Interview: Billy Bob Thorton, Colin Hanks And Allison Tolman On ‘Fargo’ Finale

Fargo” | 53 min. | TV-MA | Creator: Noah Hawley | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Joey King, Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Glenn Howerton and Keith Carradine

We’ve has been covering “Fargo” all season, providing interviews and insights into the show. Now, “Fargo” has reached its end (unless they decide to go for season two).

But before we close the book on this show tonight, check out our interview with stars Billy Bob Thorton (Malvo), Colin Hanks (Gus) and Allison Tolman (Molly). We caught up with the trio to talk about the events leading up to the finale and if fans will walk away satisfied.

One of the lines that really stood out to me through the course of the show is the line Malvo says to Gus about seeing “shades of green.” It kind of comes full circle in the finale. Everybody wants to survive and people will do sinister things to survive. Can you relate to that line or idea at all in your career or otherwise?

Billy Bob Thorton: “It’s certainly hard to survive in Hollywood, so that’s one place where I’d probably put that as a practice. Also I grew up poor and in a rough way, so I think I’ve had to be a chameleon at some points in my life, both in my career and as a person. I always had a knack for if I’m hanging around English people, I think I probably get a little fancier. If I’m hanging out with the folks back home, it’s easier to fall in with that vibe. So I’ve always been very aware of who I need to be in a certain situation and it’ll get you out of a knifing sometimes. I’ll tell you that much.”

Molly and Gus’ marriage seems to be working out perfectly. Lou (Keith Carradine) and Greta (Joey King) seem to be really taking to their new family, and Gus likes his new job as a mailman. There’s not much to complain about on their end. In your opinion, what makes love last through its ups and downs?

Allison Tolman: “Wow. Colin, you’re married. So you do it [Laughs].”

Colin Hanks: “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.”

Tolman: “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.”

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I want to talk a little bit about Malvo’s physicality. In some shots he reminds me more than anything of the film character Nosferatu. I don’t know if that’s his code or how you’re holding yourself when you play him. Is that something you thought about? To me, it’s a big part of his menace is how he appears when he’s not talking.

Thorton: “That’s a very good question and no one else has compared Malvo to Nosferatu. That’s pretty good. I like that. I think a lot of that is just because after years and years of injuries and weighing 140 pounds, I look like Homer Simpson’s boss to start with. My physicality, so some of it is just natural. But I did choose to be very sort of slinky and sort of— I just sort of appear from places.

I did choose to be very quiet, but not like purposely menacing like the guy who twirls his mustache. Malvo even acts like he’s a pal to people sometimes, especially Lester. That was conscious to make him not the typical bad guy, who screams a lot and grits his teeth and grabs people by the collar. That was a conscious choice.”

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 filled with all these symbols and riddles. It’s not one of those shows that’s just for pure entertainment. It’s one of those shows that you re-watch and study. When you initially read the script for all the episodes, was there anything that you questioned Noah about – anything that you were confused about that maybe ended up being a symbol for something?

Tolman: “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 [Laughs].

Why ask Noah when you have Google? [Laughs]

Tolman: “Why ask the writer when you can ask Wikipedia?”

Hanks: “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 show is you can sit down 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.”

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And lastly, do you think people will be satisfied with how everything wraps up in the finale?

Thorton: “I think people will be very satisfied. I think Noah wrote a terrific 10-hour movie. It really has a beginning, a middle and an end, and that was one of the things that appealed to me about it. It’s just very well thought-out and I was very happy with it. I haven’t seen the last episode myself. I watch them the way the public watches them, on every Tuesday night.”

Tolman: “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.”

Hanks: “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.”

The “Fargo” finale airs tonight.

Feature Photo:
Billy Bob Thorton as Lorne Malvo. Photo courtesy of Chris Large/FX.

Center Photo: Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson and Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt. Photo courtesy of Chris Large/FX.
Bottom Photo: Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard, Jordan Peele as Agent Pepper, Keegan-Michael Key as Agent Budge, Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson and Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt/ Photo courtesy of Chris Large/FX.

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