‘Fargo’ creator and stars talk about new season

Chris Rock as Loy Cannon photo: Matthias Clamer/FX

Reel Chicago reports back after attending the FX Networks TCA Press Day where Fargo Creator and cast revealed details about the upcoming new season and how they were able to complete principal photography during COVID.

Anticipation has been building for FX’s Fargo, which despite the recent COVID-19 challenges, just wrapped its principal photography in Chicago. This time, the popular anthology series, now in its fourth season, will star Chris Rock, Timothy Olyphant, Glynn Turman, Jason Schwartzman, Ethelrida Pearl Smutny, E’myri Crutchfield, Oraetta Mayflower and Jessie Buckley.

“The production in Chicago, Fargo, was quite something,” enthused John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions during the network’s press day. “We had about 25 days of production remaining, and we decided to do something we’d never done before, which is we shot (the episodes) both simultaneously with two directors and two full A units, so we had more than 500 cast and crew working at one time.  And we did that because we wanted to concentrate the production in the shortest period of time possible and to maintain as much quarantine and isolation as we possibly could.” 

Rock–who plays Loy Cannon, the head of a 1950 Kansas City African-American crime family– talked about the difficulties in having to take the long production break due to the pandemic. 

“It was definitely frustrating to stop when we stopped, because you feel like you’re on a roll. But honestly? The break allowed me–you know, you’re eight shows in and you’re also exhausted. It allowed me–I don’t know about everybody else–to, like, recharge my battery.”

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The beloved comedian was able to view his acting in a few of the episodes. 

“It was like, ‘oh, okay. Let me work on my game.’ I don’t know if anybody’s following basketball right now, but the Miami Heat, they had a break and now they’re better than everybody even though they worked before. Like, the break helped them more than everybody else. So, the break helped me, honestly…I don’t want the world to have COVID, but I think my last two shows are my best.”

CREDIT: Elizabeth Morris/FX

Initially, Fargo was set to premiere this past spring, before the Black Lives Matters protests, but then was postponed until fall.

“I’m encouraged by everything that’s gone on outside of the show business world,” said Rock. “When I read the scripts even before all these protests, which, you know, a year ago, they were pretty powerful then. So, are they more powerful now? Yeah. It happens sometimes…jokes I told 20 years ago, people are like, ‘You are so on.’ These things happen when you’re in the right spot. And Fargo and (creator/show runner/executive producer) Noah Hawley’s generally in the right spot. So there you go.”

More Time to Work on Scripts

Having more time to really work on the scripts turned out to be great for series creator Noah Hawley.

“One of the things about television is how fast you make it,” Hawley acknowledged. “And what has been helpful, honestly, in the last few months that we’ve been shut down is that we’ve had more time with the material editorially. You usually race from idea to script to screen and to your home. And I like that process and I’m good at that process. I feel like the instinctual moving through. But this show has a lot more moving pieces. It has a lot of nuance to it, and I think it’s really benefited from the additional time that we’ve given it.”

He added: “And, look, a long overdue conversation is taking place, and this show would have been on point at any point when it was released, because this conversation has been going on through all our history. It just so happens that the conversation is at the forefront right now and what I wanted to explore thematically with this season, which is what it means to be an American and what it means to be on the outside of that experience and who gets to get inside of that experience. I mean, it’s never been more relevant. “

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Fargo premieres on Sunday, September 27, with the first two episodes beginning at 9:00, and it will be available the next day on FX on Hulu. 

Susan L. Hornik is an active contributor to Los Angeles Times, Grammy.comShondaland.com, InStyle, SFGate, LA Weekly, Irvine Weekly, MensHealth.comAARP.org, Los Angeles Blade, Washington Blade, Industrym.com.com, Videoage, Alo, Discover Hollywood