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Joel Coen Lied To Steve Buscemi's Face About His Character In Fargo

At this point, there may be more people who label "Fargo" as an excellent FX drama series and don't realize that there was first a feature film of the same name released by the Coen brothers back in 1996. This was when both fans and Hollywood got one of their first true tastes of performance talents such as William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, and Steve Buscemi. In 2021, McDormand and Buscemi joined Joel Coen on a stage at the Tribeca Film Festival, as they celebrated the film's 25th anniversary (via The Guardian). It was during this on-stage chat that Buscemi revealed how Coen wasn't completely truthful, not once but twice, when it came to convincing him to take on the role of Carl Showalter.

According to Buscemi, the first straight-out lie that Coen said to his face revolved around when the actual filming of "Fargo" was to happen. Aiming his response straight at Coen, Buscemi said, "I remember you telling me about this during 'Barton Fink,' and then you did another movie!" The movie Buscemi is referring to was "The Hudsucker Proxy," which the Coen brothers filmed just before "Fargo." The misdirection didn't end there apparently, as Buscemi explained that Coen's description of the character Carl was nowhere near truthful. The actor continued, "[Joel] said, 'Your character is going to be a very good-looking guy.'" Fans who have seen the film know that Carl was definitely not portrayed this way. "I don't know what happened after that," joked Buscemi.

Carl's persona became clear after putting on his clothes

There are plenty of unique scenes and different characters that fans of the 1996 movie "Fargo" can choose as their favorites. One has to be Steve Buscemi's Carl, a squirrelly wannabe tough guy whose self-centered pettiness ends up leading to his demise. On the Tribeca Film Festival stage, Buscemi recalled that he didn't truly comprehend his character until he got to wardrobe. "When [costume designer Mary Zophres] put me in those clothes and I looked in the mirror, I suddenly understood who this guy is," Buscemi recalled. "It's the polyester sweaters." His clothes, combined with how other characters ended up describing the criminal (as "just kind of funny looking"), ended up being the foundation under what ended up becoming Carl.

Throughout "Fargo," it's Carl's continuing greed and cheapness that leads him down a path to meet his fate. Requesting more money for payment to kidnap and ransom Jerry Lundegaard's (Macy) wife, killing a parking attendant for making him pay to leave the lot, and demanding half his cut from the psychopath Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare), all resulted in Carl being torn up in a buzzing wood chipper. Luckily, Buscemi didn't pursue that sort of revenge on Joel Coen for not completely being honest with him in pre-production. Although, any sort of retaliation may not be necessary, as Coen seems to punish himself enough. He admitted to having "a hard time watching his movies without seeing the flaws." That is surely in stark contrast to how many "Fargo" fans see the film.