Ewan McGregor on Playing Two Roles on ‘Fargo’: “The challenging part is making sure they’re both unique people”

“I felt like I understood them from the writing and I don’t make the job very complicated for myself as an actor.” – Ewan McGregor on Playing Brothers in ‘Fargo’

Fargo has been one of the most surprising TV series in recent memory. What first seemed like an awful idea — a spinoff of the beloved 1996 Coen brothers film Fargo — turned out to be a creative exercise in storytelling that has attracted many actors. One of those actors is Ewan McGregor, who has the challenge of playing two roles in Season Three — brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy. In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, McGregor talked about the challenges of playing two very different brothers on the same television show.

McGregor says that the most difficult aspect of playing two different characters on one show is to ensure they feel different to both himself and the audience. He explains, “The challenging part is making sure they’re both unique people. The challenge is making sure they’re both different and believable people and the truth is that they feel very different when I’m playing them, so that’s good and helpful.”

While McGregor was at first convinced he felt connected to both characters, he realized it was more difficult that he expected once he reported to set. He says, “I felt like I understood them from the writing and I don’t make the job very complicated for myself as an actor. But when I got up there [to set], I suddenly went, ‘Fuck, I’ve got two jobs to do here.'”

Luckily, the fact that the two brothers look so differently helped McGregor perform the two different characters. He explains, “I got a lot of help in terms of what they look like, but in terms of what they are, and how they sound and move, that was down to my instincts. I get dressed and I’m ready as Ray, and I start to feel like Ray. And the same as Emmit. And I just trust that.”