FX is adding a new anthology series to its lineup. Like “American Horror Story,” the upcoming project “Fargo” will feature a number of limited series that chronicle the life and crime in the town of Fargo, ND and across the border in Minnesota, like the 1996 Coen brothers movie on which the series is based.
Writer and executive producer Noah Hawley is already planning Season 2 of the series, but says during the FX project’s TCA 2014 winter press tour panel that each future season of “Fargo” will focus on a difference facet of the “small townness” and “innocence” of the town. He opted not to have it be a case-of-the-week type of show because that would make the character of Molly Solverson (newcomer Allison Tolman) deal with so much darkness that she would “be on ‘Criminal Minds.’”
“I didn’t find the location limiting. That’s not really where I start as a storyteller,” Hawley says of future seasons of “Fargo.” “I think there is something really compelling about the region, and just the Coen Brothers style of storytelling, which is not plot driven. But telling a story that is both dark and comic, I don’t really see an end point for me creatively.”
He adds that he hopes after a season or two of “Fargo” airs, people will see “the [‘Fargo’] movie now fits into that series as another true crime [story].”
Star Martin Freeman, who plays Minnesota insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, says it’s too early to discuss if he would be back for a future season of the show. He tells reporters after “Fargo’s” panel that he initially signed on to “Fargo” because it was short term, but he could be coaxed back for another go. Whether or not it’s as Lester or as a new character (as FX CEP John Landgraf says each “Fargo” season will focus on new people in the town) is yet to be determined.
“As far as I know — and I don’t even know how Lester finishes the story, do you know what I mean? I haven’t finished the episodes; I don’t think [Hawley’s] written all 10 episodes yet — so I’m not even sure how it ends for him,” Freeman says. “I don’t know whether he’s dead, alive, transgender; I don’t know what’s happening. So I don’t know how he ends up. It’s so hypothetical to kind of wonder if I would come back. If they wanted me back and the scripts were good enough, then yeah.”
Landgraf says during the FX executive TCA panel, “‘Fargo’ is a close-end story with a beginning, middle and end.”
Hawley makes a point to note that “Fargo” isn’t a murder mystery, but an ensemble piece. But expect the story to have a climactic finale.
“We’re heading for a big collision at the end of the thing,” Hawley says.
As “Fargo” is based on the Coen brothers movie, it was important for Hawley and executive producer Warren Littlefield that Joel and Ethan Coen sign off on this project. Hawley confirms that both men liked the first “Fargo” TV series script, but didn’t want to be involved as more than executive producers because “TV is not their medium.”
“Ethan, quite expansively, said, ‘Yeah. Good,'” Hawley says of the Coen brother’s response to “Fargo” episode 1. Billy Bob Thorton clarifies, “When Ethan says, ‘Yeah good,’ he’s over the moon.”
The Coens didn’t give Hawley and Littlefield many notes, but as Hawley says, “I don’t really think they were interested in giving notes.”
Littlefield says it was exciting to realize the FX “Fargo” series will be inspired by the film but “be something that’s original.”
“Fargo” will premiere on FX on April 15 at 10 p.m. ET.