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‘Fargo’: Why is season 4 the crime drama’s biggest season yet?

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Glynn Turman as Doctor Senator and Chris Rock as Loy Cannon in ‘Fargo’.
Image Credit: Supplied

As season four of crime anthology series ‘Fargo’ begins streaming on StarzPlay, we break down everything you need to know about the latest offering — and why showrunners are claiming it’s larger than the three seasons that arrived before it. Plus, an interview with Salvatore Esposito, the Italian TV star who came to America for the show.

Chris Rock plays the head of a mob and things get messy

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Chris Rock in ‘Fargo’

The stand-up comedian is not partaking in any funny business here. Rock plays Kansas City mobster Loy Cannon who’s involved in a family feud with a rival Italian gang. As a sign of goodwill, the families decide to trade their sons. This proves to be less of a peace offering as much as it is a catalyst for betrayal, chaos and gang wars. “It’s the biggest ‘Fargo’ [yet],” Rock tells ‘EW’. “The scale is tremendous. ‘Fargo’ normally tells little stories that get out of hand. They’re about ordinary people, something happens, and then we get to see how evil ordinary people can be. This is quite different. We start off gangsters, so we’re beginning with bad people, and then it escalates.”

It’s bigger than every season of ‘Fargo’ before

Showrunner Noah Hawley claims the latest season is “at least twice the size” of any other ‘Fargo’ season before it — both in scope and cost.

“I would say it’s at least twice the size of any other story that we’ve told, both financially and just the scope of it, the scale of it, the period of it,” says Hawley of his ambitious project, in an interview with Collider.

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Showrunner Noah Hawley.

“You know, there’s no reason to do this again unless I think it could be the best one yet. And I think that.”

Could it be the final season? According to Hawley, every season feels like the last at some point, but there’s always room to explore new territory.

Rock considers this the ‘best part’ he’ll ever have in his career

The actor tells EW that he won’t top this role in his lifetime as an actor, comparing himself to Morgan Freeman in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

“This is the best part I’ve ever done and, honestly, probably the best part I’ll ever have,” says Rock. “That’s how it works. Morgan Freeman is in ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’ He’s amazing. He’s made a kazillion dollars since then. He never got a part that good again. When you get these great parts you have to make the most of them. Naive people will tell you, ‘There’s always tomorrow and you’ll always get another chance.’ The smart people will tell you, ‘You probably get three chances at anything in life, and you’ll probably be busy for the first two chances. When you get that third one you better be [expletive] ready.”

This season takes place before any other season of ‘Fargo’

Season four of ‘Fargo’ takes place in the 1950s. This is a time period never explored by the series before, and it takes place prior to any season of ‘Fargo’ to date. While season one of ‘Fargo’ took place in 2006, the second season took place in the 1970s, and the third took place between 2010-2011. Another change is that the story is set in Kansas City; the first two seasons featured the titular town of Fargo, North Dakota, while season three took place across Minnesota.

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Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons in season 2 of ‘Fargo’.

Filming just finished this month due to the coronavirus

The production shut down in March due to COVID-19, and the last two episodes of the show — episodes 10 and 11 — hadn’t been filmed yet. Production was up to the wire, reportedly ending in early September. The actors and crew had to be briefed extensively on safety procedures. “The protocols are a 40-page document,” says executive producer Warren Littlefield to Deadline.

But, as we learnt from Robert Pattinson catching the virus once the sets of ‘Batman’ reopened, it’s difficult to keep even your top-billed actors healthy, let alone hundreds of crew members working in close quarters.

Precautions on ‘Fargo’ involved “repeated testing, contact tracing and isolation, sometimes quarantining for periods of time, and isolating as many segments of the crew from each other, so if there is some infection among the crew, it doesn’t spread. This involves putting certainly the actors, and everyone who comes in contact with them, inside a rigorously-controlled bubble as we possibly can,” explains John Landgraf, chairman at FX Networks and FX Productions John Landgraf.

Get to know Salvator Esposito — Italian star heads to America for ‘Fargo 4’

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Salvatore Esposito and Jason Schwartzman in ‘Fargo’.

Star of the hit Italian crime show ‘Gamorrah’, Salvator Esposito headed to Chicago to film for season four of ‘Fargo’. He brought an authentic flair to the show — and shares the surprising reason why.

“I was conceived in the United States, so I think there is a bit of American blood in me,” says Esposito.

Calling showrunner Noah Hawley a “genius” and praising his “courage” in choosing Esposito for the cast, Esposito broke down the psychology of his character.

“I play Gaetano Fadda, the second son of the notorious Fadda family. As a boy, Gaetano was sent to Italy to be raised in a rural part of a beautiful land that was experiencing the horrors of war. This was a formative time for Gaetano, which is, in part, responsible for his uncontrollable, dominating temperament,” says Esposito.

“During Gaetano’s time in Italy, he ran the family business, and sought to increase the family’s power through extreme, yet effective, methods. Because Gaetano is also half American, he was able to work with them to protect his family and his business.”

Salvatore said he’d always been drawn to ‘Fargo’s’ style of storytelling in previous seasons.

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Jason Schwartzman as Josto Fadda and Salvatore Esposito as Gaetano Fadda in ‘Fargo’.
Image Credit: Supplied

“I loved ‘Fargo’ from the start and it was an honour for me to be a part of this project,” admits Salvatore. “All the characters in ‘Fargo’ are beautifully written by Noah Hawley and his team. Each of the characters have beautiful arcs, which allowed the actors to experiment and deepen the psyche of each role. The biggest challenge for me was being able to mix the Italian and English languages, as my character is the only one who almost always speaks in both … I think the audience will love the Sardinian Italian, as the Fadda family comes from Sardinia, together with English.”

As for the tone of this season — despite it being bigger and more ambitious than ever, according to Hawley, the basics are still there.

“You know, ‘Fargo’ is ‘Fargo’,” says Esposito. “I believe that each of us would be able to recognise a scene or a character from Fargo, among thousands and thousands of works. Over the years, Fargo has created a style that is all its own and that is recognised around the world, and therefore the storytelling and characters are subject to this narrative style, and adapt in turn. Also, this season will leave you speechless.”

Esposito believes that the task of art is not to deliver messages to the audience, but to let the viewers introspect and interpret as they may.

“I believe that each of us, when it comes to art, must ask questions and reflect,” says Esposito. “And this season of Fargo surely allows for that. It is then up to each of us to reflect and take away the right messages and make the right choices in real life.”

Don’t miss it!

‘Fargo’ season four is now streaming on StarzPlay in the UAE. It stars Chris Rock, Salvatore Esposito, Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw, Uzo Aduba, Jessie Buckley and more.

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