In two weeks FX rolls out the television series based on Joel and Ethan Coen’s wickedly funny crime thriller, Fargo. The 1996 film took “Minnesota nice” and filled it full of bullet holes in the “almost true” story of a Minneapolis husband who hires a couple of criminals to kidnap his wife, only to have the whole thing go terribly wrong.
While the TV series focuses on Billy Bob Thornton playing a drifter who brings malice to a small Minnesota town, we can rest somewhat assured it’ll have the Coen brothers comedic bite with both Joel and Ethan Coen serving as executive producers. Prep yourself for Fargo’s small screen debut with some knowledge about how Prince and Stanley Kubrick all fit into this homespun murder story.
1. The wood chipper became a piece of state pride. The infamous wood chipper is now on display at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center.
2. Bruce Campbell makes his way into the movie. Campbell had previously worked with the Coens on Hudsucker Proxy in 1994, and while he isn’t officially in the Fargo cast, the fuzzy footage on the TV at the cabin is from a regional soap opera he did in the late 70s.
3. Norm Gunderson’s duck paintings were done by friends of the Coen brothers. The duck paintings seen at the Gunderson home were actually done by the Hautman brothers, a group of three brothers who paint wildlife and are friends of Joel and Ethan Cohen.
4. “Jävla fitta!” When Gaear Grimsrud takes off in his car to chase down the eyewitnesses to the highway patrolman murder he says “Jävla fitta!” Which is Swedish for “f*cking c*nt!”
5. None of the movie scenes were actually filmed within the Fargo city limits. The bar exterior in the beginning of the movie is located in Northeast Minneapolis and due to an unusually warm winter, fake snow had to be created for some scenes.
6. Hooker #1 helped Francis McDormand with her accent. Larissa Kokernot who played hooker #1 helped McDormand with her accent and mannerisms which McDormand referred to as “Minnesota Nice.” This was Kokernot’s only professional acting role and she’s been married to screenwriter Karl Gajdusek since 2002.
7. There is an entire website dedicated to the question “were those girls really hookers?” Why this website exists is a bit puzzling, but there’s been much debate over whether the girls picked up by Carl Showalter and Gaer Grimsrud were actual prostitutes or just loose women. The Great Fargo Debate rages on…
8. Fargo almost had a TV series 11 years ago. And the name of that series (drum roll)… Fargo. Yep, Bruce Paltrow and Robert Palm wrote a television pilot after the movie’s success in 1997. The 60 minute pilot made its way to TV in 2003 for about a nanosecond and revolved around Marge Gunderson (played by Eddie Falco) investigating the murder of a pharmacist who was shot while helping a stranger jump start their car.