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Billy Bob Thornton: 'I end up saving the planet' on 'Fargo' series

Kevork Djansezian / Today
Actor Billy Bob Thornton: ""If you want to be a celebrity, then just go to the dentist in Beverly Hills and like punch somebody or something."

Like its big-screen inspiration, FX's adaptation of the Coen brothers' cult film "Fargo" is saturated in both blood and very dark, very dry humor.

At a press conference for the limited series, which premieres on April 15, star Billy Bob Thornton delivered quips worthy of his enigmatic "Fargo" character, Lorne Malvo, a rascally Grim Reaper who serves up murder and mischief to nearly everyone he encounters — all with a hilarious deadpan. 

"If you want to be a celebrity, then just go to the dentist in Beverly Hills and like punch somebody or something," Thornton said. "But if you want to be an actor, get on a really good series on television because that's where it's at."

Thornton's co-stars on the 10-episode show include Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman, who attended the press conference as well. But since it was Thornton who proved the most entertaining, here are some of his funniest observations:

On Lorne Malvo's resembling Ken Burns, the famous documentarian: "A lot has been said of the haircut. My manager said it looks like you're channeling the dark side of Ken Burns. I thought that was great. Ken is just too nice, and I'm here to screw him up." 

On the status shift for actors on the big versus small screens: "When I was coming up, when you went from (film to television) it meant something was wrong. You might as well be on 'The Hollywood Squares."

On mourning the loss of "high-budget independent movies": "The motion picture studios make big event movies and broad comedies and action movies and movies about where evidently vampires are all models." 

On his "Fargo" character's trajectory: "I can't say a lot. I can say I end up saving the planet. Which I do a lot." 

On not being afraid of a project that "starts already on 10:" "I've done a movie where the first scene I've peed myself and thrown up in the alley."