‘Fargo’ Star Allison Tolman Admits ‘There’s Well-Deserved Skepticism’ Over Adaptation

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“It will be interesting to see what people say as it progresses,” Tolman tells TheWrap

Wondering if FX can really pull off an adaptation of the classic Coen brothers movie “Fargo”? Allison Tolman doesn’t blame you — despite the fact that she stars in it.

“I think there’s some well-deserved skepticism that there’s an adaptation of this really well-loved film,” Tolman, a relative newcomer who plays the central role of police officer Molly Solverson in the FX series premiering Tuesday, told TheWrap. “But I believe that the product is good enough and stands on its own enough that we’re going to win over fans in our own right.”

TheWrap talks with Tolman, who co-stars with heavy hitters such as Billy Bob Thornton in “Fargo,” about the movie that inspired the show and shocking moments that lay ahead this season.

TheWrap: Were you a fan of the movie before getting involved in the series?
I was a fan of the movie. There are a few directors as a young person where I was kind of like, “Well, these are a sure bet.” The Coens, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson. They had a really unique voice that I really appreciated, and I know I could go see one of their films and I was gonna enjoy it. I saw “Fargo” not when it came out but probably a few years later, and went through multiple viewings — I’m sure my tape has been worn out. I purposely didn’t watch it during the rehearsal process, because I didn’t want to freak myself out.

Also read: ‘Fargo’ Boss Noah Hawley on the ‘Hubris or Foolishness’ of Adapting the Coen Brothers

Was it daunting to take on a role in a project that has so much history attached to it, especially since Molly is such a pivotal role on the series?
I think I was really lucky. We’re under the leadership of Noah Hawley, our showrunner and our sole writer for all these episodes. He has a really strong, clear idea of the story, of the tone, of when he wanted to pay homage to the film and when he doesn’t want to. And the character, she’s a really fully formed character on her own. It will  be interesting to see what people say as it progresses, but I think she’s so obviously different from Margie in the film. They’re really different women who just happen to wear the same color scheme and have the same job. But [Molly’s] in a different point in her career, and she has different things going for her. I think Noah’s really strong writing was instrumental.

With adaptations of previous projects, people tend to apply expectations based on what they’ve seen before.
Absolutely. I don’t shy away from the comparisons. I think it’s inevitable to happen. And I think there’s some well-deserved skepticism that there’s an adaptation of this really well-loved film. But I believe that the product is good enough and stands on its own enough that we’re going to win over fans in our own right.

Also read: ‘Fargo’ Review: Billy Bob Thornton Brings Out the Worst in Nice Midwesterns

There are a number of shocking moments in the series. Have there been any scenes that particularly took you aback?
Yeah. Episode 8 — all of it. All of episode 8 is going to be phenomenal. It’s just full of amazing surprises. And I think it was Episode 9 that I got 10 pages in and actually clapped my and over my mouth and said, “What?”