On last night's Fargo, Billy Bob Thornton's mischievous hitman Lorne Malvo gave a horrific speech about the depravity of Roman society, Christ, and the difference between humans and animals. "There are no saints in the animal kingdom," Malvo said. "Only breakfast and dinner." In the back of a car, Oliver Platt's Stavros Milos listened in horror.
"Billy is so incredibly understated," Platt told The Wire in an interview last week. "What Billy’s doing really smartly is, he’s riding the plot horse. He’s letting the story work for him. He knows what’s going on, and you can see him sort of taking this delight, this quiet, almost sadistic delight in watching me become unglued."
As Milos, a bombastic supermarket king, Platt has had the honor of being tortured by Thornton's Malvo. After he was hired to find Milos' blackmailer and easily discovered the culprit, Malvo decided to mess with Milos himself. Pinpointing Milos' religiosity, Malvo unleashed a series of horrors resembling biblical plagues on the man. The audience, meanwhile, has learned that Milos' fear of God is related to the fact that he is the link between the TV show and the movie, having found the case of money buried in the snow by Steve Buscemi's Carl Showalter in the Coen brothers' film after a desperate prayer.
"Malvo sort of smells it," Platt explained. "Stavros— he sort of doth protest too much a little bit. He clearly has a strained relationship with his savior. He’s stunting, you know what I mean? There’s something there that doesn’t add up for Malvo. I think it’s mysterious to Malvo. So as he’s playing his game, it’s also maybe a mystery he’s unraveling."
Fargo writer Noah Hawley has constructed a scenario in which Malvo's cruelties, or rather his plagues, have an element of surrealism—blood flows out of Milos' shower; crickets invade his supermarket—all while Milos is unknowingly popping tons of Adderall, and slowly beginning to believe that God is punishing him.
"Here you have a guy, everything he believes in, this vision of himself, is just turned on its head in a pretty rapid, I like to think somewhat believable when you look at it through his eyes, way," Platt said. "That’s what we like as actors. You like to see somebody go through something and you want to see him question things and change. Those sort of events, obstacles, which is an over-used expression—that’s candy for us."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.