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Interview with Bob Odenkirk of "Fargo" on
April 24, 2014/10:00 a.m. PDT
Kristy Silvernail / Senior Manager, Media Relations, FX
Bob Odenkirk / ďDeputy Bill Oswalt,Ē Fargo
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for
standing by. Welcome to the Fargo conference call. At this
time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we
will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions
will be given at that. (Operator instructions given.) As a
reminder, this call is being recorded.
I would now like the conference over to your host, Ms.
Kristy Silvernail. Please go ahead.
Kristy Hello, and welcome to the Fargo conference call with
star Bob Odenkirk, who plays ďDeputy Bill Oswalt.Ē Weíd like
to thank everyone for joining us today and remind you that
this call is for print purposes only. No audio may be used.
Due a high volume of journalists on the line, we
respectfully request that you limit yourself to one question
at a time and then get back into queue for any follow-ups
you may have. As a reminder, Fargo airs Tuesday nights at 10
p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX.
So with that said, letís take the first question.
Moderator (Instructions given.) We do have a question from
the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFiVision.com. Please go
Jamie Jamie Ruby, SciFiVision. Hello, thanks so much for
doing the call.
Bob Youíre welcome. Hello, Jamie. Hello, can I just say to
everyone whoís listening. Hello, everybody. Sorry I canít
hear you or talk to you until you get in the queue or
whatever. Thanks for doing this. I love Fargo. I had so much
fun making it and we could all tell we were making something
pretty great around, Iíd say, week three or four, and itís
so nice when it turns out and everyone is hoping that itíll
turn out and working towards that. But the vibe around it
was so good and it just got better as we made it, so Iím
thrilled that itís playing well for people, so go ahead.
Jamie Yes, I really love it. I think itís hilarious. So can
you just talk about what attracted you to the part, why you
decided to do it?
Bob To do Fargo, I love the movie. I got the script and my
first instinct on it was ďplease donít ruin the movie I
loved,Ē and I would say by about page eight or nine of
reading of the script, I felt, oh man, this is great. This
is everything good. They took all the great vibe from the
movie. They took the darkness and the comedy and they, well
they, Noah Hawley is the writer and he did all this work and
he took what you can take and not take the specifics of the
movie; and I could just tell it was very entertaining, so I
wanted to go in on it and I just worked on my part and went
in and I read for it and hoped that I would get it and I
And then I was just surprised at how it grew over time as we
were shooting it and how my part, ďBill Oswalt,Ē without
giving away too many spoilers or any spoilers, he gets to go
somewhere emotionally and itís pretty great.
Jamie Great, I canít wait. Thanks so much.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Kristi
Turnquist with the Oregon newspaper. Please go ahead.
Kristi Hello there, hello. Itís Kristi Turnquist. Iím with
the Oregonian Newspaper in Portland.
Bob Hello, Kristi.
Kristi Hello, what a pleasure to talk to you.
Bob Yes, is it raining up there?
Kristi Yes, of course it is.
Bob That was easy.
Kristi Yes. Youíre such an accomplished comedy performer, a
sketch performer with such a long resume doing that kind of
work; and now you have this whole second career as an actor
in dramas, or at least dramas that have some comedic
elements, Fargo would be an example, Breaking Bad obviously.
Do you approach the roles differently when youíre preparing
for roles in a show like Fargo than in your comedy work and
if so, how?
Bob I wouldnít say I approach them differently, but theyíre
pretty fundamentally different. My experience, and it might
be just the kind of comedy that I do, which is usually
sketch comedy, is that thereís a lot more texture and sort
of subplot in drama than in comedy. In comedy you can read
the script and you can know the motivations and the reason
for the character very quickly and off a simple quick first
read. With drama my experiences, and it comes off Breaking
Bad, is as you read the dialog, which at first might look
like just argument or obfuscation or something, you start to
see these inner drives of the characters that were planted
there by the writers; and so itís a more focused and it
reveals itself to you, whereas comedy is just kind of right
there when you first read it.
Kristi Okay, thank you.
Moderator You have a question from the line of Jerry Nunn
with Windy City Times. Please go ahead.
Bob [indiscernible] Chicago.
Jerry Yes, Bob, guess what? I was an extra in Letís Go to
Bob Youíre a good guy. Thanks for doing that. How is
Jerry Itís going great up here. You have to come back soon.
Bob Iíll try to. Iím going to go shoot another show soon,
Jerry Okay. Can you talk about how was this shoot really
different from Breaking Bad or how was it similar?
