Early in his career, Bokeem Woodbine was not exactly known for his quiet character study, a fact the actor acknowledged in a previous interview with EBONY. However, his portrayal of the soft spoken and cerebral (but lethal) mob boss wannabe on “Fargo” season 2 is worthy of James Lipton-level admiration. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Woodbine about his character, the sole Black face in a Kansas City crime crew on the rise. As “Mike Milligan,” Woodbine runs with creepy (and damn near speechless) twin brothers and schemes a way to take over territory from a family known as the Gerhardt clan. Woodbine shares that the brilliant role was such a fit it felt he had written it himself. He also offered up a juicy tidbit about how he developed the origin story of an icy, clearly sociopathic enforcer who unfortunately may not be seen again now that the season ended with a bang on Monday’s finale.:
“I developed a backstory and I shared it with [series creator Noah Hawley] and he cosigned it,” Woodbine shares with the Hollywood Reporter. “Basically, Mike is not from Kansas City and Mike was not always someone who had criminal designs. What we decided is that Mike is from somewhere up North and his familial circumstances brought him to the South and Mike had been involved in some dastardly deeds, but just because he’s a sociopath, not necessarily from making a living, but circumstances brought him to the South, where he had to deal with some family things. The way he dealt with them caught the eye of some people from KC and they basically recruited him, because he’s got a knack for doing things that other people might find distasteful and undesirable.”
Woodbine explained he is even more hesitant than he has been in past years to take on a new project after such a thrill on the FX smash.
“It spoils you. There’s no question about it. I’ve been on only a few auditions since Fargo, because it’s something that Noah and I discussed and he said, not quoting him verbatim, but he said basically, ‘After this, you have to be really smart about picking only the good stuff.’ I kinda understood what he meant at the time, but I think we were only up to episode five or six when we had that discussion. I really understood what he meant when I wrapped out of the show. It was an interesting feeling going back home and celebrating with the wife. I’m like, ‘hey babe, I did it. I think I might have actually pulled it off,’ and then juxtaposing that feeling of victory with thinking, ‘whoa. How am I gonna follow this up? How am I possibly going to follow this up?’ Since I’ve been back I’ve turned down or not even gone to probably about 15 auditions because even though I could always use more screentime and more money, I said, “This is not the kind of opportunity that you squander by just jumping into whatever else comes your way.”
Puh-lease do us a favor and, if you have not had the pleasure, get on your On Demand and watch this season. This show earned the EBONY stamp of approval, you betcha.