‘Fargo’ Season Two Reunites ‘Burn Notice’ Stars

Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan
News that FX, utilizing the sharper than sharp pen of Noah Hawley, is doing a second season of Fargo is pretty exciting. Even more so is the knowledge that two Burn Notice stars are reuniting in the show. Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell will both be in the return to the brilliant criminal quirkiness that is Fargo.

The first season of the FX series, based on the Coen Bros big screen award winning cult classic 1996 film starring William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare, did much better than anyone could have predicted. The success experienced by Joel and Ethan Coen  was not expected to transfer successfully to the small screen.

But maestro Hawley utilized the verse of Fargo and introduced new characters and a splendid set of actors to play them. Billy Bob Thornton played the creepiest villain ever, Martin Freeman’s character was a nebbish everyman who murders his wife and Allison Tolman became a star.

The cast list for this second season foray into Fargo “world” includes Ted Danson, Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell. The last two were costars on the long running USA network series Burn Notice. In that Miami based show Donovan played the burned (blacklisted) agent Michael Weston and Campbell played his old pal Sam,  a former Navy Seal. In Fargo season two Campbell is slated to play Ronald Reagan and Jeffrey is slated to play a crime family member.

On paper, at least, it does not look like the two will be playing many scenes together. The second season is set in the 1970s, specifically 1979, and Reagan has not yet been elected president. He would be just gearing up his presidential campaign. Considering the chemistry that Bruce and Donovan had in Burn Notice it is hopeful that the crime family resides in California and the two will have a few scenes together.

Donovan has not been overly busy since the USA series was cancelled, he is working on something called Shot Caller and its status (on IMDb) is “filming.” Campbell is also not overly busy although fans are eagerly awaiting the series premiere, in October, of Ash vs Evil Dead.  He is not currently “filming” anything else.

The two Burn Notice actors were a great double act in the show but despite this little reunion, they may be just a little overshadowed by the storyline chosen by Noah Hawley for the second season of Fargo. Information released about the plot reveals that this season is set in Minnesota and…Danson will play his age, Martin Freeman’s role will be played by Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, and Patrick Wilson is playing Alison Tolman’s dad.

Plemons, who was brilliant as Todd, the thug with the crush on Lydia Rodarte-Quayle;  the herbal tea drinking drug boss (played by Laura Fraser), should have no problem fitting in another criminal type scenario. While there are a number of impressive names involved with this newest visit to Coen Bros territory, fans of Donovan and Campbell can take a moment to be excited about their pairing.

If Chins Could Kill! By Bruce Campbell

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First published in 2001 and later in 2009 in the United Kingdom, If Chin’s Could Kill is Bruce’s story of his early life and his involvement with wunderkind Sam Raimi and co.

Written an awful lot like his acting style (not sure if that is actually a good thing or not) the book is entertaining and features a lot of memories from Bruce about: Growing up in Michigan, going to school in Michigan, discovering girls in Michigan, et al.

Yet amazingly the book is not about Michigan. Who’d have thunk it? The book is very entertaining as he relates his relationship with the Raimi family, which includes mom and pop Raimi plus Ted and Owen as well as Sam.

He also talks about filming all those Super 8 films in high school and their timorous expedition into “real” film making; or filming in 16mm and getting it blown up to the requisite 35mm.

Mr Campbell takes us on a ride on the ‘B’ side of the street and explains as humorously as possible about what it takes to be a ‘B’ movie actor and find your self a star as a result. This is a man who has made more independent movies than Carter’s got little pills and he’s only just able to make a living at it.

*At least, that’s his story and I don’t know, call me a sucker; but damn it, I believe him.*

 

The book has been “shot-gunned” with pictures throughout (not stuck in the middle like all those “other” phoney-baloney “star” books) and there are a lot of the young folks who started out on the entertainment road with Bruce.

Who knew?
Who knew?

I enjoyed reading the book that took me literally years to finally purchase. It was only after watching the pilot episode of Burn Notice that I remembered that he had “written” a couple of books on his career.

Since I’ve been a fan ever since watching Evil Dead in an Arkansas drive-in on dollar night, I could not wait to read it. I couldn’t find it anywhere to buy and my local library kept refusing my suggestion that they buy the book just so I could read it.

*A quick note to the author Bruce Campbell.*

Sorry Bruce, but the whole world’s a critic and my arguing that this was an obviously important story that needed to be read by all Bruce Campbell fans everywhere, seemed to fall on deaf ears. To my chagrin they still do not stock your first or even second book, Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way. So I had to stumble upon it completely by accident in my local Waterstones bookstore. I am still hoping to stumble upon your second book the same way.

Right, groveling done, I can go onto the rest of my review, Bruce takes us through his marriages and the birth of his children. He also takes us behind the scenes with Kevin Sorbo (aka Hercules) and what it was like working in New Zealand on the show (and on Xena Warrior Princess).

If you are a Bruce Campbell fan, you’ll love this book. I’ll give it a 5 out of 5 stars because if I concentrate I can hear Bruce reading the book in my head. That’s pretty damned entertaining, I can tell you.

Even Ash thinks it's funny...
Even Ash thinks it’s funny…