I spoke with Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman once again during a conference call on June 11, 2014 about their show, Fargo. I had participated in calls with each actor previously in the season and you can read the transcripts of my previous conversations with Tolman here, and Hanks here.
Based on the 1996 Coen Brothers’ film of the same name, the limited series was developed and written by Noah Hawley. Hanks plays the lovable Gus Grimly, a former police officer who is now a postman. Tolman plays Molly Solverson, a deputy in the Bemidji, Minnesota Police Department, and she recently married Gus.
While I had talked to Hanks and Tolman individually before, it was fun talking to them together. It’s hard to deny their chemistry on screen so I was curious to know whether that term is over used or whether there is something behind it.
Here are my questions, followed by the remaining Q&A of the call.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Greg Staffa, Your Entertainment Corner. Go ahead.
Greg Both of your performances are outstanding, and when us critics look up the word chemistry in the dictionary, there’s a photo of Molly and Gus. I’m wondering your thoughts on the use of the word chemistry to describe you two and is the term overused or do actors feel—do you as actors feel like hey, there is something unique here as opposed to other things that we have done?
Allison I think that Colin can probably speak to that more than I can because he’s done more work than I have, but we didn’t—Colin and I didn’t read together. We hadn’t met before we got to the set. So, I think we got really lucky in that way, and I think the producers got really lucky in that way as well because we never did any chemistry reads or anything.
Colin Yes, it really was sort of—it was a roll of the dice for sure, but luckily, Allison and I, we had met each other while we were shooting the first two episodes before Gus and Molly had any scenes together. So, we had hung out quite a bit. So, there was a comfort level there, which I think was helpful in that first scene with Gus and Molly, but at the end of the day, like really if you’re working with someone that is very easy to get along with, that makes you laugh, that you have fun with, that is, I guess, for lack of a better phrase, the real chemistry that is required, but it is not necessarily totally 100% required because you can yet at the same time act and pretend you have that chemistry, but it comes so much easier when you really have it, and Allison is so great and so easy going and really just an overall joy to be around that it just made the work seem so much easier, and to be quite honest, the scenes were already pretty easy between Gus and Molly because they were so well written. So, it is really sort of as much as it’s lucky for the producers that we got along so well, we’re probably really the truly lucky ones because we got to work with people that—you got to work opposite someone you really liked.
Allison I think that that actor’s chemistry that you’re talking about where people just kind of get along and have sort of are like-minded, that that would work towards any relationship that you had to play. So, if we were enemies, if we were brother and sister, if we were arch rivals, like whatever, anything that you have to play on camera is going to go better with somebody that you feel safe and comfortable with, and so, I don’t think that that’s necessary to play a romantic relationship, but it certainly helps to play anything where you’re bouncing off another person.
Greg A lot of the fans of the show kind of get emotionally invested and we’re all eager if there’s going to be a season two and we all kind of fall in love with Molly and Gus, and I’m wondering as actors and actresses, what’s the takeaway from you guys? When you’re done filming in a week, for the most part it’s over except for the DVD promotions and stuff like that, is there a takeaway that you bring with you for the next show that you do or the next project, or what do you take away from it that might be a little insight to us fans or is there anything?
Allison Unfortunately and fortunately for me, I’ll compare every project I do moving forward to Fargo.
Colin That’s going to be hard.
Allison Difficult because it’s really—I can’t begin to tell people what an awesome experience this was and what a love project it was for so many people, how amazing our crew was, how lucky we were to go to work every single day and for me to meet these people that I know will be in my life for the rest of my life. So, my heart is breaking. I’m so sad for the series to be over for us to kind of wrap it up and put a bow on it is going to be really hard and really sad, but I know how lucky I am to have been a part of this at all and to have it have been my first project is just such a blessing.
