June 23, 2014
Colin Hanks Enters New Territory With Darker Character In 'Fargo'

Colin Hanks has been the on-screen good guy since his breakthrough role in 2002's Orange County, but the affable actor is about to change that.

Hanks has taken the occasional role as darker characters -- including a memorable turn as a serial killed in Dexter -- but the 36-year-old actor was mostly known for his boyish looks and good nature.

But Hanks has now broken out of the acting box with a complicated character in the acclaimed FX dramedy Fargo. In the 10-episode show, Colin Hanks plays a police officer named Gus Grimsly who meets up with the nefarious Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton). Hanks relents to the overpowering Malvo, saving the lives of his family but causing strife in his community.

Colin Hanks embraced the role and the chance to play a different kind of character.

"That's the stereotype of me," said Hanks, who is the son of actor Tom Hanks. "That's the pigeonhole I'm in, and I'm constantly trying to break out of that."

The show is an adaptation of the 1996 Oscar-winning film from Joel and Ethan Coen, and the show's creator Noah Hawley said Hanks has excelled in the role.

"Colin was born to play this role -- it really shows what he is capable of," Hawley said. "He's got that impossible-to-quantify likability, but he's never been put through his paces like this."

The first episode of episode shows the depth of Hanks' character. In it, Grimsly pulls over Malvo during a routine traffic stop, leading to a tense exchange in which Malvo threatens Grimsly's family.

"That scene is about what Gus is doing and not doing," Hanks said. "It's a very relatable scenario -- he's frightened for himself and his daughter, he wants to protect her, so the best thing to do is nothing. But although technically he did the right thing, the rest of the series revolves around him living with that guilt. In the eyes of everyone else, he did the wrong thing."

Colin Hanks also has more work in the pipeline, including just having completed work on the movie No Stranger Than Love.