Cheeseburgers with Oliver Platt

I’m rewatching Season One of Fargo for the jillionth time. With every viewing a new delightful element emerges, and this time it’s Oliver Platt as the Supermarket King of Minnesota, Stavros Milos. Even amid an incomprehensibly strong cast, Platt stands out in a small but crucial role, his ruthlessness as a businessman and father competing with his growing certainty of the existence of a higher power.

The more I watched, the more I thought, “Platt is great in everything. And even more impressive, he’s sometimes the only good aspect of pretty weak projects.” I mean, being great in Fargo with TV’s best writers and against Billy Bob Thornton as one of television’s most unforgettable villains is one thing. But Platt’s just as good in all those dopey Chicago shows (Med, Justice, Fire, PD—I’m waiting for his Dr. Daniel Charles walk-on in Chicago Sanitation) or Indecent Proposal. I read in an excellent piece on Collider that Platt worked with show runner Noah Hawley to develop Stavros’ back story

I interviewed Platt for Esquire in Spring 1999. He had a trio of movies about to come out and Lisa Hintelmann wanted him for one of those quick “one question” things at the front of the book. Here’s the interview, if you want to read it (it was published in the August 1999 issue, but for some reason it’s dated Jan 29, 2007 on the website.) But the one paragraph here doesn’t really do justice to the really nice two-hour conversation we had. I met him near his apartment at a restaurant he liked and everyone knew him and loved him. He ate a giant cheeseburger with a lot of gusto, and that alone was refreshing. Most actors I interviewed barely touched their food, and I don’t blame them with the pressure they’re under.

Anyway, it was a nice memory and a good time. I haven’t done a ton of celebrity interviews, that’s not really my thing. My questions are always moronic “What was it like to play Joe Schmoe?” type stuff, mostly because I come at entertainment as a fan not a critic. I’m far more capable writing about politics or investing or rock and roll, all of which I understand more deeply than tv and movies. But I love tv and movies so much that I was always grateful for assignments like this.

Platt and his agent got in touch after this ran to tell Lisa I’d asked good questions and that they were pleased with the way it had turned out.

FARGO — Pictured: Oliver Platt as Stavros Milos. (Photo: Chris Large/FX)



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