“You’re always competing with yourself,” admits composer Jeff Russo as we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above) about his work on “Fargo.” Russo has twice competed for Best Music Composition for a Limited Series or TV Movie for this FX anthology series about crime in the American midwest, so pressure was high for the third season. The tunesmith divulges that he looked back on his previously lauded work because, “I’m trying to retain some of that feeling and also trying to create a new narrative.”
This year also found Russo working with “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley on another FX series, “Legion.” A psychedelic take on the X-Men franchise, the show centers on a disturbed young man (Dan Stevens) who discovers his schizophrenia may actually be special powers. “The idea was, if the character didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t real, why wouldn’t it also be OK for the audience to not know,” he reveals. “So how was I going to express that in music?” He decided to go, “back-and-forth between a very electronic feel to a very orchestral feel.”
Russo also spoke about his work on “The Night Of,” the HBO limited series about an ambulance chasing lawyer (John Turturro) defending a young man (Riz Ahmed) wrongly accused of murder. He describes the show as, “a very real look at what happens when someone is arrested and then put through the criminal justice system.” Because of that, “we use music in a very subtle way, but it’s very effective, because the show is told in a very subtle but powerful way.”
Check out our full interview above for more about Russo’s work on “Fargo,” “Legion,” and “The Night Of.”
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