If you’ve been enjoying this season of “Fargo,” Patrick Wilson is right there with you. The anthology series’ second season star, who plays upright state trooper Lou Solverson, has been watching each episode as they air Mondays on FX. And while the show still has two episodes left to go, Wilson is already wistful about the experience he considers a career highlight.
Wilson spoke to Variety about the personal connection he feels with Lou, working with fellow Carnegie Mellon grad Ted Danson and whether he could be back for Season 3.
Where does “Fargo” rank in your career so far?
I’m very careful to say what’s the best because I’ve had so many different kinds of experiences, and what success and satisfaction means to me is usually not connected to critics or the commercial success. However, this has been one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had. It just is –some of the best writing, some of the best cast, all of it. It’s hard for me to gauge it, but I deeply, deeply loved playing the role. That’s the honest truth. Sure it was hard being away from my family — I have my own little family that I’m trying to protect [like Lou does] — and that’s tough to be away. I have a very patient, loving and supportive wife who urged me to do it, and I can’t thank her enough for saying “You should do this job.” Everything is filtered through that, I think in a very similar way with Lou.
What is it about the part that makes it so special?
I’m rarely given these kinds of roles. In a strange way, I didn’t even know that when I did it. I know it when I watch it. I think I can be pretty objective about my work; sometimes it’s good and sometimes I wish I had another shot at it. But with this show, I’ve been so happy with every episode and what we all set out to achieve. Lou is the kind of guy you want to be and it’s a luxury to play that. To play someone with that kind of steely determination and quiet strength, it’s very admirable.
You also have to do the Midwestern accent. Was it a challenge?
I was excited. Usually what scares me is what excites me too. Especially with a lot of the independent films I do, I try to swing a big stick. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t get a chance to do a lot of dialect work, although randomly the past four out of six independent movies I’ve done have been some version of Southern. But I’ve never had a dialect coach on a film that was there every take. I love that; I love the technique of it all. It took me back to theater school, all the vowel changes and all that. It’s nice to dig in like that because you don’t usually, whether it’s films or TV, when you know you’re pressed for time. It’s a luxury to get that kind of detailed work and that kind of care.
A lot of your scenes are with Ted Danson. What was it like working with him?
We just hit it off. We’re from the same alma mater [Carnegie Mellon], which is always great. Of course he went there when there were like horse-drawn carriages and it was called Carnegie Tech. [laughs] We had met each other at some ridiculous gifting suite at Sundance one year, when you feel very sheepish as you’re paraded around and given free stuff. We had that very strange, “Hi, how are you? I love your jeans. Are the boots good?” Very awkward. But working together, we just hit it off. It was great, I spent more time with him than anyone. We’d go out to dinner together, we both were missing our wives, and it was a new experience for us. He was thrilled to get to grow a beard and have an accent and play a character, it was exciting to see.
Now that the show is almost over, what’s it been like for you watching week to week?
It’s been such a fun experience. I’m watching it with my wife and two of our best friends who live right around the corner. I’m watching it as it happens, which is kind of neat. I’ve never actually done it like this. I love every week. And part of it is just seeing what my buddies are doing. When you’ve got so many mouths to feed, so many storylines like we do on this show, you have no idea what other people are doing. I loved the last episode. All that stuff in the cabin, Kirsten was wonderful and Jesse had those amazing moments. And Hanzee. I did another movie with Zahn [McClarnon, who plays him] –“Bone Tomahawk” — and seeing him rise in that episode was just beautiful. You’re pulling for this horrible criminal to shoot all these people, and thinking “Why am I doing that?” That’s what this show does. It’s awesome.
The show resets every season, but do you think there’s chance we’ll see Lou Solverson again?
I’ve been asked more than twice about Season 3, and would I do it. You kind of feel like there’s no way they could with the track they had set. But God, wouldn’t it be cool if down the line they needed to see where the Solverson family was? I’d be more than happy to don my hat and suit again.