How art’s queer subtleties changed ‘Fargo’ actress Jessica Pohly for the better

Fargo stepped onto the scene in 2014 and quickly became one of the most-watched black comedy crime dramas out there. Based on the 1996 film of the same name by the Coen brothers, Fargo is an anthology series that centers a new cast each season as they solve different crimes and dive into murder investigations in various Midwestern towns. Featuring actors like Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Jessie Buckley, Lamorne Davis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Rock, Juno Temple, Jon Hamm, and more, the series has gained an immense following and plenty of awards.

The latest season brings fans to 2019 Minnesota and North Dakota, where an unexpected series of events leaves Dorothy ‘Dot’ Lyon (Temple) under the watchful eye of the authorities. Now, the life Dot left behind might jeopardize the one she created as a seemingly typical Midwestern housewife. One of the authorities in the latest season is Agent Meyer, played by Jessica Pohly, who, along with her partner Tony Joaquin (Nick Gomez), leave no stone unturned in Dot’s case. 

Pohly’s big acting break came from starring as bank robber named Pepper opposite Paul Reubens in Pee-wee’s Big Holiday in 2016. She has graced TV screens in several shows since then, including Huge in France, SMILF, and Grand Crew. Now, her talents are in the latest season of Fargo

With the new season almost over, INTO spoke with Pohly about what makes Agent Meyer tick, her favorite piece of pop culture, and the biopic of the queer icon she’d like to produce. 

What three words would you use to describe your Fargo character, Agent Meyer, and why?

Curious, determined, righteous. She doesn’t let up, even when her boss tells her to turn a blind eye. She is committed to upholding the justice system and she has clear views on right and wrong. She’s also calm and confident as she faces some really terrifying characters. Sorry, that’s five!

Fargo fans obviously use the show as a go-to “pick-me-up.” What’s your go-to TV show or film and why?

Lately, I’ve been watching all these horrifying cult docuseries. I’m fascinated by what happens to peoples’ brains inside of cults. As an actor, it’s really interesting to imagine how and why people get into them and the wild things they agree to do.

What is a piece of pop culture that is not explicitly queer, but helped you learn about your queerness? 

This is such a great question because a lot of art and entertainment I’m drawn to is queer in more subtle ways (or maybe in the truest sense of the word). I love things that don’t correspond to the established order, whether that is through gender and sexuality, or any zillion other aspects of culture. As a kid, Pee-wee’s Playhouse was probably my first experience of subversive pop culture. Since then, I’ve always loved stuff that has an element of the unexpected. Pina Bausch’s work, the Brothers Quay – [examples] that come to mind. One doesn’t have to be queer to make or gravitate towards this kind of art, but I love that I identify as queer. It took me a while to understand this part of myself, but when I look back on the pop culture I’ve loved (or hated), it’s like, “Oh sure, that makes sense.”

As an actor, you’re constantly collaborating with new creatives. Who is an actor you’d like to work with that would make a dream collaboration for you?

I’m low-key obsessed with Cole Escola. I think everything they do is brilliant, wicked, and hilarious. I hope we cross paths creatively someday.

If we gave you a budget to produce a biopic about your favorite queer icon, who would it be, and what would be the Oscar-winning scene?

I’d take your money and give it to my friend Silas Howard because he is already trying to make it, a look at the life of Dorian Corey

Don't forget to share:

Read More in Get INTO It
The Latest on INTO