Colin I think for me having been on a couple of TV shows and been doing this for a while, the reception that it’s got, the quality of the show, the quality of the people that we made the show with, all of that was pretty evident while we were making it and while it’s being aired, so I’m just enjoying it as much as I can and trying to experience as much of it as I can because it’s not always like this and I’m sure I probably sounded like a grumpy grandpa to Allison a few times saying like really just sort of take all this in as much as you can because, A, it’s very rarely like this, but more importantly, it’ll never be like this again because it’s your first show.
So, for me, it’s been great. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been challenging, but it’s overall been a very, very positive experience, but now that the show is coming to an end, it’s time to sort of put that to bed and move onto the next thing and try with all of my might and power not to compare the two because everyone is different, everyone is its own—every project is its own thing.
Allyson Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Fargo Conference Call with Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks. With that said, let’s go ahead and take our first question.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Diana. Please go ahead.
Diana I know that Colin had mentioned that you guys had become friends offset as well, and you obviously spend a lot of time together on set. Do you find that you guys kind of slip into your characters when you’re off set or just going out to eat or different things like that?
Allison Like I order for both of us and things like that?
Allison I don’t think that we did.
Colin No, not really.
Allison Neither one of us are really all that much like our characters, and I think both of us are actors who turn it off pretty easily once we get off set. So, we were very quickly after wrapping talking about where we were going to go eat dinner. So, I think we could slip in and out of it pretty easily.
Colin I personally don’t want to know what Gus is like at the dinner table too much. He already forgets to bring the red sauce the one time and I think that’s—I’ve done enough Gus at the dinner table in the show; I’m more interested in what’s really for food, what’s really for dinner.
Diana Well, Gus is a likeable character, but I can understand why you might not want to slip into the cast there.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Liz. Go ahead.
Liz The time jump that occurs in I believe it was Episode 8 is really fascinating, and I was wondering what was the hardest part about jumping from where you guys were initially, which is kind of a friendly relationship, to being full-on married with a child on the way?
Colin It wasn’t very hard. It’s all make-believe at the end of the day. Allison and I obviously, we get along quite well, and by that point, we had been spending quite a bit of time together up there in Calgary. So, it really was kind of effortless. It really wasn’t a big change. We didn’t really need to approach it any different. I think really the only thing that might have been difficult was the fake stomach that Allison had to put on. That’s probably the only difficulty.
Allison That was the only difference for me, yes, but it was easy to slip into that kind of like domestic rhythm. It was really easy and really fun, but I’ve never played pregnant before other than like in a two-minute sketch for something. So, that was the part that took the most work for me, but I got into it pretty easily.
Liz Were you sad that you didn’t get to play many of your earlier stages of your guys’ relationship?
Allison No. We said last night—we had a similar question last night, and I feel like we both think that getting past that kind of bumbling stage for both of them, we stayed in that stage for just long enough, and getting to skip past courtship was kind of cool actually. It kind of missed how painful that probably would have been between these two sort of awkward people. So, I didn’t miss it. I don’t think Colin did either.
Colin No, I didn’t. I thought that A, it was a fantastic choice on Noah’s part, and B, I think that the way that the characters interacted obviously everyone was very much rooting for Gus and Molly to get together, so I thought it was really sort of a nice twist to let that be the sort of courtship that the audience sees because the audience can put everything else together, and they can imagine how the logging festival went and so forth. So, I thought it was really cool and it was nice to be able to just jump to the good stuff, so to speak.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Kevin. Please go ahead.
Kevin I guess I have a question for Allison. When did it dawn on you how admired and sort of universally loved Molly was?
Allison I think it’s sort of steadily dawning on me. I’ve never done this before. So, I wouldn’t know what a hit felt like anyway. So, luckily, my costars are able to be like this is going really well. They are able to kind of clue me into how big a deal this is, and then, we’re lucky to live in the age where I can get on the internet and I can see what everybody is sort of chatting about and what they’re saying, and almost exclusively people really love this character. So, yes, I think it’s still on a week-to-week basis is something that’s still kind of settling in.
