When it was announced that US cable network FX would be making a TV version of the Coen brothers’ superb Oscar-winning 1996 film there was cautious optimism. Cautious because any sort of remake or refreshes or whatever you want to call them often fall flat, and optimism because Fargo was just so good and set in such a bleak, snow-bound setting as unsettling as any Denmark or any Louisiana. Now things are starting to quicken, because its US premiere is in just over a month, and today we get our first look.
The series certainly has pedigree. The Coen brothers themselves are exec producing, while the cast includes Billy Bob Thornton and our very own Martin Freeman. This guarantees a certain amount of interest because of Freeman’s association with Sherlock and Lord Of The Rings, two franchises that are huge on the internet.
The show itself will once again take place in the Minnesota region, with the same kinds of dialects and dry, quirky humour that the original showcased. Although Marge Gunderson (Francis McDormand) will not be part of the series, a whole host of new characters will tell a new crime story. What we do know is that Thornton plays Lorne Malvo, a drifter who meets and forever changes the life of an insurance salesman, Lester Nygaard (Freeman). Meanwhile, Duluth Police Deputy Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) is a single father who must choose between his own personal safety and his duty as a policeman in investigating the case.
We’re guessing that Freeman’s character, Gunderson, gets his life changed for the worse by Malvo, and we can’t think of a better actor to play an exasperated straight man who sees his life descend into a noirish nightmare than Freeman.
Exec producer Noah Hawley says about Minnesota: “[They] have an inability to communicate. It’s a stoic culture where people don’t talk about feelings. It’s broken the way people communicate.”
We can’t wait for this as everything sounds intriguing and the cast is terrific. With the snow-bound setting (as you’ll see in the short trailer below) and the dialect it has the potential to be every bit as bleak as any Scandinavian drama, and if the story is as quirky and interesting as the original we’re in for a treat.
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