Bob The similarities were these are amazing casts of people
who are completely professional and grateful to be working
in this area. I know Iíve been lucky. I know that this isnít
the norm, so I got to be real careful not to get deluded by
these wonderful experiences that Iíve had in the last two
years, or four or five years if you include Breaking Bad and
Nebraska and Spectacular Now and now Fargo. These
castsómaybe one of the reasons is most of those casts, not
Spectacular Now, but most of the casts including Fargo are
veterans. Do you know what I mean? They really know to
appreciate good writing because theyíve seen not so good
So when theyíre on a project with a great original voice and
integrity to the work, they are thankful and you see it and
you feel it all the time every day. Itís not just like the
day they show up. Itís like they show up every day glad to
be in something that has quality. And so I think Iíve been
very lucky, but I got to keep that in mind and not get
deluded and think and forget that this is just a special
case for these great, great projects.
Jerry Congrats on Fargo and your spin-off here, so thank so
Bob Thank you, man, thank you.
Moderator You have a question from the line of Preston Barta
with North Texas Daily. Please go ahead.
Preston Hello, Bob, how are you doing?
Bob Iím good, man, how are you?
Preston Iím doing great. Iím curious since you play a deputy
on this show, how has being a part of this show changed the
way that you view law enforcement?
Bob View law enforcement?
Bob I donít think itís changed it much. My godfather was a
Chicago policeman and Iíve always looked at law enforcement
as a challenging job, an interesting and challenging job.
There are so many decisions that law enforcement officers
have to make and the incident and the situation changes so
much from moment to moment and day to day. I have a lot of
respect for officers and what they go through.
We had a couple of officers doing background for Fargo, some
real sheriffs from the Canadian sheriffs and I think some
retired police as well. Iím going to give you the name of
one of them because heís a great guy and heís in every
episode that Iím in. Anyhow, yes, it maybe deepened my
respect just from hanging out with the guys and chatting
I think one of the things I would say is I always try to see
my characterís side of whatever is happening, whether itís
ďSaul GoodmanĒ on Breaking Bad or in this case ďBill Oswalt,Ē
who is as you can see not helping ďMollyĒ with her
investigation, but who has I think a laudable point of view.
It might be misguided in this instance, but heís trying to
protect the community and heís trying to maintain his own
faith in the community and the people around him. Thatís not
helping, but this is what heís doing, so I love playing
ďBill Oswalt.Ē Itís really a great part and youíll see as it
plays out that it has all these layers to it.
Iím trying to find that officerís card. He gave me his card.
All right, if I find it, Iíll tell you his name before weíre
done with this call. Heís a sheriff.
Moderator Shall we go on to the next person?
Moderator Okay, thank you. We do have a question from the
line of Diana Price with Examiner.com. Please go ahead.
Bob What the heck is that?
Diana Thanks for doing this call, Bob. Everyone thatís done
these calls previously has gone on and on about the
wonderful writing and youíre an accomplished writer
yourself. Are you ever tempted to get into that writersí
room, and if you did, is there something you would add or
Bob No. I am tempted to stay away from that writersí room on
these complex dramatic shows that Iím a part of. I have too
much respect for the sweat and suffering of these guys,
whoíve written these shows and they just put so much into
it, Iím a little bit intimidated by their talents to be
The officerís name is Ryan Suffesick, S-u-f-f-e-s-i-c-k, and
heís a sheriff up there in Calgary, Alberta and a great guy.
Anyhow, yes, I actuallyóit started with Breaking Bad, was
getting a script and not attempting to manipulate the words
at all. My challenge with Breaking Bad and with Fargo was
how do I do this part as written literally word for word it
was my goal and is my goal, and how do I make those words
come to life and be a character and be natural and what do
those words mean. I really take them apart, so really I
approach these shows purely as an actor and itís been
refreshing and a new way to look at acting. I think itís
allowed me to be a much better actor than I was when I was
constantly messing around with the words because I was
either the writer on the project or I felt like it was my
Diana All right. Thank you so much.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Greg David
with TV Guide Canada. Please go ahead.
Greg Bob, thanks for taking the time today.
Bob Yes, youíre welcome.
Greg Going on the heels of that last question, so is a show
like Fargo in your sweet spot because you can come in and
work in these huge ensemble casts that are well written and
then go off for other parts of the year and focus your
creativity on your own creative projects?
