Chris Rock Admits Why He Almost Turned Down ‘the Best Part’ He’ll Ever Have

When most people think of Chris Rock, they conjure images of his HBO comedy specials from the 1990s or, for younger fans, his roles in films such as Grown Ups and Madagascar. A hard-hitting crime drama probably isn’t where you’d expect to find him. Yet, Rock is taking center stage in Fargo Season 4.

It’s an exciting casting choice for a show known for attracting top talent. Previous seasons, after all, featured Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, and Ewan McGregor. But Rock is an outside-the-box choice to lead a season of the anthology crime series. Fargo Season 4 ultimately proved to be too enticing to pass up. Yet, Rock did have one key reason he could’ve said no.

Chris Rock of 'Fargo' | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Chris Rock of ‘Fargo’ | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Chris Rock compares his ‘Fargo’ role to another famous TV gangster

On Fargo Season 4, Rock plays a Kansas City gangster named Loy Cannon. Because the story is set in 1950, it deals heavily with the character’s race as well as his integral role in the community. In fact, the role is so multifaceted that it reminds Rock of another famous TV gangster.

“He’s a businessman, he’s a deacon at his church, he’s a loving father and husband, he owns a bank, and he’s also a criminal,” Rock told Entertainment Weekly. “He fixes fights and runs numbers and prostitution. He’s always on edge. It’s Tony Soprano-esque.”

Delving into Tony Soprano’s psychology was the distinguishing factor that made HBO’s The Sopranos such a phenomenon. If Fargo at all takes a similar approach, then Loy Cannon could be one of the show’s most memorable characters to date.

The only reason he could have considered passing on ‘Fargo’

Despite all the reasons Rock was intrigued by the opportunity, he could have always turned it down. The challenging role would, after all, keep the actor away from his family, especially since work on a TV show is as — if not more — extensive than a film. So Rock would have to sacrifice months from his schedule in order to commit to leading Fargo Season 4, he told EW.

The only reason not to do it was personal. I was going to be away from my family. It’s a long commitment. I’ve been filming this since September in Chicago and I’m not done. And it’s freakin’ cold. They film a lot of it outside. But one of the great things about acting in the cold is that the cold does some of the acting for you, so you don’t have to fake it.

In the end, Rock couldn’t refuse Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley’s offer. Loy Cannon is just far enough out of Rock’s wheelhouse to take both fans and Rock himself by surprise. Yet, the 55-year-old Rock does have the experience to give his role the James Gandolfini-level gravitas it needs.

Now Chris Rock says ‘Fargo’ Season 4 is the ‘best role [he’s] ever done’

Saying yes to Fargo Season 4 turned out to be a very smart decision for Rock. Reflecting on his work thus far as Loy Cannon, Rock is already thankful he seized the opportunity. Even though the show has yet to premiere, Rock holds the role in the highest esteem.

“This is the best part I’ve ever done and, honestly, probably the best part I’ll ever have,” Rock told EW. “That’s how it works. Morgan Freeman is in The Shawshank Redemption. … He never got a part that good again. When you get these great parts, you have to make the most of them.”

Fans might not immediately see Rock as the perfect choice for Loy Cannon. But the actor believes his age — or more specifically, his character’s gray hair — further helps viewers see past his comedy persona. We’ll see how fans react when Fargo Season 4 begins airing on FX on April 19, 2020.