Kevin She’s so self-facing and assertive in a way that’s unique. Is there anyone in your life that you pattern her on? She’s interesting.
Colin Herself because Allison is herself interesting.
Allison I like to think there’s parts of me in Molly. She certainly is steadier than I am, I think, but I don’t know. I can’t say that I—my process is not to kind of like develop a character and do a big back story and base it on someone, etc. Like, I think that Molly is kind of who she was on the page from the very beginning for me, and I’m not sure like which people have gone into creating that character, but for me, it was all in that pilot episode right from the beginning.
Kevin Great, and Colin, you’re great too. I didn’t mean to—
Colin Not at all. Don’t worry about it.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Andrea.
Andrea I have a question for Allison. In last night’s episode, we saw the FBI become interested in Molly’s detective work on the case and praised her and all of that. How did it feel for you to have your character finally have someone to listen to her and sort of praise her when Bill’s been telling her for the last year that she’s crazy and should stop talking about it?
Allison It’s so funny; I knew reading that scene how important it was, but it didn’t really occur to me until I got to set that day like what a big deal that was, what a pivotal scene it was, I mean until I got on set with Keegan and Jordan and they were both like we’re so excited we get to play this scene, we’re so excited we get to be the ones who finally give her some recognition. I was like, I guess you’re right, this is really—this is a big deal, and it’s a long time coming. So, that kind of drove it home and that made that scene really fun to play.
And we premiered that episode at a festival in Austin this past weekend, and so, we watched the episode in a big theatre full of people and in that moment in the diner when they start to kind of finally—she realizes that someone is going to finally listen to her, this huge cheer came up in the theatre, and I was like oh, that’s so cool. People are really, really—they’ve been sort of suffering with Molly for this whole time, and getting to see her have that breakthrough was like so cathartic for all the fans. It was really neat.
Andrea Yes, it was good to see her get that win. Colin, for Gus, we’ve seen him go from being a cop at the beginning of the series to now being a mailman based on a mistake he made in the field. Are we going to get—is Gus going to get a chance to redeem himself by the end of the season?
Colin You mean within the next week? Possibly. That’s me trying to be as coy as possible.
Andrea You’re doing good at being coy. That’s good.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Rebecca.
Rebecca I was wondering how far into shooting did you guys actually learn there was going to be that one-year time jump and what were your initial reactions to that script?
Colin It was when we read the script. They didn’t really say much although I think one of the costumers let it slip that there was going to be some sort of new twist. I wasn’t quite sure what it was.
Allison We had an inkling because the crew heads get the scripts before we do so they can start to plan for the next thing. So, when they told me they wanted to cut ten inches off my hair, I was like well, either she goes into a prison camp or time is shifting somewhere. So, we had—I think we kind of had an idea, but we weren’t sure until we actually got that script. Is that right, Colin?
Colin Yes. It was sort of there were whispers about it from some of the department heads, and then, by the time—once they released the script or read it, I thought it was great. I thought it was really cool. I actually in a strange way, I sort of feel that the reveal in this show is actually sort of better than it was on the page, the way that Scott, the director, sort of orchestrated that in the movement, and when I read it, I thought that’s sweet, but when I saw it, I just started laughing hysterically. That Fargo score comes up to here is Gus delivering the mail in the most dramatic fashion possible. I thought it was really great.
Rebecca I just picture viewers like checking the clock at that moment, like why are the credits rolling, what’s happening, it’s only half an hour.