Bob The answer is yes. What a well stated observation about
me and how I handle my career. I do have a lot of interests
and I really enjoy being a part of these great, great shows,
but also having the ability to juggle a couple of different
balls in the air while doing it. Of course, I will not be
able to do that on my next project, but weíre not here to
talk about that, but maybe in a few months you can ask me
how I handled that. Wish me luck, will you? I really hear
you right. I have a book coming out in October, pieces that
I wrote and when Iím doing Fargo, I was able to do these
other projects, Birthday Boys and stuff. Iím supposed to
talk about Fargo, though.
Greg All right, so letís go with a Fargo follow-up question.
So on the surface so far, ďBillĒ does seem to be a pretty
simple guy, doesnít want to think of ďLesterísĒ having
anything to do with these crimes. You kind of alluded to it,
can you tease a little bit more about what ďBillĒ is going
to go through over the next several weeks?
Bob I donít think itís a spoiler because if you saw the
other night, you saw how ďBillĒ feels. You started to
scratch the surface of what ďBillĒ thinks his job is, which
is I think his notion of to protect and serve, the motto of
many police departments, I think he takes the protect part a
little too far. Heís literally wanting to protect these
people, in this case ďLester,Ē from suspicion. You know what
Bob Like I think he thinks itís his job to believe in his
local community, and in this case, heís defending this
person heís known his whole life from even being
investigated. I think heís a frustration if youíre the
character of ďMolly,Ē but heís a good guy. He just wants to
believe in the goodness of his community and thatís a good
instinct for a police officer to have, so itís a conflict
and it will put him in a vice as time goes by in this show.
Thatís all I can say, an emotional vice.
Greg Great, thank you.
Bob Heíll get squeezed, yes.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Virginia Rohan
with the Record Newspaper. Please go ahead.
Virginia Hello there, Bob.
Bob Hello, how are you? Youíre from the Record?
Virginia The Bergen Record in New Jersey.
Bob Yes, the Bergen, yes.
Virginia A long way off, but youíre so great in the part, I
just love the whole show. How did ďBillĒ get so far not
having gotten used to the sight of blood and gore? Does he
signal that theyíre not used to that level of violence in
that particular town?
Bob I sure hope theyíre not. I hope there arenít these
bloody fairly insane crimes happening in small towns across
America on anything like a regular basis, so yes I think
youíre right. I think your instinct on it is right. Heís not
seen this; itís not a part of his life and heís been able to
avoid this kind of violence and horror, so yes.
And also keep in mind it was purely by this horrifying
incident that he became sheriff. It doesnít seem like he was
really planning on it.
Virginia No, right, right, right.
Bob So maybe he wasnít preparing himself.
Virginia Exactly, exactly, exactly. What do you think about
the level of violence in the show, because compared toóI
have a hard time with violence, but itís like tolerable for
me, more tolerable for me probably than for your character.
But it seems like itís notósome of the shows I watch like
Hannibal and thereís like a crazy amount of violence in
those shows now.
Bob I think that itís heightened. I think that the violence
is on some levels fairly outrageous and itís a little
conceptualized and heightened.
Bob Whatís that?
Virginia On Fargo youíre talking about, right?
Bob On Fargo, yes.
Virginia Right, right.
Bob And so I think the signal is sent to the viewer that
this is a performance, this is a story that youíre being
told and youíre not forced to wallow in sort of up close
darkness and itís allowed to be a story point and oftentimes
I think a darkly funny one and that comes from the Coen
Bros., that tone. Itís a little bit of a distance, honestly,
on the violence; itís not asking you to feel the pain. Itís
more like you watch it as a story point and itís gruesome
and it shocks you, but it makes you laugh.
Virginia Right, right, right, exactly. Thank you.
Bob Youíre welcome.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Bill Harris
with Sun Media. Please go ahead.
Bill Bob I was thinking when youó
Bob Hello, Bill.
Bill Hello, how are you? I wasó
Bob Good, whereís Sun Media?
Bill Toronto, Iím in southern Toronto.
Bill I was thinking in terms of your obviously last two big
roles dramatically speaking, I just wonder if thereís
something inherently comedic about these types of guys,
though, because at the heart of it I think when you look at
your character in Fargo and you look at your character in
Breaking Bad, theyíre always thinking more than theyíre
saying. Like thereís something in their eyes going on and I
wonder if, do you think thereís just something inherently
comedic about that, because Breaking Bad and Fargo, they
arenít really funny subject matter at all and yet when we
see through your characters, we get a little bit of chuckle
I think just because heís faking. Do you know what I mean?
Does that make sense?
