for Year 3 include John Cameron, Dearbhla Walsh, Mike Parker, Keith Gordon and Michael Uppendahl, with Hawley himself directing the first episode.
Of the cast, only Thewlis had seen the previous seasons before getting approached to appear in Year 3 — Coon in fact stated that she was one of many who first heard that “Fargo” was being adapted and thought it was a terrible idea. (She came around on it, of course.) She compared her character, Sheriff Gloria Burgle, to Frances McDormand’s iconic role in the original “Fargo” film, though in the series, recently divorced single mom Gloria’s personal life is “kind of eroding.”
Gloria still represents decency and ethics within the world of the show — “Don’t we need that more than ever?” Coon added — though “How successful she is is what the show is asking this season.”
Coon said that the show’s depiction of Midwesterners felt very familiar to her, as someone from an equally rural area. “I recognize my people in it — my people are not fully expressed, they’re people who are not good at expressing their emotions. But they are good at handling the unexpected,” she said.
Without much to go on in terms of plot, journalists made much of the show’s character names, which Coon described as “writerly.” For example, McGregor plays twins Emmit and Ray Stussy, while Stuhlbarg plays a man named “Sy Feltz.”
As Winstead laughed, regarding her own moniker, “‘Nikki Swango’ says it all — I had no questions after that.”
McGregor did note, though, that some of the names were very tough to pronounce, like “Ehrmantraut.” In fact, he didn’t didn’t make light of how tricky the specific accent demanded by the series’ Minnesota location can be. “I wish I was coming at it from an American accent and not a Scottish accent,” he said.
Not only that, but because he’s playing two different roles, there’s the issue of finding two different character voices within that accent. Fortunately, he had some past experience with playing dual roles, after playing a clone and his original in Michael Bay’s “The Island” and Jesus and the Devil in Rodrigo García’s “Last Days in the Desert.”
“Some of my great heroes, like Alec Guinness, are known for playing multiple roles,” he said, before adding (inevitably), “I’m very good at playing with myself.”
McGregor expressed his general excitement for getting involved with the show, saying that what he looked forward to was “less time in my trailer.” In fact, Littlefield revealed that McGregor even showed up on the first day of shooting (a particularly cold and miserable Calgary day) despite not being needed.
“I didn’t want it to start without me!” McGregor said with a laugh, before admitting that also, “The dialogue coach was there, and I really needed to work with him.”
“Fargo” Year 3 is tentatively set to premiere this April.