Colin Yes, but there was also the other really interesting touch which I hope it comes across in that episode, but that scene with Molly coming home and Gus is asleep in bed; A, that was one of our favorite scenes to shoot because it was just pure behavior. It was really just a very sweet moment that was played out and it wasn’t rushed or anything like that, but in the script, Noah said specifically in the script if this feels like the end of the movie, it’s supposed to. This is supposed to feel like the end of our journey of the show, and I guess maybe I’m wrong, Allison, correct me if I’m wrong, but maybe even like the end of the actual Fargo film as well, and I thought that that was a really interesting twist, again, because the show has consistently sort of toyed with throwing curve balls and really throwing a lot of stuff at the audience and leaving them sort of on edge and not quite sure what to expect next. I thought it was really, really brilliant to be able to throw this insane curve of just jumping forward and all of a sudden seeing Gus and Molly together and Molly’s pregnant and Lester has moved on and he’s got remarried so that it really sets in motion these last two episodes.
Allison That third act I think [indiscernible].
Colin Yes, that third act, like what now is going to happen. It just raised the stakes ten times higher.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Kelly.
Kelly I know that you can’t reveal much about the finale, so without giving too much away, personally, were you both satisfied with how it ends and how do you think fans will feel?
Allison I hope that fans will feel like the ending is satisfying and makes sense but also that they didn’t see it coming. Like I think that’s always kind of the goal. I don’t want it to feel like that they knew this is how it was going to end up, but I don’t want them to feel like they were left hanging at all.
For me, I think that the finale grew on me the more we filmed it. When I read the final episode, I didn’t like it as much as I like it now, and after we got to play it and after we kind of put all the pieces together, the more and more right it felt as things went through as we sort of continued filming, and now, I really love it. I think that all the ends are tied up properly and everything is where it should be.
Kelly Colin, do you feel the same?
Colin No, I feel the same way. Obviously, you spend quite a bit of time sort of working towards a goal, and we all came in knowing that there would be a beginning, middle and an end to this, and so, you sort of build it up and in your mind when you’re working on it. Keep in mind we worked on this for five, six months, so a little bit longer than those watching, but the more—really along the lines with Allison, the more we shot it, the more we filmed it, I really think that it comes to a pretty great conclusion that I hope is satisfying to the viewers; that’s always the hope and you don’t want to alienate them, that’s for sure.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Preston. Go ahead.
Preston Molly and Gus’ marriage seems to be working out perfectly, like Lou and Greta seem to be really taking to their new family and Gus likes his new job as a mailman. There’s like not much to complain about on their end. In your opinion, what makes love last through its ups and downs?
Colin Well, it’s a TV show.
Preston Well, maybe from your own life.
Colin It’s a TV show, so hopefully they don’t glean too much from the TV show.
Allison You’re married, so you do it.
Colin Me? Okay. In my experience, my own personal experience, and I like to think that this is evidenced in Gus and Molly’s relationship, there is an honesty between the two of them. They don’t lie to each other. They don’t take each other for granted. They were honest with each other from the very first moment that they met, and in my experience, in my personal life, that’s been my cornerstone to build everything on.
Allison I think the more experiences you go through with a person, just the more time you spend with them and the more years you spend with someone, then you go through a parent dying and moving and loss of a job and whatever, and the case of these two characters, they go through quite a bit in the first like three weeks that they know each other. He shoots her. They have a lot to lean on kind of moving forward, and I think obviously if we look at the timeline of a year later and she’s that pregnant, they moved pretty quickly. So, I think that first setting up that first date is a big deal for both of them. I don’t think that these are people who screw around, and when they know they know, so them deciding to go on this date together is kind of like well, we’re probably going to get married, and then, they do.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Natan.
Natan We cover how social media is affecting television. I was curious what is the reaction that you’ve seen on Twitter. I know you’re both on Twitter. I’d be curious to hear now that you have this audience of fans, how have they reacted, have you seen lots of new followers and what’s the reaction to the show been like on social media.
Allison Overwhelmingly, it’s been a positive for the most part. There’s always some complainers and there’s always some just trolls. That just happens, but as far as like actual human beings who are actually watching the show and giving us actual feedback, I think that it’s been overwhelmingly positive, and it has a really great really loyal fan base.