Bob I think both these characters that you talked about are
trying to play a role. Do you know what I mean? In their own
minds theyíre like in ďBillísĒ mind, heís trying to be the
sheriff and the good man, whoís protecting his community and
itís funny because heís wrong and heís floundering a bit and
you can feel it. I think people maybe theyíre used to me
being funny. I donít know. I just naturally go for small,
funny human moments; I just look for that because itís what
Iím trained to do.
Bill Yes. I know what you mean and yet do you think thereís
something inherently funny about like any character who is
kind of for lack of a better term faking it? Do you know
what I mean? Like when you hear it, like you know Saul knows
way more than heís saying, but heís not saying itó
Bob Yes, there is something inherently funny.
Bill I know for your character in Fargo, heís thinking way
more than heís telling us, but heís putting up airs. Do you
know what I mean?
Bob Yes, yes, I know and people love to laugh at hypocrisy
and that distance between who you think you are and who you
really are and who youíre trying to present yourself as and,
yes, I think youíre right. Those characters are a little
different from the other characters in the show in that they
have these conflicts between who they present themselves as
and who they really are; whereas I think some of the other
characters, they donít have that conflict or that distance;
and it is funny to watch because theyíre not world beaters.
Theyíre failing a little bit, too. Itís funny to see
somebody flounder, who is just putting on a show, whoís
trying to delude everybody around him and itís not working.
Thatís the fun part.
Bill Thank you very much, great talking to you.
Bob All right. Good talking to you, man.
Moderator And we have a question from the line of Anna Chan
with Today.com. Please go ahead.
Bob Hello, Anna.
Anna Hello, Bob.
Bob Whereís Today.com?
Anna The Today Show in New York.
Bob Oh, fantastic.
Anna So youíve been talking about how the show has its
darkly funny moments and there certainly are quite a few
chuckles. I was wondering, itís obvious there must have been
a lot of fun going on on set. Whatís going to make the
blooper reel for the DVD?
Bob The blooper reel for the DVD, my moustache falling off
and me continuing to do the scene.
Anna Did you know it had fallen off?
Bob Sometimes I could feel it and sometimes I couldnít.
Usually you can tell, but not always. What is going to make
it? I donít know. We had a lot of fun on set and we also had
a lot of fun off set just off going and spending time
together up on Calgary. Weíll have to see. Iíll tell you
this, oh, Iím not sure I can say things that havenít
Anna Weíve seen the first four episodes.
Bob Yes, but have you seen Gary Valentine yet?
Anna Iím trying to remember.
Bob Gary is, he was on King of Queens. Heís Kevin Jamesí
Kristy I donít believe thatís aired yet.
Bob Heís so funny and he and I together are great and we
made each other laugh a lot, but I donít think Iím supposed
to even tell you heís on the show, so wait until he comes
up, youíll see.
Anna I canít wait.
Bob All right, thank you.
Moderator We have a question from the line of David Caspi
with [indiscernible] Israel. Please go ahead.
David Shalom from Israel.
Bob Hello. Shalom.
David I feel very ethnic among the other journalist today.
Bob, I remember seeing you on Conan OíBrien a few months ago
and you brought up like a photo of you guys 20 years ago
with all the writing staff of the beginning of Late Night,
[indiscernible] and yourself. What do you think brought upon
this Renaissance in your career in recent years; yours and
Louis C.K., for instance? Do you think itís the variety and
richness in TV programming today?
Bob Yes, absolutely. Itís because there are so many outlets
for shows and that encourages unique voices that wouldnít
find a spotlight when there were fewer opportunities, fewer
places to go, so people like Louie and I we were on staffs
and we were helping other people to do more mainstream
material. But now with all these outlets and people are able
to narrow casts, I donít if thatís still a word, but you
know what I mean, play to a smaller audience thatís more
interested in a strong vision, thereís room for us. Thereís
a stage for people like us.
If you think back to when we started, both Louie and I, the
kind of show heís doing now there was definitely no place on
TV for that; nowhere, not even HBO. There was room in movies
for the kind of thing heís doing in Louie, but no room on TV
for it. So yes, I think youíre right that the industry has
changed and allowed and made room for us in a place where we
can perform and find an audience.
David Thanks so much.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Jason Matthews
with Break.com. Please go ahead.
Jason How are you doing?
Bob Good. Jason, what happened?
Kristy Did Jason fall off?
Bob I lost him. That sucks. He had to wait around and then
Moderator His line dropped off.
Bob He got booted? Thatís not right. Can he get to the front
of the line when he calls back?
Kristy Yes, weíll re-queue him; donít worry about that. Go
ahead and move on to the next question.
Moderator Okay, thank you. We have a question from the line
of Anthony Marcusa with TVRage. Please go ahead.
Anthony Hello, Bob, thanks for taking the time.
Bob Good, man, whatís TVRage?
Anthony Weíre inter-webís entertainment outlet and Iím in
Anthony Iím just wondering if you could speak to some of the
preparation you did for the role and specifically working on
the accent and to what extent all of this was refreshing
considering youíre in between playing ďSaul.Ē
Bob One of the reasons I was interested in it truly was how
different he is from ďSaul.Ē This guy is, heís defiant,
innocent and heís fighting like hell to hang on to his
innocence about the people around him; and then ďSaulĒ is
cynical and clever and heís ahead of everyone and builds
behind everyone and trying to maintain that. So, yes, just
having played ďSaul,Ē I was eager to play something like
this and this is a great part for that reason.
What was your other question?
Anthony Just the preparation and specifically working on the
accent, which everybody is just fascinated with.
Bob I will just say I hope I did a good job. Everyone in the
whole cast from the get go was extremely thoughtful about
trying to do a good job with our accents. One of the things
we all agreed and we had two different voice coaches, one
was on set. One of the things, you notice if you watch
videos on YouTube of Minnesotans and the Minnesota accent is
that it fluctuates; it comes and goes. Itís not strong all
the time and itís like it can be very strong on some words
and then it can kind of be gone completely on other words or
even a sentence and so thatís a tough one to do. Itís tough
to get it right, but I think what we all tried to do is to
not push it too hard.
As far as doing accent, Iím from Naperville, Illinois and I
spent a lot of time in Wisconsin as a kid because I was in
Boy Scouts and I would go there pretty much once a month. My
camp for summer camp there were a lot of Minnesota kids
there; Iím not quite sure why, but there were a lot of
Minnesota kids who were counselors, so Iíd heard this accent
as a kid. Wisconsin accent is not exactly the same at all as
this strong Minnesota accent, but there is a little bit of
crossover. And also, like I said, there were kids from
Minnesota at our camp and stuff, so thatís where Iíd heard
it as a kid and I was familiar with it. And then all I can
say is I hope I did a good job.
Anthony I think you did and itís a fascinating world, so
thanks so much and congrats on the show.
Bob Youíre welcome; thank you.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Jason Matthews
with Break.com. Please go ahead.
Bob Hello, Jason.
Jason How are you doing? Can you hear me this time?
Bob Yes, sorry about that.
Jason Great. No, no problem, thank you. Thanks for doing
this. I guess my question was actually sort of a follow-up
on what the Israeli guy was asking you. Youíve got this
extensive background in comedy and I think anybody whoís a
comedy dork definitely knows who you are and a lot of other
people who maybe passively follow comedy know who you are
from Mr. Show and all these other great projects that youíve
done in the past. Obviously Breaking Bad and probably Fargo
have brought you to a new level as far as exposure.
Does it ever bother you that some of your earlier stuff
thatís considered by people who are into comedy to be ground
breaking stuff isnít as widespread as your character on like
Breaking Bad, and has being on Breaking Bad, has that
exposed some of your older stuff to a new audience from that
you can tell? Do you have people going back?
Bob The answer is yes to the second question; it has exposed
Mr. Show to people. People have gone online; theyíve maybe
been a fan of Breaking Bad or my character and somebody else
says on a chat room you got to see him, heís in Mr. Show.
Heís in all these sketch shows and then they click on that
and watch that, so thatís pretty great, especially since Mr.
Show cannot be seen anywhere except illegally on YouTube.
HBO refuses to replay it, so the only place it can be found
is sort hidden on the Internet and so people go there and
become fans and they go look and they see this stuff that
Iím incredibly proud of.
Mr. Show was my life and it was my voice and I will always
be super proud of having created and run that show with
David Cross and the material we did. Iím always happy when
people can find a way to see it. Itís not easy to find.
But the question of whether it bums me out that Iím more
well-known or people donít know, actually Iím excited about,
I like the idea of keeping these things a little bit
separate. I donít know. I guess I like the idea of being
kind of able to do different things and really kind of have
people not know. I donít know whether Iím titillated by that
or I think itís a useful quality. Itís sort of likeóI donít
know. Itís just something I always wanted to be able to do
was to do a variety of things and do them well and not beÖ,
but to actually do them well. I think itís cool that people
donít know about some of them and they know some and they
donít know others. I think thatís kind of neat.
Jason Thank you very much, and you have every right to be
proud of Mr. Show, so thanks again.
