TV Line caught up with Mary to discuss her FX show Fargo. Below are highlights, but click on the link to read the full interview:
TVLINE | What was your reaction when this opportunity came along? Did you follow Fargo‘s first two seasons at all?
I had. I actually had been talking to Noah [Hawley] for a couple years about possibly doing Fargo, about something with him at some point, but I was never available, so nothing ever came of most of our discussions. So when he called and asked if I was available for this I just said yes, right away. After having seen the last two seasons I knew that every character that he writes is so dimensional and exciting — particularly the female characters, which are so wonderful. I had no doubts that it was something I wanted to be a part of.
TVLINE | What does Nikki want in this world? Does she want the ring, money? Or would she be content placing second in the tri-county bridge tournament? I think she has very big dreams for her life and her life with Ray. I don’t think she’s using him for money or any of those things, but she has this idealized version of what she thinks her life should be. I think she sees them living in a big house and they have everything that they want. Shes big on visualizing and living forward and positive thinking. She believes that as a team they’re going to win the game of life together.
TVLINE | Ewan obviously goes through quite a transformation to become Ray vs. Emmit. Was this the first time a male costar of yours took longer in hair and makeup?
I think the only other time was when I did Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, where Ben Walker went through hours of makeup to turn himself into Abe Lincoln every day. That’s the only other time I could remember feeling so bad for my male costar — but it’s such a rarity. I “feel bad” for them but I love the rare opportunity to spend a fraction of time in the hair and makeup trailer than the male costar does.
TVLINE | He’s [showrunner Noah Hawley] in an amazing groove right now. If you caught any of Legion, and the fact that he fit that among these three seasons of Fargo…
It’s unimaginable to me. It’s so beyond my mental capacity to even think about how one person could do all that. I’m totally in awe of his abilities, constantly, especially getting every script and being so surprised and shocked and excited, every single time. I don’t want to give anything away, but I would have never imagined Nikki Swango would end up where she is now, in the stuff we’re shooting [this week]. It’s all so unexpected and wonderful.
Early this morning, Mary stopped by Hollywood Today Live to talk all things “Fargo”, her character’s accent (who is actually from Chicago), working with Ewan McGregor, and if she ever keeps any mementos from the films she’s worked on. You can view the videos below and head to the gallery to check out photos of her on the set:
FX has unveiled a brand new behind the scenes video that gives viewers a look at the relationship between Nikki Swango and Ray Stussy. Check out the interview below and as always, caps are up in the gallery. A new episode airs this Wednesday at 10pm.
Flare.com visited Mary on the set of FX’s Fargo recently where she talked about how she immediately said yes to Noah Hawley’s new project before reading a script, how much she loves playing the role of Nikki Swango, and how much she loves working with her co-star Ewan McGregor. Click the link above read about one of her crazier on set moments and staying warm day after day while filming:
I love how all the seasons of Fargo feature super strong women, from our beloved Molly Solverson to Floyd Gerhardt. Why were you were drawn to Nikki Swango?
I was very excited to be on the show partly for that reason. I said yes before I even knew what the part was, which I’ve never done before. Noah and I had a little relationship of having a couple meetings over the years and so he personally reached out to me and I just went, “Yes! Absolutely. Whatever it is.” And so, I knew whatever it was going to be great. I had no doubt about that and then I read the role and it was just so unexpected for me to be cast in it, for one thing.
I just don’t usually get offered these roles of women who lead with their sex appeal.
Why do you think that is?
It’s something I steered away from for a long time, so I think people just don’t associate that with me. Now I’m more comfortable playing those roles because I don’t feel as nervous about falling into some trap. And I certainly don’t feel nervous about that in this role because I know that there is no character who is just one thing and that’s very much the case with Nikki. She’s crafty and alluring and she’s like a cat. She’s also very hopeful and optimistic and full of positivity and life. It’s not like this standard femme fatale kind of thing; she’s actually very sweet at the core of it. Being able to play all those layers has been so great. I feel so lucky.
What are some of the ways you and Ewan have crafted a fresh relationship you haven’t seen on-screen before?
We fell into it pretty naturally. We just have such a good time together in the scenes and a lot of that speaks to the writing because it’s supposed to be that they’re totally head over heels for each other. When I’m playing Nikki, I feel that so much for him with the prosthetics and the hair and all. I’m just so in love with him and we feel that energy that those characters are meant to feel for each other, which is that they really come together and feed off one another and she gives him this positivity that he needs to really feel like the man that he wants to be. She gets to call the shots and always be one step ahead, which is where she wants to be in a relationship and he gives that to her.
Was wearing the thigh-high boots tough?
On the snow it’s been interesting. Yesterday, I had some physical scenes sliding around on the snow and the ice, so it’s been interesting working with the wardrobe department on how to make things work, but they’re used to it. They’ve done two seasons now so they’re always one step ahead of me in that department.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with the Fargo cast recently including Mary, Carrie Coon and Ewan McGregor to dish on the newest season of the FX show. The interview can be found in the latest issue of EW, out now. Below are some quotes from Mary, but be sure to head into the gallery to read it in full.
Mary on Nikki and Ray’s relationship, played by Ewan McGregor:
“She’s always competing in her mind, she’s always trying to be one step ahead of her opponent. But she’s also completely and totally in love with Ray.”
On trying to learn the card game bridge for the role, that her character competes in:
“I had every intention of learning how to play bridge; it became very clear that was not going to happen.”
On filming in subzero temperatures:
“My costumes have been quite an ordeal since the beginning, but I’ve been out in my fishnets tights and mini skirts and I haven’t managed to catch hypothermia yet.”
Rotten Tomatoes recently had a phone interview with Mary while she was on the set in Calgary, Canada filming the third season of Fargo. Below are some highlights. The rest of the interview is with the rest of the cast, so if you’d like, hit the link above to read it in full.
On Nikki’s intro:
Nikki’s introduction on Fargo is straight out of Raising Arizona. We won’t spoil the moment here, but fans of the 1987 Coen Bros. film starring Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter will definitely know it when they see it.
“That was a reference that Noah had brought up,” Winstead confirmed. “That was sort of a Raising Arizona moment — which is one of my favorite movies.”
Hawley has also confirmed a Big Lebowski reference, which Winstead said they were just getting ready to film.
“I think there might be a couple, but there’s one we’re getting ready to shoot that is most definitely a very clear Big Lebowski moment,” Winstead continued. “It’s pretty clear when we’re shooting things that Oh, this is sort of a No Country for Old Men moment or this is a Miller’s Crossing moment.”
At first glance, Nikki may appear to fall into that classic crime-story tradition of the femme fatale who means nothing but trouble. Fargo gleefully defies genre, however, and Nikki may actually be the one who helps bail Ray out of trouble.
“I don’t feel so much like I’m playing a femme fatale,” Winstead said. “The relationship that she has with Ray is that they’re always trying to bring each other back to reality in one way or another. They have this really, as she calls it, ‘simpatico’ kind of relationship.
“So they’re always saying, ‘Now hon, look at my point of view,’” Winstead continued. It’s very sweet the way that they interact and try to always be a team and on the same page, even if they’re both in the wrong at times.”
On working with Ewan McGregor in his dual role (as the Stussy brothers):
“For some takes, I was standing with Ewan’s double and for some takes, I was standing with Ewan. Watching how the doubles interact with him and have to learn his way of walking and his posture and his way of standing was interesting. They make it feel very natural and grounded and real. They’re reading the lines and the scenes are existing as they would regularly, just swapping out the people. Which is somewhat strange, but it still doesn’t feel like you’re doing a trick of any sort.”
Mary on how the current season takes from seasons 1 and 2:
“There’s something about the fact that it takes place so close to our time frame that feels more like season 1. Also [it] has more of the intimacy I think season 1 has: fewer characters, a bit more quiet in moments. But it has the cinematic flash as well of the second season. It feels very, both intimate and large in scope at the same time, which, for me, makes it feel like something new, but also reminiscent of the first two.”
The first of several on set interviews for season 3 of FX’s Fargo has arrived via The Observer. While you can read the full interview by using the link above, this first interview is with the cast. Playing the parolee girlfriend Nikki Swango of Ewan’s character Ray Stussy, Mary said this to them:
When Fargo‘s third season was still in the planning stages Noah Hawley described Nikki Swango, according Ms. Kennedy, as “the only Fargo character that gets to be really, really hot,” a sentiment echoed by Costume Designer Carol Case. “With Nikki, the sky is the limit,” Case says. Compared, of course, to Fargo‘s usual wardrobe palette of brown matched with slightly darker brown.
Which makes it all the stranger that Nikki ends up with the constantly put-upon Ray Stussy. “When [Noah] sent me the first script, he made it clear that Nikki’s love for Ray was real, which was very important,” Winstead tells me, sitting in an icebox-esque trailer in-between shooting scenes.
“In reading it, you could have played it totally differently,” she continued. “I could have read it and played it as she was manipulating him to gain something. Or she will be with him with a little bit then leave him. Because really, from the first episode, just on the page it’s hard to know where it’s going. You don’t know. I could have easily have thought she was going to become some sort of really awful character. But knowing that little kernel, knowing that I could believe in that relationship allowed it to really blossom into something really, really fun.”
Mary also revealed that she and Ewan only took two one-hour lessons to learn about the world of competitive bridge playing and only has basic knowledge of the game.
“I think it mainly speaks to her personality,” she says. “She is constantly strategizing, and she never stops planning and thinking about what her next move is. Trying to be one step ahead of whoever she’s against. Because she’s sort of one of those people that always needs to have an enemy so that she can win.”
Speaking with The A.V. Club about the competitive bridge playing, Mary said “It was so much more difficult than I think we had imagined, so going to see the tournament and seeing how people behave and interact with one another was something that we thought, ‘Okay, we can at least act this; We don’t actually have to know how all the numbers and stuff are adding up.”
The positive reviews keep coming in! After an initial batch of great reviews came in from various sites, Collider kept that train rolling by giving the show 5 stars on their website. Be sure to click the link to read it in full. A small portion can be read below:
Season 3 is slow to start, but there’s a palpable sense of layering. The storytelling, the settings, the props, and the language used is all so deliberate that it is engrossing. There are great character moments like how Gloria feels she’s invisible because she can’t ever set off the motion sensor for automatic doors, or how Nikki is obsessed with bridge and sees it as her way to fame and fortune with Ray. More than anything, though, Fargo’s collection of stellar actors again this year makes every scene a delight to watch. Coon is staid and inscrutable, Winstead is electric and seductive, McGregor finds likability and venerability for this characters in ways we wouldn’t expect, and so forth. It’s a showcase that, matched with the show’s sly humor, produces exceptional television.
FX has released two more stills of Mary as parolee Nikki Swango from the third season of Fargo, debuting April 19 at 10pm. Head to the gallery to check out the new pics, as well as previous stills. More will be added soon so be sure to check back!