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.
Noah’s interview with The Wrap:
Why was this the right way to end Nikki’s story?
I always define “Fargo” as a tragedy with a happy ending — that sense of tragedy has its own requirements. And so in looking at most characters, I’m always thinking about what is the tragic nature of this character’s journey. Not that tragedy has to end in death — Mike Milligan’s tragedy [in Season 2] is that he ended up in that office for the rest of his life. I did have a sense with Nikki that as much as we want the white hat to gun down the black hat in town square at noon, the reality tends not to work out that way. That there they are, in this isolated stretch of roads, and the odds that a car will drive by, they’re not high, but they’re not low. And the odds that that car will be a cop car, lower but not impossible. There’s a sense to which real life intruded.
She was trying to have the movie showdown, and real life intruded — something random happened and changed the course of both of their lives. So there’s a degree to which that adds to the tragedy, the fact that there she was, about to administer cosmic justice, and some random guy came along — she ends up dead in a most bizarre and seemingly meaningless way.