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Billy Bob Thornton On Fargo’s ‘Hitchcock’ Style Finale

BY Jennifer Griffin

Published 8 years ago

Please note: There are no ahead-of-time spoilers for Fargo’s Tuesday June 17 episode in the following interview. However, if you are behind with your viewing, you may stumble across plot points from previously aired episodes. 

Are you ready for Fargo’s finale episode tonight?

Last week ScreenSpy caught up with series stars Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks, who described the final episode as a polarizing one.

This week we spoke to Billy Bob Thornton who shared some insights on the devilish Lorne Malvo’s state of mind heading into that last episode, as well as what fans can expect to see – and take from the Fargo experience.

Catch some of our highlights below.

If the newly confident Lester hadn’t pushed Malvo on his identity that night in the elevator, could Malvo have resisted the temptation to go after him?  

Billy Bob Thornton: I think Malvo is kind of like a cat with a mouse.  I’m not sure. I think the temptation would have probably been too great.  I’m not sure he could have left him alone.  It is, “Are you kidding me here?  We are in the same place in Las Vegas; I’ve got to do something about this.”  Malvo is almost like God and the devil wrapped into one and I think these things were just going to happen.  Do you know what I mean?  I think a lot of this is about faith.  You always think about “If I’d only gotten on my motorcycle two minutes later, then I wouldn’t have hit that deer,” or whatever it is.  Malvo is kind of the spirit that makes all those things happen, sort of lines up people’s faith for them.


Both Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks described the finale as polarizing. What’s your take on it? 

Billy Bob Thornton: It’s the kind of show where you can’t even tease at all really, but in terms of the arc of not only my character, but everyone’s, I think people will be very satisfied.  I think Noah wrote a terrific ten-hour movie.  It really has a beginning, a middle, and an end and that was one of the things that appealed to me about it.  It’s just very well thought-out and I was very happy with it.  I haven’t seen the last episode myself.  I watch them the way the public watches them.  Every Tuesday night I just watch it, so the thing is is since it’s an ensemble cast like it is, you’re not always there when the other people are doing their thing, so it’s kind of like watching it fresh for me.

We kind of have known all along that I’m the devil in it and it’s kind of the way Hitchcock did things.  He always thought it was scarier when you knew from the opening frame that’s the bad guy; that way the audience is afraid every time he’s around, so it’s not like the butler did it or something like that.  I’ll just say it’s a very well thought-out series and very well-rounded and I think each character does have an arc and an A, B, and C.”


Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo -- CR: Chris Large/FX

Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo — CR: Chris Large/FX

Would you like to see a second season of Fargo?

Billy Bob Thornton: As an audience member I’d love to see it.  Our particular ten hours was designed as one story, so it does have a beginning, middle and an end.  And if they did do another one, it would be a new story with some new characters and that kind of thing, but absolutely I would love to see it.

I’ve really enjoyed watching it frankly, and it’s kind of hard to watch things you’re in normally.  But this was pretty easy to watch because after you’ve done ten episodes of something, you can’t really remember everything that you’ve already done, so it’s been very fresh for me.


Has the TV experience been a positive one for you? Would you become involved in another similar project under the right circumstances?

Billy Bob Thornton: I think this short-run television thing, whether it’s a three episode mini-series like Costner did with the Hatfields and McCoys, or a ten episode thing like ours.  These are like movies, extended movies, and I think it’s a great world to be in and I certainly have thought about it.  Whether I’d be any good at creating one or writing it, I don’t know, but I certainly would love to be involved in another one if it’s of this quality.


Were you ever tempted over the course of the ten episode run to improvise a little with Malvo? 

Billy Bob Thornton: First of all it was so well written; it was just like when I’ve worked with the Coen brothers in the past.  I tend to be kind of an improvisational actor, but in this case it was so well written that I pretty much stuck to what Noah wrote.


The series is filled with with parables, bible references, symbolism, karma and seemingly random occurrences that become major plot points later. Has there been a specific meaning to Malvo’s journey?

Billy Bob Thornton:  I think Malvo in a way … I’ve said before, people say he’s like the devil.  I think he’s more like God and the devil.  I think it’s almost as if whether he knows it or not, Malvo is there to facilitate people’s true selves.  It’s like he brings out in people who they really are.  He’s very impatient with people who are stupid or if they’re ridiculous.  Malvo likes to get to the root of what everything is about and sometimes he has to mess with people in order to do that.  But I think Malvo symbolizes that sort of spirit in the world that ultimately brings to the surface who people really are, and I think that’s probably the best way I could put it.

Fargo’s 10th and final episode “Morton’s Fork” airs tonight Tuesday June 17 at 10:00 pm ET on FX.

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