There are several nefarious characters populating “Fargo,” the new drama on FX that’s set in the world of the Coen brothers’ movie of the same name, but perhaps none are so villainous as Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench, who come to town to investigate Sam Hess’ death. Adam Goldberg (Numbers) tells Zap2it that there isn’t a lot of background information for these two thugs, but that’s the way he prefers it in this case.
“They’re from Fargo! That’s the thing about this world, who are
these people?” says Goldberg. “Some of them are ideas. I think of our
characters [Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench] as having sort of existed forever and sort of never before.
Basically we work for the Fargo crime syndicate and that’s really it.
“Hess is obviously involved in some sort of activity, but
again, I think the specifics of these guys are sort of beside the point
a little bit. Mysterious things come from Fargo, evil lurks there.
Fargo is kind of a metaphor. … We’re not characters that are
really about — what you see is what you get, and then you can kind of
fill in the blanks. All I really know about us we’re an old married
When told that “old married couple” is verbatim what we have noted down about Numbers and Wrench, Goldberg laughs and says, “That’s the only information we were ever really given.
We’ve known each other forever, we’ve been doing this for eternity. But I
didn’t want to invest in some pseudo-biography because I think in some
instances, that kind of interferes with my acting. I found this kind of
liberating to be from nowhere. That’s why I don’t have an
“Not always, but in this case, to work without any
definition, instead of some sort of totally down-to-earth structure, it
opens things up for just creating a guy,” he continues. “I only wanted to know what
the character would know. That’s a great acting excuse for potentially
being lazy [laughs] but having said that, we’re these automatons on this very specific mission so you don’t need a lot of background.”
Part of the Mr. Numbers character that we love is the giant fur coat he wears around Bemidji, which Goldberg jokes was an acting choice. “Yes, that was one of those gray areas where the actor decides that
what’s best for his character on a day that’s minus 30 degrees is to wear a
fur coat and then the costume designer agrees [laughs]. … [Billy Bob Thornton] hates the cold as much as I do, so it was
really nice to have somebody as pissed off and funny about how f***ing
miserable it was outside.
“He’s definitely top five funniest people I’ve
ever met, he is really f***ing funny. Smart, smart as hell and really
funny. Across the board, everybody is terrific,” says Goldberg. “The crew is one of the best crews I’ve ever worked with, they were terrific. In that regard, we were all very fortunate. It was just some very unpleasant circumstances, climate-wise.”
“Fargo” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.