In Canada snowdrifts, Coen brothers' 'Fargo' gets cable TV treatment

Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:17am EDT
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By Scott Haggett

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A particularly punishing winter, even by Canadian standards, has served well the new cable television series "Fargo," a reimagining of the blood-soaked black comedy film of the same name by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

The 10-episode single-season series, which debuts on April 15 on Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's FX cable network, is a new story with different characters, but leans heavily on the frigid Minnesota setting, death, Midwestern folksiness and deadpan humor of its Oscar-winning namesake.

The gift of Calgary's coldest and snowiest winter in years made it easy to emphasize the bone-chilling Minnesota winter the detail-oriented Coen brothers made central to their film.

"The winter is just perfect for this," said Keith Carradine, who plays the father of rookie cop Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), the woman who takes over law enforcement when her boss is murdered in sleepy Bemidji, Minnesota.

"It's absolutely enhanced everything we've done," Carradine added during a recent set visit when temperatures lifted enough to melt a little of the snow pack. "One of the central characters of this piece is the weather."

Along with Tolman, the series stars big-screen actors Martin Freeman as the repressed insurance salesman Lester Nygaard and Billy Bob Thornton as hit man Lorne Malvo, who takes an interest in pushing the buttons of everyone around him.

With a bad haircut and a killer's conscience, Lorne sets the action in motion by murdering one of Lester's tormenters following an off-hand remark Lester makes during idle chit-chat in the waiting area of the local emergency room.

"One of the greatest things that I like about that character is that nobody knows why he's there, who he is, where he's from," Thornton said of Lorne. "In the beginning, nobody even knows he exists outside of Lester and a couple people."   Continued...

Director Scott Winant (C) directs his crew during a scene on the set of the new "Fargo" TV series in Calgary, Alberta, March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol