Season four of Fargo is approaching, and its creator and writer Noah Hawley (Legion) has some things to say. FX’s midwest crime thriller debuts on Sunday, September 27, and Hawley sat down to discuss Chris Rock’s (Everybody Hates Chris) dramatic turn as a coldhearted mob boss with Entertainment Weekly.
Hawley adapted the 1996 Academy Award winning film Fargo into the frigid anthology series that takes place all over the midwest. There’s a new set of characters each season, telling mythic like tales of people getting in over their heads when they commit crime and murder. In season four, Hawley is taking audiences way back to the 1950s in Kansas City, when the mafia was at its peak. It follows the Black, Italian, Jewish, and Irish mob families as they collide with one another through guns, fights, and murder.
Rock plays Loy Cannon, the head of the Black crime family, performing a complete 180 with his grave and serious nature. As a comedian, Rock might not seem like an obvious choice for such a serious role, but Hawley never doubted his capability. On his casting decision, Hawley told Entertainment Weekly: “For me casting is instinctual on some level. I thought of the story and I thought of him. There’s the voice that Chris has and you think about him as an entrepreneur, as someone who started with very little, and who’s built his own reality. Literally, through his command of language and the stage he built a career for himself. And then, he’s aged, the way we’ve all aged, and has had some setbacks. If you watched his last [stand-up comedy] special, you know he’s learned some hard lessons. He just filled the right space for me.” For Rock, it was a no brainer to accept the part as he was already a fan of the show.
As Hawley tackled the story of writing about different crime families coming from various backgrounds, it was a challenge. He looked to Rock to help keep the story honest and authentic, telling Entertainment Weekly: “There was this scene in the first year in the first hour of him showing up at this bank and there was a guard outside the door who wouldn’t let him in through the “white” door. He had to go in through the “colored” door. He says in the script, “I have a meeting with the president of your bank and if he’s showing me the respect of sitting down with me, don’t you think I should get the respect of walking through this door?” I thought it said a lot about his hubris. And Chris said to me, “I’ve seen that scene in every historical drama.” And then he came to me with the idea of what if he gets stopped going out the “white” door. I’ve never seen that. Ultimately I ended having him come out through the wrong door and the guard saying, “Hey that’s the wrong door” and he doesn’t even turn his head. That ended up being a more powerful statement.”
Hawley has won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series for Fargo, as well as a Golden Globe and Writers Guild of America Award. Fargo is noted for its philosophical themes and exploration into the morality of everyday midwest Americans.