Bob Thanks, buddy, thank you.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Kristyn Clarke
with Pop Culture Madness. Please go ahead.
Kristyn Bob, thank you so much for speaking with us today.
Bob Youíre welcome.
Kristyn Iím curious to know what do you think will resonate
the most with viewers about the show? Do you think that we
have a fascination with looking at the darker side of
Bob Absolutely, why do you think they have the all Hitler
Bob What is that channel called, History? Oh I donít know
what itís called, but there seems to always be a Hitler
documentary on 24/7. Yes, I think people from the safety of
their homes are fascinated with watching brutality and the
kind of heightened pure evil that Billy Bob [Thornton] plays
and this is entertaining and thankfully I think a little
unreal. I think everybody feels that and thatís what makes
it okay. Itís fun because we all agree that thereís an
artifice to it, so yes I do think people are entertained by
that itís clear; and I donít think thereís anything wrong
with it as long as it establishes its rules and it
establishes its reality/unreality quotient or scale and then
sticks to it. I think the show does that and does it very
well and thatís a tribute to Noah Hawley. Thatís not an easy
thing to get right.
Kristyn Great, thank you so much.
Bob Youíre welcome.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Louie Schultz
and please state your media outlet.
Louie Hypable.com. Hello, Bob, how are you doing?
Bob Good, man.
Louie I was [indiscernible] Fargo and Nebraska Iíve noticed
youíve been taking a lot of Midwestern projects and youíre
from Illinois. Is there anything about those specifically
that drives you to them, or is it just a matter of the
Bob The writing is what draws me to them. I do think I
probably relate to the stories being told in those projects
and to the people being presented in those stories, so yes,
youíre right. These are Midwestern stories and Midwestern
people and I relate to them. I always, by the way, I always
feel like I donít know what Vince [Gilligan] is going to
decide, but on this new show, I always felt ďSaulĒ was from
Chicago originally. Of course, I sound like a Chicagoan, so
that probably forces his hand. But anyhow, yes, I relate to
those people and Iím one of those people and thatís probably
why Iím attracted to these.
Louie I also had a similar feeling about ďSaul,Ē so I hope
Bob Yes, weíll see, weíll see soon.
Louie All right, thank you.
Bob All right, man.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Melissa
Girimonte with The Televixen. Please go ahead.
Melissa Hello, Bob, it is such a pleasure to speak with you
Bob Good to talk to you. Televixen.
Melissa Yes, weíre a Toronto based television site.
Bob And youíre all vixens?
Melissa No, weíre mostly women and weíre women who like kick
butt television like Fargo and Breaking Bad and all that
type of stuff, so.
Melissa Yes, so what I was curious to know is that with some
of your roles, you tend to add some lightness to an
otherwise dark story without being the ďcomic relief.Ē Is
there anything that you consciously do when playing these
roles to keep that balance in check, or are there any
challenges to achieving that in your performance?
Bob Yes, there is a challenge and it is a conscious effort
that you have to make or I have to make to try to get it to
the right place, so that it belongs in the world that Iím
playing in and isnít outsized too big. I think sometimes I
do feel constrained and I want to be funny. Iíve had
actually one or two instances where I asked if I could just
do a silly version of the scene and then I just do a really
crazy version and itís like I have to get that out of my
system; and then I can go back to playing it in a more
restrained and lower key manner. But I do enjoy doing both
and I think one of the fun things about doing a drama is
that you can modulate to a very low level your turns and
twists and your little spins and you can get a big laugh out
of small choices.
Melissa Great, thank you so much. I canít wait to see more.
Bob Thank you.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Brandon Rowe
with Spoiler TV. Please go ahead.
Brandon Hello, Bob.
Bob Hello, Brandon.
Brandon Itís obvious that Fargo is a very different form of
a dramedy than is really common on TV, so after being a part
of such a well written and different dramedy, how do you
predict that Fargo will compare to Better Call Saul in terms
of balancing drama with comedy?
Bob Wow, thatís a good question. First of all, I havenít
read anything from Better Call Saul, so I donít know
anything except the vibe Iíve gotten. I guess Iíd have to
say the vibe Iíve gotten is that that show is going to be
pretty intense and dark, so I think Fargo might be more
overtly comic and lighter than Saul, but thatís just
conjecture based on guesswork based on wishes on the wind.
But the thing is, like I just told the last interviewer,
when things get dark around me in character, I find moments
to play things to make things funny. Itís good; itís
something to play against. Itís really a great vibe to have
around you and find these funny little moments, so I think
Iíll be making it funny.
