The first season of Fargo did the impossible — it took a revered movie and made it into an equally engrossing television series. But now the show has an equally daunting task: avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump that has plagued many first-season sensations (cough, True Detective, cough).
The story Fargo will tell when season 2 premieres on FX on Oct. 12 is actual a prequel. We saw Keith Carradine’s Lou Solverson reference a Sioux Falls massacre from his past in season 1; now we will head back to 1979 to watch it unfold for ourselves, with Patrick Wilson playing the young Lou.
Wilson stopped by Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) to chat about his new film Zipper (which comes out in theaters and VOD on Aug. 28) and also told us what to expect from season 2 of Fargo. Here’s what he had to say about the FX drama:
On joining the show:
“I can think of maybe a handful of times that you’re in a show that has the commercial success, the critical success, the support from the studio. And it’s backed up by good talent. You don’t feel like, ‘Well, we’re kind of a crappy show but a lot of people watch us.’ I really felt like Noah Hawley, who is our showrunner and creator — luckily he had a great team of writers that helped him out so he did not shoulder the entire load for 10 episodes — but his vision of this show and the way that he can map out this entire epic…and it really is epic this season.”
On season 2 and his role on it:
“There are so many characters, so many woven storylines. And watching it reference different Coen brothers movies, and I’m sort of maybe a little bit Tommy Lee Jones in No Country, sort of trying to get all these factions of criminal together, solve this crime — it was absolutely unbelievable.”
On how season 2 is similar to and different from season 1:
“The way of storytelling is similar. [Noah] hits the tone — in that sense maybe it’s similar to season 1. I think it’s a much different thing when you set it in 1979, so you can go back and see everything that sticks out in the late ’70s and the fabric of Reagan coming into power and the oil crisis and guys back from Vietnam. And you can take those and they really inform our character. Whereas I don’t think they had that luxury with season 1, because it was set just a few years ago. I love season 1. It’s a much, much different feel in that it becomes a time capsule of what the country and the world was going through in ’79.”
On the differences between young and old Lou:
“What I love about Keith Carradine is the weight he carries in his eyes. He’s one of the most soulful actors. You watch him in those scenes, especially with Billy Bob when he talks about the Sioux Falls massacre — what I love is seeing the weight that he carries about how it affected him. And then [now] watching a must different Lou, a much more earnest Lou trying to make his way through this and constantly seeing doors shoved in his face and dealing with coming back from a war and not knowing where you stand and where the country is and you see all these atrocities at war and these atrocities are coming back to my little town in Luverne? So that’s where I think it’s very different. I think epic is the word.”
On if he tried to mimic Keith Carradine’s speech and mannerisms:
“Not a ton, to be honest with you. And that was a conversation. And I love that kind of stuff, and for Conjuring I listen to Ed Warren tapes, and I love the nerdy actor things… I was very specific with Noah in that, ‘How much do you want? When does the limp come into play?’ And I won’t give that away. But you also know that there’s a big life between ’79 and  when the first season was set. So there’s a lot of life in there. I’m not gong to have the same speech pattern. Nor would a 30-year-old Lou versus a 60-year-old Lou.
“There are a few things. I remember one scene specifically where I’m going trough it like the way he sits on a chair with a shotgun. Those kinds of things that I kind of nerd out with and go and freeze frame. Something like the way a man sits, yeah, he may sit the same way for a long time And the way he crosses his legs and the way he holds a gun — that I was very specific with. But the speech patterns and even some of the dialect, Noah said, this is a different Lou, it’s okay. There’s a freedom that we had because he’s at a much different place in his life.”
To hear Wilson talk about young Lou and ‘Fargo’ season 2, click on the SoundCloud player below.
WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television and music.