The monstrous success of Fargo’s first season on television guaranteed its second season, and the addition of some new actors, including Brad and Todd Mann, a pair of twin brothers from Summerland.
The second season of the dark comedy brings the audience to 1979, when a state trooper from rural Minnesota tries to keep the lid on both petty crooks and established mobsters at the same time being tasked with protecting then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.
The Manns’ characters in the show, Gale and Wayne Kitchen (also twins), are members of a trio of hitmen, with actor Bokeem Woodbine (The Big Hit) filling the third role.
Also cast for season two were Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman, Portlandia) and Ted Danson (Cheers, Curb Your Enthusiasm).
Their characters aren’t the nemesis of the protagonist officer, but in a small community, they manage to cross hairs often.
“Our characters are after other bad guys – we just don’t want the protagonist to get in our way, we’re just after other antagonists,” Todd said. “In the brilliance of (screen writer) Noah Hawley and the essence of the (producers of the 1997 film Fargo) Coen brothers, they really relish on those kind of environments where you have the good guys who want to deal with the good guys and the bad guys want to deal with the bad guys, and because of good writing and a good story line, they just can’t help but cross paths and be who they’re meant to be.”
“It can be so dark and there can be so much murder involved, but sometimes you just can’t help but laugh at the way it’s done,” Brad said.
While they have a script to follow, every member of the production is able to add something uniquely their own.
“Noah does a great job having a collaboration between the writing and the actors, so if there was any input or suggestions we had for your character to make it more droll or ironic, they would be completely openly accepted,” Brad said.
One of their major contributions came from Todd being ambidextrous and deciding to make Wayne left-handed, offering a strong sense of symmetry while working beside his right-handed brother on screen.
“It’s one of those things as we began filming more and more it became so much more noticeable and fun to play with,” Todd said.
To imitate the setting of Minnesota from more than three decades ago, filming for both seasons of Fargo took place in the Calgary area.
“They have older buildings that have been around a lot longer. Then they have the crew come in and really transform it to make it look a lot more like 1979,” Todd said.
“And everything is handmade – they don’t buy the clothes, they do the research and have people make them from scratch.”
They also spent three months before production growing facial hair and gaining weight to give their characters a more burly appearance.
“It adds so much more to the character, grow or lose a bunch of hair. Once you film it’s immortalized, so this is the first time either one of us had been able to grow a big beard, and neither of us are big fans of beards,” Todd said.
“Being able to give extra effort to make these characters real, even if it’s uncomfortable for a short period of time, I know in the long run it’s something that’s going to enhance the product forever,” said Brad.
While the Manns live in Vancouver, they enjoy returning to Summerland, especially to speak with students at the high school.
“We like to talk to the drama students from time to time about film and television. We know from growing up in Summerland they don’t really teach you anything at all about film and television – just theatre – and we like to inform them,” Todd said
“Since we’re first generation actors, nobody else in our family has ever chose this path, welearned a lot of things on our own,” Brad said.
Season two features 10 episodes with the first premiering on Oct. 12 on FX.