Few shows have been universally embraced like Fargo, which garnered eight Critics’ Choice Award nominations on Monday, and several Golden Globe nods last week, including one for Kirsten Dunst. And as we head into Monday’s nail-biter of a finale, viewers can’t help but wonder: Will Peggy and Ed make it out alive?
In a conversation with one half of our favorite bumbling couple from Minnesota, Dunst revealed what it’s like playing the hapless ditz-turned-vengeful-badass Peggy Blomquist, how it felt to receive recognition from the HFPA for the role, and how she perfected her Luverne accent. (Her grandmother is from Minnesota, don’t-cha know?)
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This is the first time you’ve done a TV series — how was it different from acting in films?
When I was little I’d done ER and some pilots, but nothing like this. It was hard for me, because you’d have different directors, whereas in a movie you just have one man in command and that’s it. So that was interesting. At one point I worked with three different directors in one day, which I had to get used to.
Well as a viewer, each episode almost feels like a short film.
Oh yeah. I think it’s so much more work to do TV than a movie, and Fargo takes so much work because each one is definitely like a little film. It was like playing the supporting role in about five different films.
What drew you to Peggy’s character? Did you get to read her entire arc before signing on?
I actually only got two scripts before I took the part, but just from the description, I knew that whatever Peggy’s trajectory was going to be, she was going to be really fun to play. I did try and ask Noah [Hawley, EP] to tell me what happens to her, and he didn’t tell me the whole truth. He wanted there to be an element of mystery for me.
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How do you feel about people saying Peggy is the greatest heroine on TV right now?
She’s her own version of a heroine! Peggy is enjoying it all so much — she’s empowered by the whole thing. She’s so fun to play, and it’s nice for me too because now I’ll have more opportunities to play roles in the comedic world again. People always remember the last thing you did. And I love comedy — I really enjoy playing weird characters.
Congrats on the Golden Globe nomination — does it feel good to hear people say this might be your best work ever?
I’m so proud and excited to be nominated. It’s nice to be part of something people like. And it’s great to hear that, I should keep getting better! I take it as a compliment that I’m growing. I’m getting older as an actress, so it’s a good thing to mature. Also, when the right role fits it’s amazing. It doesn’t always happen, that you’re given opportunities to play a role like this — this is such a well-thought-out, funny, crazy character. They don’t always get written that way, to be honest.
What’s the hardest part of playing Peggy? Was it perfecting the accent?
My grandma was from Minnesota, so there were aspects about the way she sing-songs things or makes things sound nice that I would think about. I also worked with someone for the accent, but there were tough days of shooting — the cabin scene, with Dodd. Peggy just babbles on and on, and it’s like cramming for the SATs, the way she speaks. You have to get every word right because it’s written so well. It’s not like you can mess it up at all.
Any fave Peggy lines?
I feel like everyone likes the flying saucer line a lot, but I love when Dodd is watching Jesse and I in bed, and I make Jesse put that thing over his head because he’s watching us.
Finally, we have to know: Are Peggy and Ed gonna make it out alive?
You’ll have to watch and find out!
The season 2 finale of Fargo airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET.