Patrick Wilson Wanted to “Capture the Spirit” of Lou Solverson

Patrick Wilson had a big moment in episode three of Fargo‘s second season, where his character, Minnesota cop Lou Solverson, faces down the criminal Gerhardt family in a tense meeting outside the Gerhardt compound.

Between takes, however, Wilson’s mood was considerably lighter. It almost felt like a family reunion to him.

“First of all, I was so excited to do that scene because you’ve got Jean Smart, who played my mother in Barry Munday,” Wilson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “You’ve got Angus [Sampson] playing Bear — we did two Insidious movies, and I do more with him in Fargo than I did in two Insidious movies with him. Jeffrey [Donovan] I’ve known — we’ve got mutual friends. He knows my brother, and a couple of his college buddies are my friends, so it was a very, very cool, exciting set.”

Wilson also discussed playing a version of a character audiences have already met, the unconventional place he turned for advice on set and playing an adult in the period when, in real life, he was just a kid.

You’ve said that neither you nor Noah Hawley wanted to do an impression of Keith Carradine’s Lou from season one, but it does seem like you studied some things about the character.

What I wanted to do was capture the soul that I saw him give, really — the soul of his performance. I never talked to Keith about it. What I gleaned from his performance is that [Lou] is a very steady guy, a very solid guy. Don’t make light of his folksy nature; he means business. That’s what [showrunner] Noah [Hawley] was probably talking about too. He didn’t want me to get caught up in feeling like I needed to do an exact replica.

What’s interesting is walking away from it, with a combination of the writing and my wanting to capture the spirit of it, I think they’re pretty closely related. I can kind of watch it objectively. It’s not like I was trying to do something totally different. It just wasn’t a performance where you sit there and listen to speech patterns and [look at] the way he walks and try to establish exactly what he did.

The show is set in a time when you were six years old. Can you contrast living in that time with the character with what you remember from then?

I certainly have memories, I remember ’79. It’s always fascinating to play somebody from a different time, because even though you may have been alive, you certainly weren’t dealing with adult issues. Even looking at things like waiting in line for gas, and we’ll see it in the coming episodes, Reagan coming into power and campaigning. Those sort of politics I find very interesting now. … What’s fun is to look back on it with the obvious innocence of hindsight. That’s always fun, to play someone not understanding where the country was going, when obviously we know where it went.

You don’t want to get too caught up in, “Am I playing all the themes of the series?” The show is so well-written that you can go along for the ride for a lot of that. You take what you can use, and I think one of those is — my father was in the military. He did not go to Vietnam; he was transferred to Panama. I had some other relatives who did go to Vietnam, and I always wondered what it was like coming back.

Not to go on a non-sequitur here, but I remember going to a midnight showing of Platoon with my dad. The whole back of the theater was vets in wheelchairs. That hit me at 15. … As a filmgoer, you really got that and Born on the Fourth of July for our generation [to understand] what was it like coming back. Lou is a different side — of course he’s a vet, but the war hit him differently. … That is fascinating to me. I’ve always been strangely obsessed with what that is — what men go through, the violence within men, what happens when men see that kind of violence. That’s something that was really rewarding to explore.

Lou is really good at compartmentalizing — how does he handle it?

He definitely compartmentalizes it, and as a Midwesterner, I’m sure it’s even moreso. … These are not the passionate, Southern people I grew up with who scream and yell at dinner and throw the whiskey back. That’s not Lou. Obviously he deals with that horror a much different way. That’s incredibly exciting to play.

Did you talk much with Noah about playing what was under that placid surface?

A couple times. And then with each director — we had some who were more emotionally driven and some who were more technically different, and that’s always interesting. … There were only a handful of times where it was, “Let’s bring this out a little more.” And they had been with Noah and discussed it with Noah. So even if Noah or the other writers weren’t on set — that is one thing about this show. There is a tone through-line from showrunner to writers to directors to actors that is pretty seamless. I think that reflects in the work. Every time you talked to a director, you knew they had talked extensively with Noah about this moment. … That was a real blessing.

What will the fallout be from Ben Smith [Keir O’Donnell] not having Lou’s back with the Gerhardts?

With Ben, that will come to a head. I don’t think that’s shocking to anyone. He and I spend a lot of time together, because while Lou wants to pursue this, Lou also respects [Ben’s] jurisdiction. Keir and I, I just love working with that guy. Keir is just an awesome guy and such a solid actor to be able to go from drama to comedy. As the story goes on, he’s got some amazing moments. I love that push and pull with him, the different styles of police work, the different types of people he and Lou are. And he’s also a vet. So why did his experience make him this kind of cop, and why did mine inform the way that I act? That is a great relationship.

And now that he’s on the family’s radar, presumably there’s more confrontation to come?

I relished those moments [with the Gerhardts]. The still photographer on set was a former cop for about 30 years. So every take I would run up to him and say “How do I look? Am I holding the gun right?” He was so helpful to me. It was just little things, like keeping your hand always on your piece.

Those moments where the strength of Lou’s stillness [shows], that was in there. There are all these crazy characters around you — you’ve got the German frau in front of you. You’ve got Angus eating with the filthy cast, and then Donovan rolls in like a crazy villain. (Laughs.) That was one of those moments — there are some very character-defining moments. Then you see your buddy cop that has no respect — he obviously realizes, ‘Wow, these guys just own you,’ and that is not the way I roll. I loved just sitting back into my holster and saying, “Bring it.” That was a big episode for Lou’s character. … He’s understated so much that you have to see him in those situations, both with Donovan and with Bokeem [Woodbine] that you go, ‘OK, that’s the type of cop he is.’ That sets itself pretty good going forward.

I also want to ask about working with Cristin Milioti. There are a few things going on there, with Betsy’s cancer and her being a cop’s daughter, but you two seemed to settle in really well.

We did from the get-go. There were some of those dinner table scenes where you see she is her father’s daughter. And what’s really fun is to see how that translates into Molly. You see how Molly takes after both of them, both mom and dad and grandpa. That’s cool. It’s very exciting for fans of the show. All of the values and the strength that Allison [Tolman, who played Lou’s daughter Molly] had in season one, you see here how that starts.

Fargo airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on FX.


Patrick Wilson Wanted to “Capture the Spirit” of Lou Solverson

Ted Danson and Patrick Wilson Discuss the True Story of ?Fargo

This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 1979. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

So begins the new season of Fargo. If that opening sounds familiar, that’s because a variation of it also appears at the start of each episode of the first season. And at the start of the 1996 Coen brothers’ film this series is based on.

Danson and Wilson play father and son-in-law but they have a connection that goes beyond Fargo. They are both proud Carnegie Mellon alumni, and share a bond over the Pennsylvania university. It is that, combined with the fact that Wilson and Danson are, ahem, beyond their days of going out for late nights with the cast, which has seen a fast friendship form.

“It’s very funny because there are several people that are – and I’m not by any means old, nor am I saying that I’m old, nor am I saying that Ted’s old – but there are several people in their 20s and 30s that like to go out and have fun, whereas he and I, we’ve got wives and kids and things like that,” says Wilson. “I enjoy having a nice dinner and then I’d like to go to bed. He’s a big foodie too, so we went out to dinner a lot.”

Wilson’s name normally appears on the credits for the silver screen, not the small (you may recognise him from films such as Watchmen, or Insidious), but he is enjoying his stint on this distinguished series. “Everybody gets a moment in this thing. Every character has some character-defining moment. That is a hard thing to do because there’s a lot of mouths to feed on this show,” he says. “Sometimes you’ll get these little moments in tiny character-driven movies, you know, it’s hard to find those in studio movies anymore, where you feel ‘man I love this guy I’ve got every facet to play here’, and we’ve all had that.”

Source – Read the entire interview here!


Ted Danson and Patrick Wilson Discuss the True Story of ?Fargo

Patrick Wilson joins Fargo Season 2

Good news for Patrick, he’s joining Fargo season 2!

Putting FX’s “Fargo” at No.1 on my list of 2014’s Best TV Shows has not, apparently, landed me magic casting power on the second season. FX announced casting for the season’s lead on Thursday (January 8) and, sorry Twitter followers and podcast listeners, it’s not Joel Kinnaman.

Patrick Wilson is set to play Young Lou Solverson, Vietnam veteran and clean-cut Minnesota State Patrolman, the character who was played by Keith Carradine in the anthology’s Emmy-winning first season.

While I will continue to insist that side-by-side pictures of 1975 Keith Carradine and 2015 Joel Kinnaman would have made this a no-brainer, Wilson’s a pretty fine choice. The “Little Children” and “Watchmen” star was an Emmy nominee in 2004 for “Angels in America” and should been nominated for an Emmy for “Girls” in 2013. Wilson’s most recent regular TV role was on CBS’ short-lived “A Gifted Man.”

Lou’s wife Betsy has yet to be cast, nor has four-year-old Molly, though my proposal of Allison Tolman wearing shoes on her knees remains available.

Also landing regular roles for the season are multiple Emmy winners Jean Smart and Ted Danson, joining previously announced Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons.

Danson, who will be completing his work on “CSI” before beginning production on “Fargo,” will play Hank Larsson, sheriff in Rock County, Minnesota and Lou’s father-in-law. Hank is described as “an unflappable WWII vet who embodies a certain cowboy poetry.”

Smart will play Floyd Gerhardt, the matriarch of a Midwestern crime family finally getting to take control after 40 years of standing by her husband.

In addition to those three regulars, an assortment of recurring “Fargo” players have been announced.

That casting is as follows:

*** Nick Offerman will play Karl Weathers, the town lawyer for Luverne, Minnesota. Karl is “a Korean War vet, Karl is a flowery drunk blessed with the gift of gab and the eloquence of a true con artist.”

*** Brad Garrett will play Joe Bulo, frontman for a new crime syndicate trying to push in from Kansas City, while Bokeem Woodbine will play Joe’s enforcer Mike Milligan.

*** Jeffrey Donovan is set as Dodd Gerhardt, Floyd’s eldest son, a hothead who isn’t pleased to now be reporting to his mother. Angus Sampson will play Bear Gerhardt, Floyd’s middle son, with Kieran Culkin as youngest Gerhardt Rye.

Production on “Fargo” Season 2 begins on January 19 in Calgary. The 10-episode prequel anthology will premiere next fall on FX.


Patrick Wilson joins Fargo Season 2