Martin Freeman on Starring in the ‘Fargo’ TV Series: “I’m not interested in playing an echo of something that was done 20 years ago. This is its own thing”

martin-freeman-fargoFargo remains one of the highest regarded films of the 1990s, so many people are leery of the idea of FX turning the Coen brothers’ crime masterpiece into a limited television series.

Nonetheless, the series will tell a different story than the original film and Joel and Ethan Coen are executive producers of the series. However, it’s hard to argue with the acting talent involved so far. The cast includes Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Platt, Keith Carradine and Martin Freeman, who will be portraying a character named Lester in the series.

He spoke to New York magazine about why he took the project, working on his American accent, and how his real-life wife ended up playing his fictional wife on Sherlock.

Freeman admits that before he read the script he wasn’t interested, but his mind changed after reading the pilot script. He explains, “The first I knew about it, I was getting the script for episode one and the offer to play Lester. In a vacuum, just hearing about it, I might have thought Well, do we need that? I had the same feeling, by the way, about Sherlock. Really? Do we need that? But after the first few pages, that turned into, Yes. We do need it, and I need to be in it.” Later, he continues to praise the script by adding, “I can only go on the script that I’m sent, and this one was interesting, it was engaging, and it was surprising. I got to cover ground that I haven’t covered before. I showed it to my Mrs. and she’s like, ‘You have to fuckin’ do this.’ So I did.”

Freeman also points out that he was interested because it wasn’t simply a rehashing of the film. He reveals, “I’m not interested in playing an echo of something that was done 20 years ago. This is its own thing.”

In addition, the role comes with a few challenges for Freeman. In particular, this is the first time Freeman has to use an American accent. Though the thick Midwestern accents were one of the most notable part of the original Fargo, Freeman notes that there are just as many quirky things about British English. He says, “The truth of some of those Minnesota accents is that even some Minnesotans think that they’re kind of funny. So it’s a fine line of getting that and honoring those characters. Not being reverential to them or patronizing them, but to also acknowledge that some of the things the characters say are funny in the way that some of the things that are classically English are kind of ridiculous.”

Of course, Fargo is only one of the television series that Freeman stars in. On the other side of the Atlantic he stars as Watson in Sherlock, the BBC series that retells the Sherlock Holmes stories in a contemporary setting. Recently, Freeman’s Watson got married, and his television wife is none other than Freeman’s real-life wife Amanda Abbington. On how that happened, Freeman reveals, “During season two, Mark [Gatiss, executive producer] said to me, ‘You haven’t talked about who might play Mary.’ That was the first time this conversation had ever come up. I said, ‘Well, to be honest, I think Amanda would be pretty good,’ and he goes, ‘That’s exactly what we were thinking.’ They knew she was able to be funny and engaging and just right. I mean, the last thing you want is to feel like you’re being John and Yoko, but Amanda can do this all day long in her sleep. Of course, I love her, but I know also she’s really fucking good. I wouldn’t say she should play everything in the world, but as far as this casting, it’s pretty good.”

3 Comments

  1. molly

    January 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

    This actually isn’t the first time Freeman has had to use an American accent, he made quite a good job of it in the play Clybourne Park a couple of years ago at London’s Royal Court.

  2. Lance Carter

    January 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I love that play. I saw it on Broadway. What part did he play – Karl/Steve?

  3. molly

    January 26, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Yes, he played the Karl and Steve roles and was very good indeed. It was just before he headed off to NZ to start on The Hobbit so sadly for the production he wasn’t available for its subsequent transfer to the West End.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/laura-linney-genuis.jpg
Laura Linney: “The thing that makes the theater different from any other art form: it’s time”
Linney cast's some light on why revivals in theater are looked at differently than their television and film counterparts.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/corey-hawkins.jpg
Corey Hawkins: “I grew up a theater nerd”
"The fun of it and the challenge of it is to take the play — to take the text — and make it your own, to find it your own way" - Corey Hawkins on Theater
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/sally-field-the-glass-menagerie.jpg
Sally Field on Performing on Broadway: “You’re so totally and utterly and completely alive”
Field reveals how the lack of intermission helps her maintain her energy and why she decided to return to Broadway after a nearly 15-year break.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/watch-sag-conversations-with-geo.jpg
Watch: SAG Conversations with Geoffrey Rush of ‘Genius’
Rush speaks at length about his career and portraying who many consider to be the wisest man of the 20th century.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Ben-Platt-Dear-Evan-Hansen.jpg
Ben Platt on How He Found Himself Starring in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’
"Every day is a different sort of vibe and feeling. It can be impacted by anything from like, "Is it raining outside?" to "Are there a lot of old people?"" - Ben Platt