Colin Yes, it’s been pretty surreal to see how many people have really liked the show and have been vocal about it. Ironically, I remember I joined Twitter because I was on a TV show that wasn’t sort of—it was okay received, but it was a way to sort of get the word out that the show was on and sort of as a little bit of a pick-me-up as well to hear that people actually really did love the show and really dig it, and normally, I’m used to people Tweeting me about movies from ten years ago or something like that. So, it’s nice to sort of know that come Tuesday night, we sort of get this instant feedback from actual fans that watch the show from all over the world. It’s really cool.
Allison We get it again on Sundays when they show it in the UK.
Colin Exactly. I’m very, very cognizant of the fact that the UK gets it on Sunday. I try to make sure everybody keeps the spoilers down for that week for the people in the UK, but no, look, not to sound like a broken record or an echo chamber, but that’s really the sort of amazing thing about social media these days is that you can have that sort of instant word of mouth, so to speak, that used to take longer for it to sort of crawl out, but now, it’s pretty immediate, sometimes even as the show is going on, which is pretty great, and the fact that it has been so positive is just—it’s really nice.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Ernie. Go ahead, please.
Ernie I wanted to ask—my first question is for Allison. I’ve been through the finale, so it’s spectacular, and I wanted to say that Gus is kind of one last hurdle as kind of the manhunt kind of escalates. Can you talk about Gus being kind of the final hurdle that kind of holds him back, holds her back but at the same time with good intentions?
Allison Without spoiling anything for anybody who hasn’t seen the finale, Molly is super pregnant, and you can obviously tell that this is going to come down to some final showdown of one kind or another in the finale. So, we do get the satisfaction of that, but Molly’s extreme pregnancy is I think also a huge hurdle for her, and then also, not just Gus but also her dad, there’s a lot of people who are really worried about her involvement and not just her involvement but her determination to sort of see this thing through to the end.
So, that was interesting to play, and for me, as an actress, it was difficult for me to kind of like come to grips with it after spending all of these months with Molly pursuing and pursuing and pursuing to kind of come to grips with the fact that she now had these limitations both physically and also just with obligations to the people around her, but I feel that—ultimately, I feel like the series ends up the way that it’s supposed to and everyone ends up happy and fulfilled in the ways that they’re supposed to be.
Ernie Okay. For Colin, just as one of the few characters who I’ve seen kind of in that role of being an enforcement character who really does contemplate about the potential consequences of his actions where you typically see cops or agents just barge in, can you talk about maybe kind of doing something that was against the grain?
Colin Well, I think you’re always trying to find new turf as an actor to veer into and explore, and from the very first scene in the pilot, here was a character that obviously is out of his depth, out of his element, and is acutely aware of it and has that self-awareness and knows that his actions have consequences, and in the pilot, it’s very obvious that he makes the wrong decision but for personally at least, the right reasons, which is to protect his family, and that obviously doesn’t change throughout the course of the season all the way up to the finale, but look, I think that Gus obviously—he says as much in the whiteout episode. He didn’t necessarily want to be a cop. He had this other sort of thing that he wanted to do, but he needed to provide for his daughter, for Greta, so he took the best job that he could, but he always looked at it more as sort of a community service almost as opposed to enforcing the law, and so, yes, I think Gus definitely does have this—he does know that whatever he does, it needs to be for the right reasons and he knows that all of his actions have very serious consequences.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Kara. Go ahead.
Kara So, it’s been really fun to watch your scenes together, but I think I’m going to put you on the spot a little bit and ask about your favorite scenes or moments with other actors on the show.
Allison Well, I think I’ve been pretty vocal about my favorite scene overall to play being the bedroom scene that we got to play in last week’s episode, but as far as other people, I think anytime I got to be on camera with Bob Odenkirk was a joy, and the relationship between those two characters really evolved from the beginning when he’s just kind of like a thorn in her paw all the way through to the finale, and I think my favorite scene with Bob is actually coming up next week, and Bob is such a fantastic comedian, but he’s also just a really tremendous actor and kind of getting to watch him sort of take off the clown makeup and really just play a really honest scene which we’ll see next week was really a treat for me.