Brandon Thanks. Youíre a fantastic actor and really Iíve
enjoyed Fargo and I look forward to the rest of the season
and Better Call Saul in November, so thank you.
Bob Thanks so much.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Amy Harrington
with Pop Culture Passions. Please go ahead.
Amy Hello, Bob, itís Pop Culture Passionistas. Weíre really
happy to talk to you today. Weíre big fans.
Bob Thank you so much.
Amy So this show has so many great twists and turns, so we
were wondering how far in advance did you know what was
going to happen to ďBill;Ē and in general as an actor, how
far in advance do you like to know where the plot is going?
Bob I actually donít like to know anything about where itís
going. I feel like my job as an actor is to play the
character in the moment that I am doing and not have a sense
of what could happen next and be as surprised as the
character is by that when it happens and not lay any
groundwork that comes from foresight that a real person
wouldnít have about their fortunes. Did I answer your
Amy Yes, you did. Thank you so much. Itís a pleasure talking
to you and best of luck with the show and your upcoming
Bob Thanks so much.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Jamie
Steinberg with Starry Constellations.
Jamie Hello, itís such a pleasure to speak with you.
Bob Thank you.
Jamie I was wondering was there anything about this role
that you added that wasnít originally scripted for you?
Bob I put the moustache on and I got the Super Cuts haircut,
those werenít in the script, but other than that, I did it
the way it was written to me. Youíd have to ask Noah Hawley
if I added something that he didnít write or intend. I know
that he changed things in later episodes and he was writing
Episode 8, 9, and 10 when we were shooting the first couple
and so maybe I did spin the character; I donít know. That
would have to be something heíd have to answer, but the only
things I added were the moustache and the Super Cuts haircut
and everyone was very accepting of that.
Jamie Youíre part of social media. Are you enjoying the
instant feedback youíve been getting from fans after the
Bob You know, I approached the social media with a lot of
fear and trepidation. I probably shouldnít. People have been
very kind and accepting, but I think that can fly any which
way. You can fall into a period of acceptance and
encouragement coming from strangers and you can easily flow
into a time of condemnation and anger. It just seems to be
this kind ofóthereís a bit of a mob mentality that takes
place there and you canít trust it. Itís not particularly
trustworthy, so you got to be careful about that. I do
Twitter and I do have a Facebook page and I do look at the
comments, but I donít try to take them too seriously,
whether theyíre positive or negative.
Iím just glad people are watching these things. You need
that first. You need people to give you a chance, and then
if itís in general positive, thatís great.
Jamie Thank you so much.
Bob Thank you.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Earl Dittman
with Digital Journal. Please go ahead.
Earl Hello, Bob, how are you doing?
Bob Good, man, how are you?
Earl Doing great. Itís an incredible performance; it sounded
like you had a great time making Fargo. Was there one aspect
that was really challenging for you that you obviously
accomplished, but that you initially went in thinking this
might be challenging for me out of the whole production?
Bob On Fargo?
Earl Yes. Iíll give you a hintó
Bob I have some scenes that in the latter half of the season
that took some concentration and effort, but thatís
incredibly rewarding. I think that acting is no fun unless
itís hard. Iím not titillated by acting or being an actor
unless I have to work hard because otherwise youíre just a
prop that talks, but if you have to struggle to feel those
feelings and to understand where the person is, the
character youíre playing, and you can feel like you can get
there with some truth and dignity for the character, even if
itís an undignified scenario or situation, then that can
feel really great. It really can be a trip into another
personís experience and itís really rewarding.
So, yes, I would say there are some scenes in eight, nine,
and ten that where you see a whole Ďnother side of ďBillĒ
and those were work, but they were great. Iím not
intimidated by it; Iím thankful for it.
Earl Martin [Freeman] and Billy Bob said that one of the
other things about doing Fargo was the nice chilly weather
in Calgary. How did you handle that?
Bob Iím from Chicago originally, so I laughed at that cold
wind. I laughed at their plus 15. You know what a plus 15
Bob Okay. Iíve been in Los Angeles for 20+ years, so it was
the usual acclimation process of two or three days of like,
really? People live here why again? Do they know LA exists?
But I also experienced it a lot as a kid, until I was 25 I
lived in Illinois and in Chicago mostly. Calgary is cold,
for sure, but itís sunny most days, which Chicago can go a
week and a half, two weeks without sun. Thatís a bummer. And
also itís theyíve got the Chinooks there. Do you know what
the Chinooks are?
Earl I think so.
