Friday, July 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Aw, geez, ‘Fargo’ is on TV with Billy Bob Thornton

TV Fargo

This image released by FX shows Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson, left, and Shawn Doyle as Vern Thurman in a scene from "Fargo." The 10-episode season premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT on FX. (AP Photo/FX, Chris Large)

By
From page B1 | April 18, 2014 |

NEW YORK — After failed attempts and broken dreams, by golly, someone went and put “Fargo” on series TV.

The 10-episode season, which premiered at 10 p.m. Tuesday on FX, mesmerizes. As a furtherance of the 1996 crime classic by Joel and Ethan Coen that starred Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, the TV adaptation is a wonder.

Like that movie, the series is set in rural, snow-glazed Minnesota, but 20 years later (in 2006), and is stocked with new characters, deadly mischief and a bounty of stars including Allison Tolman as a bright-eyed deputy and Martin Freeman as a nebbishy insurance salesman (distant echoes of the roles played by McDormand and Macy in the film). Also on hand are Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, Keith Carradine, Adam Goldberg, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, and more.

At the core of its deliciously deranged narrative is Lorne Malvo, a sotto-voce psycho whose mysterious path brings him to the town of Bemidji, with many repercussions.

Lorne is played by Billy Bob Thornton, who radiates still menace while sporting what he calls “a haircut gone wrong.”

“This was not from a salon,” Thornton explains. “It was done by a friend. But looking in the mirror, I thought, ‘Wow — this dark character having bangs, which you associate with innocence, would be great.’ So we decided to go with it.”

The man bringing “Fargo” back to life after ill-fated tries by NBC and CBS in the late 1990s is Noah Hawley, who serves as the show runner, an executive producer and the writer of all 10 episodes.

Somehow Hawley internalized the rules and deadpan tone of the Coens (who are also onboard as executive producers), then ran with their sense of twisted realism to create his own thing.

“He captured the Coen Brothers’ spirit, got their vibe, and yet he didn’t imitate ‘em,” says Thornton. “I thought, if you’ve done that, you’ve done something great.”

And when he encountered Lorne Malvo in Hawley’s pilot script, “I don’t know why, but I just went, ‘Yeah. That fits: a hand in a glove.’

“I liked the idea of playing a guy who has no conscience,” Thornton goes on. “He has this weird sense of humor. He likes to mess with people. And as we went along I started thinking, he’s a loner, so messing with people is actually his social life, his recreation.”

This is a guy who, when threatened on his home turf by a thug twice his size, unconcernedly steps to his bathroom, drops his trousers and takes a seat. His foe, appalled, beats a hasty retreat.

“He doesn’t like weakness,” Thornton adds. “He has this weird curiosity about weak people. And he sees them as people he can use.”

Having drawn Freeman’s jammed-up pipsqueak into his lair, Lorne shares his code on being tough: “We used to be gorillas. All we have is what we can take and defend.”

Speaking with a reporter in New York last week, the 58-year-old Thornton is jauntily clad in pants with broad black-and-navy stripes, T-shirt, leather jacket, boots and knit fingerless gloves.

He is friendly, easygoing and charismatic with his soft Southern accent – like his character, a force to be reckoned with.

“The most important thing for an actor to know is who he is,” Thornton says. “He’s got to know, ‘OK, I’m the guy for this role – or not.’ Like I always tell people, ‘If you’re doing a movie about Charles de Gaulle, get a French man. That ain’t me.’

“People will say, ‘Well, you need to stretch yourself as an actor.’ But if you start trying to play people who are inherently not you, that’s not going to be your strongest stuff.”

No one can say Thornton hasn’t stretched. He has scored in popcorn comedies like “Bad Santa” and “Mr. Woodcock” between decidedly grown-up dramas: the Coen Brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” ”Monster’s Ball,” ”A Simple Plan” and, of course, “Sling Blade,” which he wrote, directed and starred in, winning an Oscar for best adapted screenplay and a best actor nod.

He arrived in Los Angeles as a young man from backwoods Arkansas, looking to write for Hollywood or form a rock band (music remains a lifelong passion).

