Is it risky to bring a big-screen masterpiece like “Fargo” to television? You betcha.
But that’s what FX is attempting to do – sort of – with its new 10-episode limited series that debuts Tuesday.
“Fargo” isn’t a sequel, or prequel, or even really a spinoff of the Coen brothers’ beloved 1996 cult hit. Instead, it’s an all-new “true crime” story that follows a fresh case and brand new characters (sorry, Marge Gunderson fans).
Still, the show does share its predecessor’s flair for black humor. It’s also set in the icy heart of snow-covered Minnesota and is teeming with quirky folks who talk kinda funny.
“I think when something’s really good, like ‘Fargo’ was, fans will want to see more,” says Billy Bob Thornton, who leads an impressive cast. “It’s the kind of movie that lends itself to expanding. Same place. Same type of people. New stuff happens.”
Thornton stars as Lorne Malvo, a manipulative drifter, with a goofy hairdo, who meets and changes the life of beleaguered insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman). Joel and Ethan Coen are listed as executive producers, but all 10 episodes were penned by Noah Hawley.
Calling in from Calgary, Alberta, where “Fargo” is being shot, Thornton took some time to chat up his latest project.
My manager saw some dailies and thought I was trying to channel the dark side of Ken Burns.