Minnesota accents are hard, if you’re from Scotland. 2010 feels like a long time ago. Zero degrees is shorts weather, if you’re from Calgary. And Noah Hawley has outdone himself with the character names for season three of “Fargo.”
These are among the insights shared by “Fargo” stars Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Carrie Coon, David Thewlis, Michael Stuhlbarg and exec producer Warren Littlefield on Thursday during the Television Critics Association press tour panel on the series that began production in the Calgary area earlier this month. (Hawley was scheduled to participate but bowed out because he was under the weather.)
Among the highlights:
- McGregor plays two primary characters, brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy, who are not twins and come from different backgrounds. And yes, he’s speaking like a Minnesotan, not his natural Scottish brogue. “I’m doing the ‘Fargo’-y accent,” he said, working hard with a dialect coach. “It’s the hardest accent I’ve ever done, and I did a Dutch one once.”
- McGregor has experience playing two characters in the same movie. In 2005’s “The Island” he plays a clone of a clone. In 2015’s “Last Days of the Desert” he played Jesus and the Devil. “I’m very experienced with playing with myself,” he said, which got a laugh.
- The 2010 setting of the story has given Hawley a surprising amount of room to use the period to comment how on the huge leaps forward in technology in the just the past few years have impacted the culture. “Technology in many ways is supposed to unite us. In many ways that’s not what happens at all,” Littlefield said.
- Despite the moniker Gloria Burgle, Coon’s character is a sheriff. “She represents that small-town aesthetic. Her personal life is eroding and she’s trying to hang on to who she is inside of that happening,” she said.
- Working on the frigid temperatures in Calgary and environs has its challenges, particularly for outdoor shoots. Hearty crew members from the area rig up all sorts of heaters and devices to keep the actors as war as possible. “The crew is amazing, they make sure we don’t die of exposure,” McGregor said. “If it hits zero, they were shorts,” Littlefield added.
- Thewlis, who plays V.M. Vargas, is even more in the dark than Winstead about his character. I’ve only shot one scene. I’m going back to England for two weeks to forget about it all and work out how I’m going to do the rest of it.”
- Stuhlbarg limns a character with the oh-so-evocative name of Sy Feltz. “It’s a good place to start,” he said.
(Pictured: Warren Littlefield, Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon)