Being Smart Jean
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March 8, 2017   |   Written by Jacob Stolworthy

Article taken from Independent.

Jean Smart’s role in Legion – Noah Hawley’s mind-bending X-Menspinoff series – may come as no surprise considering she stole every scene the showrunner supplied her with in season two of his acclaimed drama Fargo.

Not that Smart is a stranger to acclaim; with a career spanning three decades across stage and screen, Smart has racked up five Emmy nominations and three wins including for roles in sitcom Frasier and perhaps most memorably as First Lady Martha Logan in the standout fifth season of 24 in 2006.

We spoke to the actor about her role as the enigmatic Melanie Bird in Legion and why she will continue to work with “genius'” Hawley again and again.

How’s your Legion experience been?

It was a little unnerving at first because we’d all sort of look at each other and say, ‘Have you read the next script?’ Do you completely understand what’s going on?’ We were all terrified of doing interviews because we so worried we’d sound like idiots. But it became the fun of the show after a while, sort of like getting on a rollercoaster and giving over a little bit of control.

You’ve worked with Noah Hawley before. Was signing up to this series a no-brainer for you?

Oh, absolutely a no-brainer. I had no idea what it was about. I hadn’t seen any script and I thought if Noah wants me and he’s writing it, it’s a done deal. I’d never done that before; definitely a first.

Would it be the same again with a future TV series created by Hawley?

Absolutely. To me, he is the quintessential renaissance man. I think he is a bit of a genius and he’s also a very kind person. I wish we could have spent a little more time with him; unfortunately, we didn’t get much of him in person during the shooting because he was very involved with getting ready for Fargo [season] three. He’s a busy young man. I think he was fitting in book tours during that as well.

Is there anyone that you’ve worked with in the past that Noah’s reminding you of?

No, not really. He’s pretty special.