Wednesday, October 1, 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

 
Middle school students put school candidates on the hot seat

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Pact with union wins Vacaville council OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Suisun City candidates get lively in 2nd council forum

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano focuses on rail safety

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Juveniles hit by vehicle have minor injuries

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Booz and Brewz benefit for the Blue Star Moms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Blessing of the animals slated Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

DUI-drivers license checkpoint nets arrests

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Travis airman killed in motorcycle accident

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Salvation Army gears up for annual Red Kettle campaign

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Theaters primed for bevy of new movies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

American Legion seeks Korean War veterans for award

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Third Annual Ride to Defeat Diabetes is Sunday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

4-H Achievement Night honors county members

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

$26,227 payment to maintenance man challenged

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A10

 
FBI announces reward for Vacaville bank robber

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Forest areas reopen after huge fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hong Kong leader refuses to meet with protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Secret Service chief on hot seat for WH breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Afghan pact signed amid questions on Iraq pullout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Luck, instinct determined fates of volcano hikers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Government confirms first case of Ebola in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Mayor of suburban Los Angeles city killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Crash, suspicious device lead to 101 closure in LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Gov. Brown governor vetoes ethics bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Police on manhunt find pipe bombs in woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Oklahoma man charged with murder in beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Bay Area looks to expand overnight transit options

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

A speedy, kitchen sink approach to pumpkin bread

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
The flavor of fall – pumpkin pie in a cinnamon bun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

One simple slicing trick to bake a beautiful tart

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Morgan: ‘Can’t believe’ Walmart blaming him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Royals beat A’s 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Rodriguez volleyball team downs Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Pirates’ Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders make Tony Sparano interim coach after firing Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NC State coach apologizes for fake injury remarks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL says Abdullah should not have been penalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL has laundry list of verboten celebrations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Government: NFL TV ‘blackout’ rule unsportsmanlike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Olympian Michael Phelps apologizes for DUI arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gravely injured Giants fan sues Dodgers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex 49ers RB James agrees to terms with Dolphins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FCC will consider petition to ban ‘Redskins’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Training camp essential for NBA’s new head coaches like Warriors’ Kerr

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No. 14 Stanford trying to jolt stagnant offense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Wilhoite filling the injury void at linebacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Could a merger follow the PayPal-eBay split?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
EU says Apple gets illegal tax benefits in Ireland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

John ‘Bo’ M. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
David Earl Butenhoff-Forristall

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Marte Abad Lubag

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Clara May Clift Triplett

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2014

Breast cancer in younger women

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA2

Talking with your doctor

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA3

Breast cancer myths

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA4

Diet linked to cancer

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA9

Giving emotional support

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA10

After the treatment

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA12

Join the fight: Get involved

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA15