News

Bruce Campbell's Ronald Reagan Impression Pays Off In Tonight's Episode of Fargo

by | November 9, 2015 | Comments

 

“Waiting for Dutch” was the name of this season’s Fargo premiere — and now the wait is over with tonight’s episode, “The Gift of the Magi,” when Bruce Campbell guest stars as Ronald Reagan in the FX anthology series. We meet a pre-POTUS Reagan on a campaign swing through tiny Luverne, Minnesota, where “Dutch” gives a stump speech for his 1980 presidential bid.

Groovy Bruce nails it as The Great Communicator. He’s got it all going on, from the charisma and palpable patriotism to the rosy cheeks and Brylcreem in his black pompadour. Not to mention Reagan’s velvet-smooth voice.

Campbell started working on that — just for fun — long before he landed the role.

“Everyone I knew imitated him,” Campbell said about the 40th president.

That includes Fargo executive producer John Cameron.

“We’re close friends. He’s the godfather of my son,” said Cameron, who beckoned his longtime pal to the Calgary set to shoot the fifth episode. “It was easy to pick up the phone and say, ‘You’re going to Canada.’”

 

Campbell and Cameron met in high school in suburban Detroit and worked together on The Evil Dead (1981) and several Coen brothers’ movies, including the 1996 Oscar-winning Fargo (Campbell made an unbilled cameo) that inspired Noah Hawley’s cable series of the same name.

“When the Reagan character became central to one of the episodes, it seemed obvious that Bruce had to play Reagan,” Cameron said, noting that it was Hawley’s idea. “He’s a fan of Bruce’s work.”

At the TV critics’ press tour this summer, Hawley talked about the Reagan storyline in season two, which began in Fargo’s typical offbeat fashion. The opening scene featured an outtake from a fake black-and-white 1951 movie titled Massacre at Sioux Falls. The actors, including a Native American in headdress and face paint, were killing time on the chilly set, waiting for the arrival of the film’s star: a young Ronald Reagan.

“The spectre of Ronald Reagan hangs over the movie because it also hangs over this time period, 1979, where post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, the American narrative becomes so complicated,” Hawley said. “These characters [in the opening] are standing around waiting for Reagan the way that America was.”

“Nobody knew if we could get out of this mess,” he added. “Then along came Reagan and said, ‘It’s not that complicated. We are Americans.’ And the country changed dramatically from the ’70s to the ’80s.”

(Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

 

Campbell filmed Fargo shortly before heading to New Zealand this spring to shoot Starz’s new series, Ash vs. Evil Dead.

“I had to grow my sideburns back after getting all trimmed up to play Reagan,” the actor said on the Southern Hemisphere set, rubbing his face with Ash’s prosthetic hand.

When we’re introduced to Campbell’s clean-shaven Reagan in Fargo, the future prez is humble-bragging about the many people he saved as a lifeguard in Illinois and wooing the crowd with lines from an actual 1979 speech announcing his candidacy.

Campbell fastidiously researches his roles, Cameron said, and the Reagan part was no exception.

“On his own dime and on his own time, he went to a studio and filmed himself doing Reagan speeches and sent them to us for comment,” explained Cameron. “He wanted to know what we thought of his expression.”

He got Hawley’s vote.

“We had a long conversation about the accent and the mannerisms, and I think he did an amazing job,” the Fargo creator said. “It’s really awesome.”

“The Gift of the Magi,” starring Bruce Campbell, airs tonight on FX at 10 p.m. Read season two reviews here.

  • J Wilson

    Campbell 2016!

  • Benjamin Jahn

    F*** yeah, Bruce Campbell!

  • MikeDK

    Cannot wait to see this episode.

  • Isi

    yeah! Vote now!!

  • TheMalevolentCureis5x5

    Bruce Campbell, the god of Groovy.
    So happy and proud of where his career has gone in these past years. Talk about a second wind. And it’s not even a 2nd wind when you think about it, since he has enjoyed steady work throughout his career. He is just becoming more and more known and utilized. I love this man.

    P.S. He became Regan for Fargo. Fantastic episode on a must-see show. If you haven’t given it a look yet, do yourself a favour and download the FX Now app and watch from ep 1. You don’t have to have seen the first anthology season to watch this one.

