FX debuts its new limited run series “Fargo” next Tuesday, and star Martin Freeman talked with the media in a conference call Thursday about the upcoming show and the inevitable comparisons to the film of the same name. For Freeman in particular, many have been drawing comparisons to William H. Macy’s character in the 1996 film because of their similar meek characteristics. But rest assured, Freeman’s portrayal of Lester Nygaard is his own creation.
“The reason I didn’t go back and watch ‘Fargo’ was because I didn’t really want that in my head, either way,” said the actor, who has most recently starred in “The Hobbit” as Bilbo Baggins. “I didn’t want it my head to copy or to consciously differ from. Because as soon as you try and differ yourself from someone, you’re becoming too conscious of that performance anyway.”
Despite the comparisons, Freeman denied any sense of pressure to live up to an actor like Macy. But like critics and movie fans alike, he gave props to the celebrated actor.
“So, no, I didn’t feel pressure in that way,” said Freeman. “You’re quite right, he’s a brilliant actor and the world doesn’t need another actor doing a Bill Macy impression and I don’t need to be doing that and he doesn’t need it and all of that. So, I purely treated it as my performance of a different character, albeit with some comparison. There are some parallels, but I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing with ‘Lester’ really. At the risk of protesting too much, I know I’m not playing that.”
“Fargo” debuts April 15 on FX. The series is a limited 10-episode run, featuring a new story set in the world created by the Coen Brothers in the film of the same name, but with a fresh cast of characters and actors, including Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, Keith Carradine, Kate Walsh, Oliver Platt and Adam Goldberg. But with the same Minnesota friendly, and of course, a little murder.