After looking for someone who could appear nice and sympathetic next to Billy Bob Thornton, the producers of FX’s Fargo series have, for the constraints of television, narrowed the pool down from “literally almost anyone else in the world” to Martin Freeman. The actor known for his oft-put-upon roles in the UK’s The Office, Sherlock, and The Hobbit will take on arguably his most difficult relationship yet in the 10-episode limited series based on the Coen brothers’ film, playing a beaten-down insurance salesman who gets mixed up with Thornton’s manipulative grifter.
The Hollywood Reporter says Freeman's role of "Lester Nygaard" is the same “sad sack” played by William H. Macy played in the movie, though that’s not entirely true, nor is it factually correct. That’s because Fargo: The Series is not so much a straight adaptation (i.e. the kind that failed already) as it is just another story set in that same world of snowbound desperation—albeit with those same, all-important accents. And now Freeman will entertainingly sputter his way through that accent in the sneering face of Billy Bob Thornton, a partnership whose chemistry, we are already praying, doesn’t inspire any Tumblr cartoons. Please God no.