Colin Allison, is there any way you can stretch out your answer a little bit more because I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with an answer?
Allison All of his favorite scenes…
Colin I don’t really—I can’t really think of a specific one to be quite honest. With two kids, anytime I come home from work, work sort of fades into the distance, and I don’t remember too much of it. It’s really nice that I’m an actor so I can watch it so I can remember what I did, but really overall, there are so many great moments in this show that it’s kind of a selfish choice, I can’t really pick one.
Allison I think I remember you telling me even when we first started hanging out that you felt really like your first scene that you played with Billy Bob in the very, very beginning, your scene at the end of the pilot was kind of like [indiscernible] but filming it was like unique for the two of you guys.
Colin Yes, the filming of it was unique because we shot it over two nights, and Billy Bob couldn’t be there for one of the nights so that was interesting, but I think a lot of the—one of the scenes that I guess maybe pops out was ironically much like the scene with Billy Bob was also one of the scenes from my audition was with Peter who plays Lieutenant Schmidt, so it’s when Gus goes into the bathroom and has to have that scene where he sort of has to fess up. That was a fun scene to shoot, but a lot of times, there will be scenes you shoot you don’t really think much of it and then you see it and it takes on a totally different meaning, and that scene with Gus and Greta at his desk at the office where he sort of admits to her that he did something wrong and she suggests going down to Bemidji and doing it in person. That was a scene I really didn’t think much of when we shot it. I thought about it, I did the homework, so to speak, I didn’t walk away going yes, that was a great scene, but when I saw it, it had this different vibe to it than I remembered. So, it’s different every time. You never really know. If you need a short sound bite, all of my other scenes with Allison.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Chen. Go ahead.
Chen I wanted to ask about how Warren Littlefield said that the idea of the show is to demonstrate the best of who we are and the worst of who we are, and I was wondering do you feel that the worst, which is the darkness of Billy Bob Thornton [indiscernible] character is being balanced by Molly and Gus’ optimism?
Colin Yes, I think so. I think that would be a fair thing to say, yes, for sure.
Allison I certainly hope we’re keeping it well balanced. Otherwise, I think the show could be pretty unbearable to watch. Even though Billy Bob’s character is fun to watch, he’s a really fun villain, he’s also a really terrible person. So, you kind of need a little sweetness and light in there to make it bearable to watch ten hours of something.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Tatiana. Go ahead.
Tatiana So, the shootout in the snow scene was a really, really great suspenseful scene. Can you both describe what it was like filming that?
Allison The blizzard, the whiteout scene?
Allison Yes, we filmed that in a place about 40 minutes outside of Calgary called High River, which ironically had been flooded the year before, so it was a little bit of a ghost town over in that area because a lot of people had moved out while things were still being repaired. So, it was quite cold. We had snow on the ground. We had a lot of snow cover, but we didn’t have any snow falling. So, we had giant fans and just boxes and boxes and boxes of this fake snow that they were kind of blowing around at us.
I just remember it being very, very cold that day and having to sort of take my gloves off so that I could hold my gun and thinking why did I choose these really thick wool gloves all these weeks ago? Why [indiscernible] which gloves were my Molly gloves? But yes, we had quite a bit of this fake snow that we used, but that beautiful kind of like blurry really like whiteout blizzard effect is a lot of that came in post with John Ross our VFX guy.
Colin Yes, that was not a fun sequence to shoot.
Colin It was very cold. There’s the fake snow obviously.
Allison Running on ice.
Colin Running on ice obviously.
Allison [indiscernible] boards.
Colin We had to take the gloves off as well. That was definitely some of the coldest weather in so much as they had these gigantic fans. So, we had our own personal wind-chill on camera, which was not fun. Then, I actually had to reshoot some stuff, some close-up stuff that we were not able to get on the day.
