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Chris Rock Is Happy to Finally Play a 'Grown Ass Man' in Fargo

Rock's performance as crime boss Loy Cannon is inspired by his grandfather

Liam Mathews

Season 4 of FX's anthology series Fargo, which returns Sept. 27 after more than three years since Season 3, is set in Kansas City in 1950 and tells the story of a war between two crime families. The first is a Black family led by ruthless businessman Loy Cannon (Chris Rock). The Italian faction is led by touchy and temperamental Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman), who recently ascended to boss status after the death of his father. Loy Cannon demands to be taken seriously, but people underestimate him and disrespect him because of his race. He's a different kind of character than audiences have seen the great comedian play before, but not one that feels out of place for Rock to be playing at this stage of his career.  

For Rock, playing Loy Cannon offered him the rare opportunity to play a character his own age. "It's like I kind of got really famous at 35 or whatever, 37, and everything that's offered to me is kind of like a man-boy, so it was great to actually play a grown ass man," Rock said during a digital panel on Wednesday previewing the upcoming season of the series inspired by the Coen Brothers' classic 1996 film of the same name.  

It's a different type of role than audiences are used to seeing Rock play, and the most purely dramatic of his career so far, though there are comedic elements. Rock thinks Fargo is funny in the way that Martin Scorsese movies are funny -- "I would list Goodfellas as one of the funniest movies I've ever seen" -- and notes that most great things have both comedy and drama. Rock doesn't see acting in a drama as any different than acting in a comedy. "I'm attracted to great storytelling," he said. "I believe everything that's good is good because it's taken seriously." He gave the example that Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber is acting funny very seriously. With Fargo, the quality of the writing and filmmaking is what made him want to take on the part. 

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Loy Cannon isn't based on any particular historical figure, and Rock drew inspiration for the character from his father, his grandfather, and even his 73-year-old co-star Glynn Turman -- Black men of an older generation who carried themselves with dignity in defiance of the racism they faced. "I'm born February 7th, 1965, in Georgetown, South Carolina," Rock said. "The odds that I was not in a segregated wing of a hospital are slim. Me. It's not that long ago. I was born in South Carolina. My mother was born in South Carolina and my father was born in South Carolina, so I know Loy Cannon very well."     

Fargo premieres with two episodes on Sunday, September 27 at 9/8c on FX. Episodes will be available to stream the day after air on FX on Hulu



Elizabeth Morris/FX