FARGO - Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo. CR: Chris Large/FX

SOME of the Hollywood actors we never thought would appear on the small screen have been pleasantly surprising us.

First it was Matthew McConaughey with True Detective, a series most A-list big screen talent were raving about, and now movie giant Billy Bob Thornton (pictured) steps into the menacing skin of drifter Lorne Malvo in the dark comedy drama, Fargo.

With NCIS: Los Angeles on a sabbatical, the series, created by Noah Hawley, will be filling its slot on Thursday nights.

The stellar star casting of Thornton sees him alongside Martin Freeman as small town insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, Colin Hanks as police officer Gus Grimly, who is forced to make a tough decision between his duty and his family, and Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson, an over-achiever law enforcement deputy. Their worlds are thrown into a tailspin when Malvo arrives in town and leaves a trail of violence in his wake.

In an interview with Hitfix, Thornton said: “I never had the script (for Fargo). I was offered this and then sent the script immediately. I met with Noah Hawley and Warren Littlefield right off the bat within a couple of days of reading the script, and knew the Coen Brothers had already given it their blessing.

“So, in other words, I didn’t have time to sit around and think. The script was so good and so true to the spirit of the Coen Brothers, without imitating them. It was its own animal. The hesitancy for me, at all, was, you know, I don’t want to be on a TV series even though I love TV, and that’s the place for actors now. If you want to do good work, TV’s where they’re doing it.”

On his badass character in the series, he explained: “Lorne Malvo doesn’t have much of a conscience, so you don’t really have to think about his motivations. He’s an alligator and an alligator’s only motivation is ‘eat everything in the way’ or ‘eat whenever you are hungry’.

“He is out to get the job done, whatever the job is. The one aspect to his personality, aside from that, is that for some reason his only recreation, his only social life, is messing with people. He has this odd interest in humanity and I think you will see as the show progresses that there is this bizarre sense of interest in humanity, in weakness and strength.”

With critics raving about this series, saying things like “shockingly great”, “wholly absorbing”, “seriously funny” and “uniquely satisfying”, it certainly begs an audience, even if it is for one episode and for the sheer curiosity aspect of it.

• Fargo airs on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Thursdays at 9.30pm.