John Carroll Lynch interview: ‘Big Sky’

John Carroll Lynch is adding another distinct character to his repertoire on the new ABC mystery drama “Big Sky.” In the series, the actor plays state trooper Rick Legarski, who is revealed to be involved in sex trafficking and finds himself in hot water after the disappearance of two teenage girls. Lynch has found a way into inhabiting all the unique idiosyncrasies of Rick thanks to the flexibility of Emmy-winning series creator David E. Kelley. “There’s always a freedom to interpret,” says Lynch in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “It feels like jazz with his scripts. You can play it a lot of different ways.” Watch the full interview above.

Viewers are gradually coming to understand Rick’s motivation with each passing episode. Lynch describes his character as having “an ill-founded moral righteousness,” and the actor admits, “I have behaved this way in various circumstances where I was completely wrong and morally righteous at the same time, so it feels disturbingly familiar.” In Rick’s worldview, “the world is going to hell” due to the rising calls for equality and what he perceives to be a bias against the police force. “He doesn’t really think of the women around him as fully-realized human beings who have their own agency. They need his guidance and his restrictions.”

Meanwhile, Lynch is earning rave reviews as part of the ensemble of the new Aaron Sorkin courtroom film “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Playing David Dellinger, the real-life radical pacifist who was charged with conspiracy to start a riot in 1968, Lynch observes him to be “arguably the most morally clear person I’ve ever been allowed to play” and the exact opposite of Rick. While surrounded by prominent actors like Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sacha Baron Cohen, Lynch recalls being struck by “how willing they were to really set aside personal agenda and play as a team.”

Lynch has crafted a career out of playing memorable supporting turns as Norm Gunderson in “Fargo,” Arthur Leigh Allen in “Zodiac” and Twisty the Clown in “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” He reveals that many of his experiences on those projects continue to linger with him but “in a personal way, the ones that I most cherish are the ones that I gain friendships from,” like “Zodiac” and his recent directorial debut, “Lucky.” He cannot pinpoint one character that has had the most lasting impact, but he says with a wry smile, “I love each one of them as they are.”

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UPLOADED Dec 16, 2020 5:00 am