‘Fargo’ and ‘The Leftovers’ Collide as Damon Lindelof Interviews Noah Hawley, Ewan McGregor and Carrie Coon

"The Leftovers" showrunner interviewed the "Fargo" producers and cast Thursday night, digging into Carrie Coon's technology issue and more.
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“Carrie, I’m not familiar with your work prior to ‘Fargo,'” Damon Lindelof said to Carrie Coon. “I’ve heard you’re an excellent actress.”

This, obviously, is a boldfaced lie. Back in 2014, Lindelof was one of the first people in Hollywood to notice Coon’s immense talent when he cast her in HBO’s drama, “The Leftovers.” But he wasn’t about to say as much while moderating a For Your Consideration panel for her other show, FX’s anthology series, “Fargo.”

And neither was “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley.

“When I first saw Carrie — in a movie,” Hawley said, pointedly, before adding, “Maybe another show…” The showrunner trailed off, allowing the audience to fill in the blank.

READ MORE: ‘Fargo’ Episode 4 Review: A New Ewan McGregor is Unveiled, As A Voice From the Past Tells a Fairy Tale for the Future

And they did! At that moment, “Leftovers” star Kevin Carroll stood up from his seat in the audience, took off his hat, and shouted: “You saw her in ‘The Leftovers’ goddamnit! Now tell us why the machines hate Carrie Coon!”

OK, OK. He didn’t really say that. He didn’t even stand up, even though Mr. Carroll was in attendance to show his support for his co-star. What actually happened was Lindelof, Hawley, and Coon sat next to each other for 45 minutes without ever mentioning her other role and the eerie luddite connection between “Fargo’s” Gloria Burgle and “The Leftovers'” Nora Durst.


Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Carrie Coon and Ewan McGregor'Fargo' TV show FYC event, Panel, Los Angeles, USA - 11 May 2017

Coon said she and Hawley largely had metaphorical conversations about her “Fargo” character, Gloria Burgle, before production began. She mentioned discussing “an electron that only exists when it runs into another electron” in relation to Gloria’s need for contact. “There’s this idea of her feeling invisible and needing to bump into other people, physically, to feel alive again,” Coon said.

Hawley was ready to offer more guidance, but Coon was all set.

“I called everyone in the week leading up to production to go through it,” Hawley said. “But I called Carrie and she just said, ‘No, I’m good. I know this person. This is my family. This is how we are.'”

READ MORE: Why Do Machines Hate Carrie Coon on ‘Fargo’ and ‘The Leftovers’?

“I might have said the same thing to this other showrunner I worked with…” Coon said.

“It’s funny you should mention the invisibility because obviously there’s this great running gag where Gloria seems to be invisible to various forms of technology, like door openers, soap dispensers, etc.,” Lindelof said. “Did that come out of that conversation?”

Carrie Coon, Ewan McGregor, Noah Hawley and Damon Lindelof'Fargo' TV show FYC event, Panel, Los Angeles, USA - 11 May 2017

“That was already there,” Hawley said. “Some of it was riffing off of the idea that ‘Minnesota Nice’ itself, in 2010, was at risk. ‘Minnesota Nice,’ as I’ve defined it, is this heightened sense of community and friendliness that sprung out of this small clot of people isolated in a frozen tundra. But now we live in this social media world, as you know, with the idea that we have 300 friends on Facebook–“

“Well, do we?” Lindelof said, citing he and Hawley’s chosen absence from the social media world.

“No, I don’t go on Facebook,” Hawley said. “But ‘we’ aren’t actually colliding with each other [through social media] so I thought that was interesting. She doesn’t do that stuff, and she feels very isolated.”

And this was as close as we came to answering the most daunting question of 2017: Why do machines hate Carrie Coon?

The sincerity and humor continued throughout the evening, as stars Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Olivia Sandoval, and, yes, Ms. Coon, joined producers Mr. Hawley, Warren Littlefield, and John Cameron on stage. McGregor claimed he wanted two Emmys for his dual roles as Ray and Emmit Stussey (he’ll be submitted as Lead Actor for both roles) and the catering staff brought out two cakes for Hawley and Littlefield as the cast and crowd sang “Happy Birthday.” (see above)

Of note: Damon Lindelof’s opening remarks deserve to be read, so we listed them below.

John Landgraf, a true genius when it comes to television and storytelling, coined the phrase ‘peak TV’ — and there’s just so much of it, which makes it all the more miraculous when a show doesn’t just poke its head through the door of the zeitgeist, but kicks it down and then finds a way to stay there, even when it’s off the air.

“Fargo” is extraordinary television. It is bold, reckless, and honest, and it is art. Most of all, it has inspired me and many writers that I know and respect. It has, without question, certainly elevated my own storytelling and made me a much better writer.

I love this show. I worship it, and, at times, I hate it because it makes me feel more inadequate than I usually do because it is groundbreaking and masterful. Maybe, just maybe, when John Landgraf was talking about peak TV, he was daring us to pack up the sherpas and set that peak because he knew we would find “Fargo” at the top.

“Fargo” airs new episodes every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX. “The Leftovers” airs new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO. Carrie Coon can be seen in both, despite what wasn’t said on the panel.

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