Jennifer Jason Leigh, Juno Temple: 'Fargo' moms lock horns but value family

Juno Temple (L) and Jennifer Jason Leigh can be seen in Season 5 of "Fargo." Photo courtesy of FX
1 of 5 | Juno Temple (L) and Jennifer Jason Leigh can be seen in Season 5 of "Fargo." Photo courtesy of FX

NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Hateful Eight star Jennifer Jason Leigh and The Offer actress Juno Temple say the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law they play in Fargo Season 5 actually have a lot in common, even if they don't like each other.

The show returns Tuesday on FX with a new cast, setting and storyline, just as each new season of the anthology series does.


Set in 2019 Minnesota and North Dakota, Season 5 follows Dorothy "Dot" Lyon (Temple), a seemingly typical Midwestern housewife whose secret past puts her entire family in jeopardy.

Leigh plays Lorraine, the wealthy mother of Dot's husband Wayne (David Rysdahl), while Dave Foley plays Lorraine's company fixer Danish Graves; Jon Hamm plays Roy Tillman, a sheriff with a dubious moral compass; and Joe Keery plays Roy's son and deputy, Gator.


"Lorraine and Dot are very, very similar people," Leigh told UPI in a recent Zoom interview, noting both women are proud and think family is deeply important.

"She wants what's best for her son and I think she has a hard time understanding his contentment with, what she considers mediocrity, and a middle-level existence," Leigh said of Lorraine. "She doesn't understand why he doesn't fight more and why he isn't more ambitious."

Although Lorraine thinks Wayne can do much better than Dot, constantly criticizing the younger woman and trying to turn Wayne against her, Temple sees much to admire in Dot.

"Dot is a brilliant, beautiful wife and open-hearted mother, filled with a lot of love and also a survivalist who had a past that is complicated," Temple said.

"It's about to start crossing with her present and she's going to do everything in her power to prevent them from colliding and protect everything that matters to her, which is her home and everything in that, which is family."

At the start of the season, Dot is safe, loved and exactly where she has always wanted to be.

But when she gets arrested for defending herself and her kid during a melee at her local school board meeting, her fingerprints go into a law-enforcement database and catch the attention of someone from whom she has been hiding for about a decade, who dispatches a bunch of thugs to kidnap her.


"She sees herself at the beginning of this installment as the luckiest woman in the world to have the daughter and husband that she has, even if her mother-in-law is a little complicated," Temple laughed. "She knows she's going to win her over at some point."

Temple was drawn to the unexpected turns Dot's life takes in the series, which is a crime drama seasoned with dark comedy.

"She doesn't expect what's about to come and I didn't as an actress. I hope the audience doesn't, either, because the surprises are just spectacular," Temple said.

She said she found inspiration for her performance by looking to mothers she describes as "magic" with their own children and other busy, capable women like her real-life best friend, writer-actress Emily Tremaine.

"She's actually from Minnesota and she has this incredible ability to be cooking, be cleaning, be creating, be dancing, be gardening and be able to help you do everything," Temple said.

"She's a kind of wonder in this world with how she handles her exterior life, work life. She was a quiet inspiration for Dot's ability to do a lot of things at once."

Lorraine is known around town as "the Queen of Debt," since she buys accounts that have gone into default and squeezes the owners, often her neighbors, until they pay up.


"She's incredibly successful. She doesn't suffer fools. She's self-made. She's easily disappointed by people. She's quick to judge," Leigh said.

She found Lorraine's voice and personality while watching recordings of the late conservative author and political commentator William F. Buckley.

"It was such an incredible journey and education. I watched a lot of Firing Line, and that show was on for a very, very long time. It was incredible. There's nothing like that now. A lot of the voice and the attitude was inspired by that."

Despite her financial success, Leigh regards how decently Wayne turned out to be Lorraine's greatest accomplishment.

"She's done a very good job as a mom because he is just a beautiful, pure, good person," Leigh said.

Temple agreed.

"You don't often see men depicted like that where they are so nurturing to their wives in the way that they care about what their partner says, but also they respect what their partner doesn't say," Temple said.

"This kind of patience and understanding, in a way, [shows] Dot is a lucky woman."

Leigh also noted what a good dad Wayne turned out to be.

"He loves his wife so much and he loves his family and he loves his mom," Leigh said.


"She did something right. She's harsh and she's hard and intimidating. But there is deep goodness, too."

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