Mary took part in 2 new Fargo related interviews. The first one is a radio interview with Leonard Maltin discussing Fargo, her film career, working with Quentin Tarantino in Death Proof and towards the end, reveals that she’ll have a new project coming up where she plays a stand-up comedian and that’ll begin filming later this summer. You can listen to that interview here.
In another interview with Deadline, Mary discusses how she wasn’t expecting to take on the role of Nikki Swango and the stunt work she had to perform:
How did Fargo come your way? Did you have to read for the role? Your attachment seemed to happen fast in the wake of CBS’ BrainDead.
I sat down with Noah (Hawley) about the first season. That’s when I first met him when they were looking for someone. I don’t think it would have been the right fit at the time. We hit it off and both wanted to work with each other. They called me about a second season cameo, but that didn’t work out. I wanted to be on the show after seeing the first season. I was like ‘Wow, this could be cool.’ At first, I didn’t know it was going to be so great and I was in awe of what he did, and how great the performances were. By the time he called about season 3, I was like ‘Oh, yes, put me in, however many lines.’ I was fully on board before I knew the role which turned out to be unexpected and a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t the type of character I was expecting to play.
Why was Nikki the type of character you weren’t expecting to play?
Because initially after reading the first episode, I wasn’t sure if she was the femme fatale. It wasn’t clear if she was someone you would root against or was a villainous character. I wasn’t really sure of what to make of her. I was used to Fargo and I’ve often played nice, polite people, and thought that’s why Noah wanted me for the show. It was sort of a turn for me to play this person with her sexuality, her confidence, her brashness and boldness. I’ve played this before in subtle ways, but never ever to this extent. I was like ‘Wow, I didn’t think many people would think of me for this.’ That’s what makes Noah great at what he does: He spots the right people for the right roles, which are so subversive and never cliché. They’re always going to be complex. By the second reading, I saw that Nikki wasn’t the femme fatale. She’s inspiring, sweet, not hardened. Once I felt she wasn’t this hardened criminal, then I was able to open up and bring a real lightness to her, something that was very suited to me and I created a character that I was comfortable with.
Were the stunts on Fargo more intense than your previous roles? I mean, you flip over in a bus.
On the sound stage, we did a real flip. Everything was real and I was chained to Russell Harvard [Mr. Wrench] for weeks on end. We were really chained. I was covered in bruises head to toe. It was so much fun, and these were the most challenging stunts I’ve ever done and I’ve done a lot of stunts before in movies. There was this incredibly ambitious schedule with various elements to the shots. But it was such a cool sequence and completely rewarding. It felt a little bit like 10 Cloverfield Lane. That was physical and low budget and we had to do things on the fly. Nikki is very different character from Michelle in that movie, but they’re similar in their resilience and their will to survive. We had one stunt rehearsal for Fargo, a couple of hours on a Sunday to block out what was going to go down. We just went in there and did it, bruised, soaking wet from the snow, just trying to get through it. That’s what our characters were doing. Nikki was just surviving, clawing, scratching her way out.
Now that season 3 of Fargo is done, Mary chatted with The Daily Beast to talk about the fate of her character Nikki Swango. Creator/show runner Noah Hawley also discussed the show with The Wrap. Both of these interviews are heavy with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the final ep of 3×10, read at your own risk. First up is Mary’s interview with TDB:
Wow, Nikki Swango went through a lot of shit on Fargo this season. How are you feeling now that this whole thing is coming to an end?
It’s kind of bittersweet, the whole thing. It was such a profound experience for me playing her; it was such an incredible arc of a character, so much fun. I think I was pushed in so many directions that I hadn’t been pushed in before, so I don’t really want to say goodbye to Nikki Swango. It’s a little bit sad that it’s officially, officially ending.
What was it like doing that scene opposite David Thewlis?
I got such a rush when I read that scene in the script. I was so excited to get to work with David. He’s so immensely talented and had been doing such incredible work all season long. He is also the loveliest person. So that was something that I was just over the moon to have the chance to have a big, meaty scene with him to do. And again, it’s a similar thing with Ewan. With some actors, it’s just so easy that it’s almost embarrassing, like I can’t believe I get paid to do this, that this is a job. There’s nothing that could be easier than playing opposite David Thewlis and just reacting off of what he’s giving me, because he’s so incredibly brilliant and does so much with the role.
Now that this project is officially over, do you feel like it’s changed the direction of your career or made you want to go after different types of things?
Any time you do something where the material is at such a high level and everyone around you is working at a really high level, it really just makes it difficult to find something that makes you feel that way. So that’s really all I’m doing now, is trying to find the next thing that makes me feel the way that Fargo did, which is you’re surrounded by people you’re totally inspired by, who stretch you and make you want to be better. And material that feels so good to perform that it feels like you’re not working at all. That’s what I’m always looking for, to be honest. But every now and then you do a project that makes you want to step it up even just that much further, and Fargo was definitely that for me.
The Observer caught up with Mary last week while she was in New York and one of the things they discussed was filming that epic scene in the woods for 3×08 of Fargo with her co-star Russell Harvard. You can read her full interview by clicking the link above:
“By the end of it, he and I had our own kind of communication that was just ours,” Winstead said of the grueling shoot alongside Harvard. The actor, like his on-screen counterpart, is deaf. “Obviously, I don’t speak sign language, but I was able to pick up some things from him. Then, beyond that, we were wordlessly communicating the entire time time, helping him to know what was going on. When we were going to say ‘action’ or ‘cut’ we had signals for each other for all those things. “It was so worth it, for such an incredible, epic sequence,” she said. “It became a really special friendship for everyone involved.”
