FX premieres its new series Fargo, loosely based on the 1996 film of the same name, on Tuesday, April 15. The cast, including Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman, along with showrunner Noah Hawley and executive producer Warren Little were on hand at this year's winter Television Critics Association tour to talk about the new show and gives fans an idea of what to expect from the series.
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Here are some things we learned from the panel:
More Seasons Will Mean Different Characters
If the show were to continue beyond its first season, the stories would be told with different casts and different characters, like FX's other big hit, American Horror Story.
A Lot of Work Went Into the Accents
The actors on screen worked hard to perfect their accents. According to Tolman, they had a dialect coach who worked with them before shooting and was also there on set. Freeman admitted that he would often keep the accent all day, even between scenes, as it was too hard to let it go.
It Wasn't Filmed in Minnesota
Hawley said that, though they considered shooting the series in Minnesota, the production was moved to Canada. Little added that the country made it "very tempting" to shoot there and that the weather in Calgary cooperated by providing them with very cold and snowy backgrounds.
It Has the Cohen Brothers Stamp of Approval
The Cohen Brothers, who created the original film, gave the show their stamp of approval. Hawley said they didn't have to put their names on the series, but once they read the original script, they really liked it. But since TV isn't their medium, they gave Hawley the freedom to do what he wanted. They did help out with a few suggestions at the beginning of production, including offering up the name of a great casting director who put together the eclectic cast.
You Don't Need to See the Movie to Watch the Show
Because the story of the series - and subsequent seasons if there are more - will be told as an anthology, you don't have to run out and rent the movie before watching the show. Hawley said they pitched it that way as they "didn't want to make a show where something dark happens every day" in the life of their characters. Though he pointed out that fans of the film will appreciate the show as it will fit in as another crime story from that region. He also said that, though you didn't have to watch the film to follow the series, he still highly recommended it because it was simply a great film.
Expect a "Big Collision at the End"
Hawley explained that the story will be told as an ensemble piece, with each character fitting into the puzzle. "We're heading toward a big collision at the end," Hawley promised.
Thornton's Lorne Malvo Is Not a Typical Bad Guy
Billy Bob Thornton spoke about his character, saying, "He's truly an enigma." He added that one of the things he loved about the character was the fact that Hawley wrote Malvo as something more you're your typical bad guy. Thornton described the man as God and the Devil in one character, adding that he was mischievous and likes to toy with people.
Colin Hanks' Gus Grimley Will Be On a Journey of Atonement
Colin Hanks talked about what drew him to the series and said that he was fascinated by the fact that his character only appears in one scene in the first episode. Describing the move as "incredibly brave," Hanks said he admired the way Grimley's journey was begun. According to Hanks, Grimley will make a big decision early on in the series and after that he will be struggling to atone for his actions and make things right. "I thought it was a great chance to do something where a character knows he made a mistake and he's actively trying to make it better and redeem himself," Hanks said.
What do you think now that you know a little more about Fargo? Will you be checking it out when it premieres on FX?
(Image courtesy of FX)