This country boy with a hayseed triple name may have seemed like a long shot in Tinseltown, “but I’ve always believed in providence,” says Thornton. “Things were really hard at first, but I always had this belief that it was going to be OK.”

Then he found his way into an acting class.

“My desire was just to be a working actor,” he replies when asked the scope of his career goal. His ideals: the great character actors Strother Martin and Warren Oates.

“I thought I’d always be sixth or seventh on the call sheet. I never expected much more. So I thought I’d really made it on ‘Hearts Afire,’” the early ’90s political sitcom starring John Ritter with Thornton in a supporting role. “But years before, I thought I’d made it when I had just one scene on ‘Matlock’!

“It was all fine,” he sums up, “all along the way.”

Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at www.twitter.com/tvfrazier.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

The Leaven to open center in Parkway Gardens

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
CSP Solano inmates make music for rehabilitation

By Krissi Khokhobashvili | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Friday concerts begin Aug. 1 at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B3

 
Organizers seek riders, volunteers for Ride to Defeat Diabetes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Travis Dairy killer remains jailed after latest plea

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Bay Area’s air district issues Spare the Air alert

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Assembly candidate Henthorn to appear at GOP dinner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Police chase shuts down EB I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: July 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Daily Republic seeks good news for column

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A12, 22 Comments

.

US / World

Execution offers evidence against lethal injection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Judge argues for return of firing squad executions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

California removes lane splitting guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Outcry saves rare redwood from being chopped down

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Satellites show major groundwater loss from Colorado River

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Obama wants limits on US company mergers abroad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Toxic algae closes Oakland’s Lake Temescal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

SF professor charged with taping students in bathroom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California man gets 4 years in counterfeit case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California wine collector set for sentencing on fraud charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
House panel clears way for vote on Obama lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
House, Senate chairs offer competing bills on VA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Doctor fired back at gunman in hospital attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Social Security’s $300M IT project doesn’t work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

More US girls now getting cervical cancer vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Storm slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Islamic militants seize part of Syrian army base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraq elects new president as attacks kill dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ukrainian prime minister announces resignation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

 
Is parenting being criminalized in America?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

Coyote epidemic in Fairfield

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: July 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Review: Allen casts a limp spell in ‘Magic’

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Lucy’ won’t stretch your brain capacity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Robert Downey Jr. open to returning for ‘Iron Man 4’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to go wild with ‘Manimal’ movie

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

 
Kiss, Usher, J.Lo to perform at Fashion Rocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pop star Azalea talking fashion on MTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Jon Bon Jovi to be honored for humanitarian work

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Malkovich, Cumberbatch make Comic-Con premieres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar July 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Stonestreet: Acceptance will grow for gay athletes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Eagles soar past Expos in Area 1 tourney

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

 
Moss powers A’s past Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Indians win 14-8 over Mudcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7

 
Hudson solid, Hammels better in Giants’ loss to Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

49ers’ Smith plans to meet soon with Commissioner Goodell

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Manning getting used to new faces on Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Raiders CB Hayden to start camp on PUP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Nibali wins Stage 18, closes in on Tour victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Pucker up! NASCAR returns to Brickyard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Langer leads British Senior by 2 after 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Taiwan sweeps US in 1st day of International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
AP Source: NFL stadium sites explored in Toronto

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

A’s Johnson designated for assignment

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
2 Texas football players charged with sexual assault

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Cavs sign Wiggins, who can’t be traded for 30 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Suspended WR Blackmon arrested on drug complaint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, July 25, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Ravens RB Rice receives 2-game suspension from NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Lynch expected to hold out from Seahawks camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Putnam, Petrovic share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

AP source: Gordon to meet with league Aug. 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, July 25, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

This date in sports history for Friday, July 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Weather for July 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

.

Business

LR4 is updated for fuel efficiency

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Ford’s green push

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C2

Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US unemployment aid applications drop to 284,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Dunkin’ pushing cashiers to ‘upsell’ in afternoons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bombardier restructuring cuts 1,800 jobs globally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US new-home sales plummet in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Across US job market, layoffs are becoming rare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Mary Spingola Stagnaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Nelson Max Allen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

 
Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9