Mary also revealed to The Wrap that she was the one really driving the truck in tonight’s episode (3×09) and why she loves playing the role of Nikki Swango:
“She’s so not polite. She’s so not Minnesota nice. She’s very brash and bold and in your face … It just feels so much more like she’s in her body and not sort of pretending to be something other than what she is. So many characters on ‘Fargo’ tend to get into that territory where they’re being so nice even though they’ve got these dark, sinister things going on.”
You can watch her full interview using the player below:
Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley sat down with IGN at the ATX panel last week and while discussing the show, he talked about how Mary’s character seems to be cheating death and if her character really loved Ray.
IGN: First off, I want to tell you how much I love Nikki. With each episode this season, I’ve grown to love her more because she’s constantly showing me that she’s not what I assumed she was. Which was, initially, a femme fatale-type who was probably using Ray to get her hands on some cash. Was it always the plan to make her lean away from that archetype?
Noah Hawley: Yeah, I mean I went through, in the writing process and in the room – we gamed it out in different ways and I think there was a gravitational pull toward her running a con on him [Ray] and I just found that uninteresting, honestly. Everyone always says that conflict is drama and I agree but I also don’t think you need drama everywhere. Or conflict everywhere. Like with Patrick Wilson and Cristin Milioti last year. I mean, she had cancer but they never fought and there was never any conflict between them. I think with a story that has as much violence as we have you want to give the audience a place where they feel safe. And something they love. And the idea that she loves Ray, you know what I mean? She’s the first person in his life who thinks he’s the better brother. We love her for that.
IGN: I think I’ve thought that Nikki was done for probably two of three times on the season so far. I just thought “she’s dead.” Or “she’s going to die.” But she survives and now, with this last escape, it seemed like she was being protected by mystical forces. Was it always the plan to have this Eastern Block mysticism in Season 3? The Jewish folklore aspects?
Hawley: This season was a really serendipitous collision of things that I wanted to do with the moment that we’re in. The whole Cossack story was fueled by my grandmother’s story – my mother’s mom – and how she escaped from the Ukraine in the middle of the night with her parents and their ten kids being pursued by the Cossacks. And then them coming to America. So I was thinking of exploring that with the Yuri character. And then we also got into the whole Russia hacking and stuff like that. All that stuff was in the mix, the idea of really looking at how shielded we are here, on some level, from the real carnage that occurs in countries around the world. This idea that Stalin starved 20 million people. Or 20 million Russians died in World War II. So it was looking at all those elements and then using it with what I’ve read and the research I’ve done. And I came across the story of Rabbi Nachman and going to the mass graves and it all just sort of came together for me in a way. Obviously, we had a UFO last year and it just seemed like these people are in the wilderness and they’re so far away from everything and there’s a literal and metaphorical quality to it. But it does feel like something that fits into a Coen Brothers universe.
Earlier this week, Mary dropped by Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk about her show, Fargo. You can watch the full interview with Mary over on the NBC website at the 25:33 mark, or simply view a clip of her talking about how she tried to learn bridge.
Paige also added more photos of Mary’s first appearance on the show from last year into the gallery here.
Yesterday in New York, Mary stopped by AOL’s Build Series to discuss the current season of Fargo. I’ve added over 60 photos of her while being interviewed as well as photo shoot pictures of her. You can watch the full 30 minute interview below:
Yesterday’s (June 7) episode of Fargo was the craziest one yet and Mary Elizabeth Winstead spoke to several outlets to talk about it. There’s spoilers in every single one of these interviews, so only read if you’ve seen the ep. I will just post some highlights, but click on the links to read them in full:
TheWrap: What was the toughest part about shooting the episode? Mary Elizabeth Winstead: How ambitious it was, combined with the time constraints of shooting television — even when I read it, I just thought, “How are we going to do this?” If this was a movie, we would spend two months just on this. When you [watch the episode], it all moves so quickly that maybe it doesn’t seem as [difficult] as what we really had to shoot. It was at night and freezing cold. And just to be chained together and not be able to communicate in the way that you normally do, I don’t think I’ve ever been in quite a unique situation like that before.
It’s interesting to see Nikki become the hero of the show. How will fans react to where the rest of the season takes her? She’s evolved so much — I don’t think I ever would have imagined that she ends up in the places that she goes to in the second half of the season when I started. Noah had told me that when I signed on, that she would be the heart of the season. I think [fans will] be continually surprised — I know I was in reading it. Every turn, I felt something was happening that I didn’t expect and that I was totally shocked and excited by. Nikki continues to stir things up in a way that you hope she would. She doesn’t give up because that would be totally out of character for her. She keeps fighting the good fight.
Yesterday in New York, Mary stopped by New York Live to discuss season 3 of Fargo and to talk about her music, revealing that someday she’d like to put something out on her own. Watch that interview below:
Later that day, she stopped by Facebook to take some viewer questions to talk about the show. You can watch that on their page here.
Paige has screen capped Mary’s scenes in episode 3×07 of FX’s Fargo. There’s only 3 episodes remaining this season. How crazy is that?! Below are the caps, as well as a behind the scenes video from the episode where the actors talk about how technology is taking over in the 2010 setting and a preview for next week’s episode, airing on June 7.