Colin No, months later. Yes, months later at the police set, we shot close-ups. So, that was weird too. Obviously, when you read that it’s basically these scenes that take place during a blizzard, you just know that that’s going to be a hard day, that’s not going to be a lot of fun to shoot, but you just try and do your best and hope that special effects help.
Allison It certainly did. I think it turned out awesome, better than I could ever have imagined.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Maj. Go ahead.
Maj Because it’s such a brilliant show, will it be coming back? Have you heard anything about renewal and will your characters possibly be coming back?
Allison Well, I can say that without giving any spoilers that if we have a second season or a second installment in the anthology, they’ve talked about skipping around in time either backwards or forwards, so we could be back or we could not be back. It’s just depending upon what they want to do and if they want to go forward or backwards in time, but I know unless Colin is privy to information that he hasn’t told me yet, in which he’d be in big trouble for, we don’t know anything yet. We’re not certain about anything if they’re going to do another season, when it would start, what it would entail, if we would be in it, like we just kind of are in the dark as much as anyone else.
Colin Yes, they haven’t really said either way what they’re going to do, but Noah was pretty adamant that if we were lucky enough to be in that position that obviously the story would have to come first and I totally respect Noah to the utmost degree that he would come up with the most engaging second season of Fargo that he possibly could and whether Gus is involved in that or not is out of my control, but regardless, if he calls saying hey do you want to come back, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
Maj I have another question. How much is your character defined by your last names, by your character names? If you look at the cast’s last names, Molly Solverson, Grimley, Malvo, Nygaard, was that intentional or—
Allison Absolutely. Noah is a precise man. So, I think he just had a lot of fun with those names, and this is a world where people speak in riddles and they talk in parables and it’s kind of—it’s not real Bemidji. It’s not real Minnesota. It’s our version of Minnesota. It’s our version of Bemidji, and in this kind of world that he’s created, I think that it’s really fun that he’s chosen that some of these characters that have these really illustrative last names.
Colin I personally paid no attention to the last names of the characters.
Allison Do you even know my character’s last name?
Colin I think it’s like—
Colin Solvey McMystery, or is it like Puzzlesonderson? I’m trying to quickly think of the opposite of solve, but I can’t. I need a thesaurus I guess.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Earl. Go ahead.
Earl We had the same Keith Carradine throughout the season, and in the final episode, we get to see him do a lot really some great scenes with you all. Can you all talk a little bit about working with him throughout the season especially toward the end?
Allison Keith is one of the nicest men that I’ve ever met, and for someone who has been doing this for a long, long, long, long time and certainly could be—I think certainly would have earned the right to sort of like sit in his trailer and skip rehearsals and then just kind of like roll on set and do one take and then walk off, he is just one of the nicest men that I’ve ever met. And then, on top of that is just—I think he’s so fantastic at channeling Lou and channeling this sort of gruff affection that I think really comes across. You’re right, he’s got great scenes in the finale with everybody. I think he’s got really, really nice scenes. So, yes, I never—it was easy. Every scene I got to play with Keith was just easy, easy.
Colin Keith has been around a long time and nothing sort of really rattles him, and not only is he a great person to work with, to act opposite with, but he’s great to just hang with, and the three of us had some dinners together and he’s full of stories and just an overall just really fabulous, fun, exciting, vibrant guy.
Allison He does have the best stories, really good stories.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Melissa.
Melissa Allison, I actually wanted to ask you—I was at the screening in Austin on Saturday night, and I just wanted to know if perhaps you could comment on the kind of the communal experience of watching an episode of this series on a big screen and seeing people’s reactions in real time, in person.