Tag Cloud

historical drama Mystery fast and furious cops Mudbound Ghostbusters rom-coms PaleyFest See It Skip It christmas movies Lifetime Christmas movies YouTube based on movie finale BBC sports sequels 2016 Women's History Month films spider-man worst movies Funimation cancelled television canceled Vudu Paramount Network Chilling Adventures of Sabrina medical drama Lifetime LGBTQ Ovation classics festivals halloween tv Rocketman The Arrangement TCA Winter 2020 japanese parents PlayStation dc Comics on TV superhero Tumblr screenings politics Red Carpet mission: impossible VICE Star Wars book Oscars comic trailers miniseries travel Stephen King Peacock emmy awards ITV Pixar television Pop TV Country Television Academy Pride Month ABC Family asian-american versus cooking TIFF movies comics History A&E Mary poppins Black Mirror nfl 71st Emmy Awards children's TV HBO Go renewed TV shows Disney Martial Arts Musical anime true crime Academy Awards joker Shudder serial killer Crunchyroll Animation spinoff Mary Poppins Returns strong female leads Awards Tour 24 frames Nat Geo halloween Apple justice league SundanceTV stop motion E! fresh DC Universe Britbox harry potter rotten Trophy Talk CW Seed Pirates criterion Box Office video on demand YouTube Red Disney Plus social media Ellie Kemper Amazon archives Trailer Tubi worst spy thriller SXSW facebook remakes scary movies Black History Month OneApp revenge Winners Superheroes BET Writers Guild of America Hallmark dramedy 21st Century Fox Reality Competition Lucasfilm Warner Bros. ID YA Family james bond Marvel NBC MTV golden globe awards batman Reality Horror TV renewals Rocky Star Trek TruTV indiana jones robots french casting Opinion Discovery Channel 007 Comedy Central latino Spectrum Originals GLAAD Syfy Grammys Character Guide Shondaland Fox News New York Comic Con Election APB Alien Fall TV The CW war Premiere Dates movie Sundance Showtime best science fiction HBO Max cults BBC America Acorn TV Arrowverse crime drama talk show RT21 PBS LGBT anthology MSNBC TCM Disney streaming service Chernobyl Photos HBO hollywood San Diego Comic-Con 2020 ESPN IFC Films golden globes Cosplay 72 Emmy Awards adventure American Society of Cinematographers Watching Series slashers Extras spanish language OWN Schedule satire discovery italian FOX Cartoon Network cars Infographic Food Network Sundance TV deadpool TNT Marvel Studios cancelled TV series reviews indie hispanic jurassic park The Purge Polls and Games Music award winner theme song Netflix Super Bowl GoT Christmas Hallmark Christmas movies TBS Cannes documentary composers DC streaming service MCU south america DGA Nominations richard e. Grant Quiz dogs twilight Elton John comic books Bravo National Geographic USA Network Mary Tyler Moore WarnerMedia DirecTV AMC BBC One Disney+ Disney Plus a nightmare on elm street Pop crossover TV franchise Apple TV Plus natural history crime Tarantino FX on Hulu transformers CNN CBS mockumentary romantic comedy Starz X-Men supernatural thriller Disney Channel Apple TV+ Summer documentaries Superheroe A24 space Interview tv talk TV Land Holiday Emmy Nominations mutant stand-up comedy Sneak Peek free movies Universal IFC FXX teaser scorecard Film Festival Biopics comiccon E3 TCA Awards Hear Us Out Avengers Netflix Christmas movies Video Games pirates of the caribbean news Comedy SDCC Binge Guide breaking bad 2019 CMT period drama WGN crime thriller Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt blaxploitation Comic Book kids police drama cancelled TV shows Baby Yoda Trivia technology Action Dark Horse Comics Nickelodeon Best and Worst Television Critics Association Endgame 99% Pet Sematary canceled TV shows Winter TV dceu Musicals TCA Hulu laika Esquire Thanksgiving romance Columbia Pictures vampires 2015 series cinemax ratings DC Comics child's play Western Heroines Kids & Family venice President docudrama Year in Review jamie lee curtis Epix RT History The Academy ABC Signature YouTube Premium 20th Century Fox Certified Fresh Walt Disney Pictures zombies boxoffice Valentine's Day aliens Paramount animated australia werewolf Film all-time independent VH1 Song of Ice and Fire Marathons Turner Logo Turner Classic Movies dragons BAFTA The Walt Disney Company doctor who rotten movies we love witnail singing competition Crackle Calendar Rock game show Toys Classic Film Creative Arts Emmys Amazon Studios sag awards USA Brie Larson elevated horror sequel Podcast El Rey Captain marvel First Look Marvel Television dark Freeform nbcuniversal Travel Channel TLC Set visit NYCC 2018 TCA 2017 what to watch psycho ghosts diversity Sci-Fi Fantasy Countdown quibi spain stoner psychological thriller critics binge 2017 political drama FX ABC cancelled nature reboot sitcom chucky Adult Swim Sony Pictures directors green book GIFs comedies game of thrones Drama die hard blockbuster rt archives unscripted Lionsgate obituary Holidays First Reviews name the review Spring TV screen actors guild cartoon Anna Paquin Emmys Amazon Prime spanish foreign Amazon Prime Video Masterpiece universal monsters 4/20 Spike BET Awards streaming hist zero dark thirty TV One disaster biography Fox Searchlight festival Rom-Com cats 45 video football The Witch concert boxing CBS All Access Sundance Now 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards adaptation toy story Tomatazos Awards The Walking Dead toronto Teen Mindy Kaling zombie black VOD