01 December 2020 04:42

This is our past, and I think it’s important to include it in our stories.

mike milligan

"Storia Americana" brought to an end the tale of two warring 1950 Kansas City crime families led on one side by Chris Rock's calculating Loy Cannon and on the other by Jason Schwartzman's erratic Josto Fadda. Jones III) — who, it appears, will grow up to be Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine), the scene-stealing gangster of "Fargo" Season 2 — and Ethelrida Pearl Smutney (E'myri Crutchfield), a young girl whose family is ensnared in the conflict. Here, "Fargo" showrunner Noah Hawley speaks with Variety about the significance of those two characters, the unique challenges of Season 4 and what the future holds for the anthology series. It feels like the story benefits from it. But yeah, in July, when it looked like you're actually going to be able to go back [into production], my first thought was that Rodney might have grown.

‘Fargo’ Showrunner Noah Hawley Reveals What Happens Between Season 4 Finale and the Beginning of Season 2

And then yeah, in the 10th hour, we had to we had to turn things from bad to good to bad again. But certainly in going through the process of prepping for that additional photography, I went through both scripts and made sure that I was only asking the production to film things that were critical to the episodes. I don't think there was anything. Whatever it is that I cut, which I can't even remember now, that's the way it's meant to be. So I didn't feel like I missed anything when I watched those hours. I think he was pretty adamant that it had to be that mustache, and he didn't want to shave it and grow another one. I know that that Salvatore [Esposito], who played Gaetano, lost a lot of weight between when when we wrapped and when we came back. But I don't think you notice. You've said in the past that a big part of this season was telling the origin story of Mike Milligan from Season 2. What, in your mind, happens between Satchel being on the porch and watching his father die and the moment where we meet Mike years later in Season 2? I feel like when when you are the son of the king and king gets killed, then you are not safe anymore. So my feeling is that that family was not able to stay in that house, that their source of revenue dried up, that they went through some hard times, and that then, ultimately, Satchel did not have a lot of opportunity in his life and had to fall back on the skills he learned from Rabbi. Rabbi said to him, "I don't want you to be a child soldier like I was." But on some level, the moment his dad was killed in front of him, he didn't really have a choice. Then I think he had to change his name, because being a Cannon was not a safe thing to be. Then at a certain point, having laundered his identity, he started pulling jobs of some kind and ended up getting in with with the Kansas City mafia, which is ultimately that what Ebal created out of the Fadda family business. The speech that Ebal gives Josto about family business being crazy because families are crazy, is that the seed for the version of the mob that Mike walks into at the end of Season 2 that is functioning almost like a corporate entity? Yeah, and it's echoed in Season 2 by Joe Bulo, who at that point is played by Brad Garrett, where he talks to Jean [Smart, who plays Floyd Gerhardt], and he says, "That's why you can't have a family business, because one of my guys steps out of line, I break his arm; he speaks out of turn, I cut out his tongue; but what are you gonna do with your sons?" So that is the kind of origin — we see Ebal watching this crazy family psychodrama and formulating this no-family business, hierarchical ideal, and then putting it into into practice. It feels like there is something significant notion that is now repeating in the series that a small family business just won't do. Yeah, I mean, it's not how business used to be. There came a moment, not in the '50s, but certainly by the '70s and heading into the greed-is-good '80s where corporations themselves were not so profit-, shareholder-driven. But ultimately, a family business is a humane and human endeavor. In fact, in a corporation, the first thing that you do is create a board of directors and a decision-making hierarchy in which no one person is responsible for any decision — which means that no one person's morality is driving any decision and it becomes much easier to make decisions that aren't good for anybody. In the finale, when Josto and Oraetta are executed, there's a moment where Jessie Buckley as Oraetta is looking at her warped reflection, and it reminded me of Billy Bob Thornton's character in Season 1. Yeah, I mean, I think that whether it's Anton Chigurh in "No Country For Old Men" or Peter Stormare in "Fargo" or the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse in "Raising Arizona" — and I would include John Goodman in "Barton Fink" in there — there's always these characters in Coen Brothers movies where you think this is not a human being, this is the kind of elemental force that has always been blowing through the American wilderness; a kind of demonic force. I don't know if you noticed, but in the black and white episode, there were a lot of historical markers, combined with the haunting of of Ethelrida's family. In Season 3, we had our mystical bowling alley, and the story of the Rabbi Nachman and the mass grave. This is our past, and I think it's important to include it in our stories. Throughout the four seasons, there have only been maybe three or four characters who are just good and smart. And Ethelrida is that character in this season. How important was that character to the telling of this season's story? In the superstructure of "Fargo," whatever the story, it's a morality tale. And it is ultimately, the story, as the movie is, about a kind of pure, good character on the one side, and real evil on the opposite side. So whether it's Allison Tolman or Carrie Coon or Patrick Wilson, or this season Ethelrida, there are these characters who [are] just decent people. And I think it's critical. You can't tell these stories without that decency, that core American decency. And the fear ultimately is not that violence will be done from one character to another, I think, but that that decency itself is in danger. We went for a long period, starting with "The Shield," where a lot of our heroes on TV were these demon-hunting, anti-heroes who had sacrificed whatever goodness was in them to protect us from the real evil that was out there — these sort-of haunted characters. And it's so exhausting to invest in those characters versus this decency. It's riskier, because decent people run the risk of not only being injured, but becoming jaded. It didn't occur to me until you you listed those characters there, but when you did, it did strike me that they all play white cops. This season, that role is a Black teenage girl. And whether or not it's intentional, what does it say about about the story you wanted to tell this season and how it differed from the stories you told before? I knew that the story was therefore going to center around the experience of white people. And so when I thought about that moral pillar in the story, I thought, well, I could make it a cop again. Have you given thought yet to whether you want to do another season? I said for three years that I was done, and then I wasn't, so I'm not going to say that. I have started to think about it. I don't think it would be the next thing I do, but I do think there's a more contemporary story percolating for me. So I have to put a lot of it in place in my head and really make sure that it's worthy of joining these 41 hours. I don't want to try and make another one unless I think, "Oh, we have to make this one.

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