Riverside's Ballerine gets his close up on 'Fargo'

Opinion: Kosey Corner

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By Joanne Kosey


Are you ready for your close up, Mr. Ballerine? Well, not exactly, but if you watched closely during the Nov. 8 broadcast of the TV show "Fargo," you would have seen Riverside's own Joe Ballerine. 

He was leaning against the bar, smoking a cigarette during a fight scene, something we non-smokers teased him about. But he had the last laugh, stating he got paid for each puff he took. 

His very retro attire, particularly the suspenders, is not something we will see him wear in public, particularly when he is navigating Riverside's streets on his daily run. He also stated the clothes were very expensive.

Ballerine has been an extra in a few shows, including "Chicago Fire," "Chicago P.D." and "Chicago Med," getting his first offer in 2019 after responding to a call from "Chicago Fire" for people who'd look like authentic marathon runners.

Being an avid runner himself, Ballerine fit the bill, and he occasionally has been asked to do others. As for "Fargo," he said, "I have no idea how I was able to get lucky enough to be one of the core extras."

As a core extra, Ballerine is part of a small ensemble who received sort of star treatment. He said he had his own closet for his wardrobe. What's next, your own trailer?

Because the show is set in 1950s Kansas City and a lot of attention is paid to period details, Joe Ballerine was given a new haircut. The way he felt was, "Let them cut it as it needs to be cut, it will grow back." So far, Ballerine has been in two episodes, six and seven.

Spending time with others in the cast, particularly during lunch, gave him a chance to know them and learn their personalities. The production company would also "feed us like mad," said Ballerine, comparing his treatment on the set of "Fargo" as a far cry from his experiences working with dozens of other extras on other shows.

"You'd have a busload of people and they'd throw you a pizza," he said. "It was like a feeding frenzy."

Although the show is meant to be set in Kansas City, you will no doubt recognize that many scenes were shot in Riverside. You knew the days on which they were shooting scenes, because classic cars lined Riverside's streets on those occasions.

You can catch "Fargo" on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on FX, and you can get the episodes on demand afterward on Hulu.

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