With only a little more than a month to go until the fourth "installment" of Noah Hawley and season star Chris Rock's Fargo makes its way onto FX screens on April 19 (available the following day on FX on Hulu), the actor-writer-comedian saw down with EW to discuss the anthology series. From how he views his crime lord Loy Cannon and if he had an reservations taking the role to the challenges he faced and why this season is so unique, here are some of the highlights (check out the rest of the interview here):
● The only initial reservations Rock had about taking the role was the time it would keep him away from his family, how long production would take – and that Chicago is really, really cold:
"The only reason not to do it was personal. I was going to be away from my family. It's a long commitment. I've been filming this since September in Chicago and I'm not done. And it's freakin' cold. They film a lot of it outside. But one of the great things about acting in the cold is that the cold does some of the acting for you, so you don't have to fake it. The gray hair also helps me get into character, helps me not be Chris Rock, comedian guy. It takes a second for people to realize it's me, which is good."
● When it comes to what viewers can expect from his character and how he would describe him, Rock comapres Loy to a very familiar figure from one of television's modern classics:
"He's a businessman, he's a deacon at his church, he's a loving father and husband, he owns a bank, and he's also a criminal — he fixes fights and runs numbers and prostitution. He's always on edge. It's Tony Soprano-esque."
● For Rock, the most challenging part of production was doing right by the words – requiring him to always be "on" during filming:
"Noah does all these great monologues. And if you watch Fargo the camera is always moving. So you have a two-page monologue and the camera is moving like that, everything's got to be perfect. There's a ton of dialogue and it's so well written and it's all important. The smallest scene has tremendous meaning. There's no place to take a scene off. Everything requires a lot of thought ahead of time. There's nothing like, 'Just give me the pages, I'll say it now.'"
● As for what makes this season of Fargo so different from previous seasons, think big… very big:
"It's the biggest Fargo. The scale is tremendous. Fargo normally tells little stories that get out of hand. They're about ordinary people, something happens, and then we get to see how evil ordinary people can be. This is quite different. We start off gangsters, so we're beginning with bad people, and then it escalates."
In the teaser "Face Off" (followed by a season overview and official trailer), Rock's Loy Cannon is officially meeting face-to-face with the new head of the Fadda family: Josto (Jason Schwartzman). While not a single word is uttered by either, you can't help feeling Loy's already learned something essential about Josto…
He's definitely not his father…
In 1950, at the end of two great American migrations — that of Southern Europeans from countries like Italy, who came to the US at the turn of the last century and settled in northern cities like New York, Chicago — and African Americans who left the south in great numbers to escape Jim Crow and moved to those same cities — you saw a collision of outsiders, all fighting for a piece of the American dream.
In Kansas City, two criminal syndicates — one Italian, led by Donatello Fadda, one African American, led by Loy Cannon (Rock) — have struck an uneasy peace, which the heads of both families have cemented by trading their youngest sons.Together they control an alternate economy — that of exploitation, graft and drugs. This too is the history of America.
Cannon is the head of one family, a man who — in order to prosper — has surrendered his oldest boy to his enemy, and who must in turn raise his son's enemy as his own. It's an uneasy peace, but profitable. And then the head of the Kansas City mafia goes into the hospital for routine surgery and dies. And everything changes.
It's a story of immigration and assimilation, and the things we do for money. And as always, a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads. You know, Fargo.
FX's fourth installment of Fargo also stars Timothy Olyphant (Dick "Deafy" Wickware) Uzo Aduba (Zelmare Roulette), Jessie Buckley (Oraetta Mayflower), Salvatore Esposito (Gaetano Fadda), Andrew Bird (Thurman Smutney), Jeremie Harris (Leon Bittle), Gaetano Bruon (Constant Calamita), Anji White (Dibrell Smutney), Francesco Acquaroli (Ebal Violante), Emyri Crutchfield (Ethelrida Pearl Smutney), Amber Midthunder (Swanee Capps), Jack Huston (Odis Weff), Jason Schwartzman (Josto Fadda), Ben Whishaw (Rabbi Milligan), Glynn Turman (Doctor Senator), Corey Hendrix (Omie Sparkman), Karen Aldridge (Zelmare Roulette), Kelsey Asbille, and newcomer Matthew Elam.