Bob Chinooks are these winds that I believe come across the
mountains from the ocean and it doesnít get as cold in
general. They have a few days every winter where it gets
brutal, but in general itís kind of a livable cold.
Now having said that, it was every time I would go there and
I would ask the people at the hotel as I came in howís the
weather been and I would get these smiles and I would get
this upbeat response that did not match up to the
information that they would give me, which was, itís been
great. Itís four out. Itís been so nice. Yesterday it was
two. Itís like are you joking? But no, they meant it; for
them it was a wonderful day when it was 4į thatís Celsius.
Earl I appreciate the time and thanks for another great
performance and I canít wait to see more.
Bob Thank you so much.
Earl Thank you, Bob.
Kristy It looks like we have time for two more questions.
Moderator Okay. We have a question from the line of Jamie
Ruby with SciFiVision.com. Please go ahead.
Jamie Hello, again. So weíve talked about what was
challenging, but do you have like a particular favorite
scene that youíve done so far?
Bob For sure. You havenít seen it yet. You mean in Fargo,
Jamie Yes, yes.
Bob I canít tell you.
Jamie Okay, how about from the first few then, do you have a
Bob The scene where we confront ďLesterĒ in his house and
Iím sort of begrudgingly doing it; ďMollyĒ is forcing me to
question him. It was on the episode two nights ago. It was
so fun to play because Iím not helping and if you watch me
in it, my character ďBillĒ is kind of distracted the whole
time; you donít get a whole lot of it, but when I played it,
it was really funny. Martin, I think I almost made him laugh
because heís very in focus and intensive character, because
he can feel this pressure coming at him. Meanwhile, Iím
looking around the room drinking the grapes drink, talking
about Hubba Bubba. Totally my brain is like thereís like a
couple of gnats in my head flying around. Heís not present
really. That was really fun to play.
Jamie Thank you so much.
Moderator We have a question from the line of Preston Barta
with North Texas Daily. Please go ahead.
Preston Hello again. Iím calling on the behalf of my
university, so most of us are really curious if you could
teach a college course of your creation, what do you think
you would teach?
Bob Wow, what a great question.
Preston Thank you.
Bob My God, thatís going to take me a second to think about.
I think that I would want college kids to recognize the
difference between the legends that are printed about people
and their achievement in their careers and their lives and
the realities. I would encourage college kids to try to see
and take apart the kind of stories they hear and are told
and tell each other about making it, becoming yourself,
becoming important or becoming fully who you are or
fulfilling your life and the realities of life and stories.
Because I think for me show business was an impossibility
when I was in college, it was just something that I didnít
even consider until my last year of college, even though Iíd
been writing comedy and performing every single day in
college. I had radio shows. I had performances I did. I made
tapes. I put groups together, but I never thought Iíd do it
for a living because I donít even know anyone who ever did
that and it seemed like an impossibility. And even when I
got into it and even when I wrote for Saturday Night Live
for four years and even when I came to LA, I still thought
of it as not real and that was in a good way. Obviously it
probably made me work hard because I felt like this is
almost an impossible thing Iím trying to do, so I have to
work really, really hard to try to make it happen.
But it also had its negative sides to it and I think that a
realistic, an ability to be real about your chances and
about what people do to make it in any business is helpful
to a college kid to make good choices. Itís to not make
anything seem too hard because you are capable of almost
anything you want to set out to do, but also obviously itís
not good to believe itís too easy, but the kind of kid that
I was in college didnít think that what Iím doing now would
be anything like easy. And it isnít easy, but itís also not
impossible and, as a result, you can make plans and you can
make an effort to get those things that you want; you can
make a realistic plan to do it. You should open your mind up
to what you can do because these things are all possible and
in the end when you finally arrive at them, theyíre not as
glamorous as they look from afar, either, so just trying to
make these a realistic vision or achievement and effort and
pursuing your dreams.
Preston Great, thank you so much.
Bob What would you call that class, Dreams 101?
Preston Yes, Iíd say thatís accurate.
Bob All right.
Preston Have a good rest of your day.
Bob Okay, cool, man.
Kristy Thank you so much to everybody for joining us today
and especially Bob. We really appreciate your time.
Bob Thank you to all of you.
Kristy As a reminder, Fargo airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.
Eastern and Pacific only on FX. A complete transcript of
this call will be emailed to everyone within approximately
72 hours and you may now disconnect.
Bob All right.
Moderator That does conclude our conference for today. Thank
you for your participation and using AT&T Executive
TeleConference Service. You may now disconnect.
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