Allison I love it. I got to see the pilot that way at the premiere and then I watched the pilot again at like a premiere party with just my friends in Chicago and then again this weekend. I would watch every episode that way if I could. It is so fun and so interesting to see like how—to read the energy from a room full of people and to see where the laughs are and what makes them gasp and what makes people kind of cry out in horror. I think just the energy from that room was so fantastic and I would love to just be a fly on the wall in a viewing and get to see how people react to that kind of thing.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Kevin.
Kevin I’ve always been struck by Greta and her sort of wiser-than-her-years’ presence. I feel protective to Molly but I feel even more protective when I watch the show for Greta. It always seems like something grim is going to happen to her. What’s it like to work with her?
Allison Well, I think that’s partly that that character is written very wisely, and part of that is just Joey who is like a really, really smart, sort of self-sufficient, very like confident young woman that I think is perfectly cast in this role of this young girl who kind of takes care of her dad, and you got to work with Joey more than I did, but I think she was awesome and she’s super fun to be around when the cameras aren’t rolling as well.
Colin Allison is spot on. The character is very much written that way, but that’s very much who Joey is. She’s incredibly confident, sure of herself, comfortable at all times.
Allison Funny, she’s super funny.
Colin And really funny. She has a razor-sharp wit. So, that’s—again, I think it’s one of the great things that Noah did is you only hear her in that first scene—in Gus’ first scene, you only hear her on the walkie but you instantly sort of fall in love with her, and her energy, and then, Gus does everything he can to protect her obviously and then you meet her and you just go oh, this is the coolest kid in the world. You hope your kids are as cool as Greta Grimley, and with a name like that, she better be cool, dang it, but Joey is the best. She’s awesome.
Kevin She wasn’t even born when the movie was made. I was like oh boy.
Colin Is that true?
Allison That’s true. We’re old.
Moderator The next question is from Preston. Go ahead.
Preston One of the reasons why I love this show so much is I feel like it plays like a great piece of literature. It’s like filled with all these symbols and riddles like Allison mentioned earlier. It’s not like one of those shows that’s just for pure entertainment, like one of those shows that you re-watch and study, and like there’s all these symbols and there’s one that really stood out to me in the finale with the wolf, and I’m curious when you initially read the script for all the episodes, was there anything that you kind of questioned Noah about that you were kind of confused and it ended up being like a symbol for something to like foreshadow or something like that?
Allison I don’t think so, not for me. I know as I got each script I had a lot of fun. If I didn’t already know what the parable was, what the title of the episode was in reference to, I had fun looking that up and then figuring out how the two fit together because he had a lot of fun naming these episodes after these sort of parables and riddles and paradoxes and things like that. So, that was, for me, that was really fun, but I had Google, so I didn’t have to ask Noah [indiscernible].
Preston Why ask Noah when you have Google?
Allison Why ask the writer when you can ask Wikipedia?
Colin I never asked Noah about the titles. In fact, the majority of them, I don’t even know what they mean to this day, but along the lines of the sort of the way that Noah writes, for us, as actors, our first experience with these shows is reading it, and you always want that experience to have that same excitement and that same sort of energy and tension and you want to have a connection to it the moment you read it, and Noah, the way that he writes, not just his dialogue but the scene descriptions, things like that, are so nuanced that it is kind of like reading a novel, and I enjoyed sitting down and reading each script, which again, doesn’t happen very often. A lot of times you just read it and you just go that’s going to be hard to shoot, why does he say this, why is he doing this, but when you sat down and read a Fargo script, that’s what you were solely focused on and it was engaging and exciting and I would read it pretty dang fast, which is always a good sign.
So, I think that the great thing, like you said, about the shows is you can sit down there and analyze—you can sit down with the show and analyze it and peel it apart like an onion and it would get richer and richer the deeper you go, and I think that makes—obviously that’s good writing first and foremost, but clearly, that makes for really engaging television.
Moderator There are no further questions at this time.
Allyson Thanks so much to everyone for joining us today and especially Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks. We greatly appreciate your time.
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© 2014, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.
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