Billy Bob Thornton talks Fargo and Technology in film & tv

Billy Bob Thornton talks Fargo and Technology in film & tv


There's no doubt that FX's Fargo has been a smash hit. The television show greatly succeeded in capturing the same quirky and unique nuances of the North Dakota town the way the film did. And don' t cha know, just like the film, the quirkiness is perfectly offset with a menacing darkness the villains bring to the screen.

This time around, Billy Bob Thornton stands out as Fargo's big, bad wolf, Lorne Malvo. Malvo is as sinister as he is mysterious. We don't know exactly who he is, where he came from, or why he does the things he does.

Billy Bob Thornton shed some light on what it's like to play Malvo over the phone this past Friday. He also stated why Malvo is unlike any character he has ever played:


Well, I think it's probably the only character I've ever played frankly, that has no... not only a conscience, but he has no back story in the story. So I chose to not think about that. Because Malvo's kind of... he's an animal and animals are eating machines.

I thought if I come up with a back story, like, "Oh his father locked him in a shed when he was little" or something, that might cause too much emotion for the character. It might give me too many reasons to do things. I didn't want to do that.

So it's the first time I didn't have a back story in my head or otherwise. Malvo's all about... he has a job to do and whatever he has to do to do it, that's what he does. And he has supreme confidence, he doesn't think about failure. He's not afraid of anything. I was afraid that a back story might mess with that a little bit.


As Billy Bob Thornton has had a long, illustrious career in film, I was curious what kind of effect he thought technology is having on motion pictures and television:

Well I try to ignore the technology as much as I can when I'm playing a role. I try to stay in the snow and the trees and with the people more. So I try not to think about the technology whatsoever.

I think in some ways, technology has really helped us, but I wish it would kind of be relegated to the medical field and business and stuff like that, rather than art, to tell you the truth. I see a day coming when we're not going to be using film anymore at all.

I'm not sure why we need to see every pimple. But that's the way it is now. I just try to ignore it as much as possible. 

The Season finale of Fargo is Tuesday night, 9:00 pm central.

Scott King is a contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal and RedEye Chicago. @ScottKingMedia on Twitter. 

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Tags: Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

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