On FX’s Tuesday-night drama “Fargo,” inspired by the movie of the same name by the Coen Brothers (who are executive producers on the TV version), “Sherlock” and “Hobbit” star Martin Freeman plays small-town Minnesota insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, who kills his wife and winds up under the spell of a mysterious drifter (Billy Bob Thornton).
Zap2it has a few questions about Freeman’s excellent Minnesota (OK, actually Calgary, Canada) adventure …
Zap2it: Is small-town Minnesota insurance salesman Lester Nygaard your first American role?
Martin Freeman: Professionally, he might be — certainly my first high-profile Yank. It’s not something that I’m called upon to do very often at all. I work hard at every job I do, but it’s partly why I want to get it right. I want to get it as right as I can. I didn’t want to be the limey f***ing it up.
Zap2it: What sort of a man is he?
Freeman: What’s written is not an archetypal anything, certainly not an archetypal American. It could be argued, from an English and maybe American point of view, that Americans have slightly higher confidence than English people, generally speaking.
You have a much more optimistic culture, which may impact on people’s self-confidence a bit more, just an ease with even sitting down. “This is my right; this is my chair; this is my table; thank you very much,” as opposed to, “May I sit here? Whose is this?” Lester is more that. Lester is far more, “Whose is this chair? May I sit down?” He is a very un-Yank Yank. He’s a very unsure, adrift person.
Zap2it: What’s special about this?
Freeman: Writing. It’s absolute gold dust, and we want to do good writing. We’ll do writing that we relate to in some way, whether it’s words or actions or just playing something intelligent and adult, for grown-ups.