Ted Danson is going from crime scene investigation expert to small town sheriff after signing on to star in the second season of the Fargo TV adaptation. Last month (Dec14), Kirsten Dunst was cast in a leading role as a beautician in season two, opposite former Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons, who will play her husband.
Now producers have revealed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star Danson and the Watchmen's Patrick Wilson will also take on major parts, with the Cheers veteran playing Hank Larsson, the Sheriff of Rock County, Minnesota and Wilson portraying his son-in-law, former Vietnam War veteran and State Police Officer Lou Solverson.
The upcoming 10-episode season will be set in 1979 and serve as a back story for Solverson, the character 65-year-old Keith Carradine portrayed in season one.
Frasier's Jean Smart, Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman, Brad Garrett, Kieran Culkin and Jeffrey Donovan will also be among the new Fargo cast.
Screenwriter Noah Hawley will return to pen the second season and executive produce with Joel and Ethan Coen, who wrote and directed the hit 1996 film the series is adapted from.
Production is due to begin in Calgary, Canada later this month (Jan15).
The acclaimed first season featured Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks and Martin Freeman.
The Paley Center
The FX original limited series Fargo started its 1o-episode run this week, dontcha know? We caught up with stars Colin Hanks, Keith Carradine, Martin Freeman, and Billy Bob Thornton, plus showrunner Noah Hawley on the red carpet of the show's preview panel at the Paley Center New York. Here's what they had to say about successfully adapting a beloved cinematic masterpiece, the "golden age" of TV, and the show's frigid Calgary set.
Hanks on the allure of the limited series:"I think now, with the way some shows are being made now, you have this luxury of not necessarily having to make a TV show that will last for 100 episodes. Now it's really more about letting the story dictate how many you do."
Hawley on what attracted him to the project:"I wasn't being asked to copy something, I was being asked to create an homage really, which then forced me to say, 'Well, what made that movie that movie and how do I tell a story that feels the same, but doesn't play the same?'"
Carradine on how the pilot script turned skepticism into enthusiasm:"I said, 'Oh my gosh, how are they gonna do that?' And then I got the script and I said, 'Oh, okay. That's how they're gonna do it.' It's brilliant. It takes where [the Coen Brothers] started, and it kind of ramps off from there. And it takes into account where we as an audience have come in the last 18 years since that film was made. There's no other film like it, and yet, in those 18 years, the audience has become more sophisticated and, I think that what we're doing here reflects that."
Hanks on the show's pitch-black humor:"Violence isn't necessarily played for laughs, but maybe what happens just prior to it or just after it, in its aftermath, is sort of a way of releasing that tension that violence brings to the plot."
Hawley on the show's heavyweight cast:"The network and I really wanted to cast it like a movie, and aim for a sort of caliber of actor. Knowing that it was only a 10-episode commitment, why settle?"
Carradine on the cultural landscape of TV:"If you really want to do incisive, progressive storytelling, television seems to be the place now. It's kind of a new golden age."
Freeman on how the location helped him find his character:Freeman: "If we're pretending to be in a very cold, snowy place, it helps if we're in one. And Calgary was white on the ground for the entire four months that we were there."Us: "Well, it was here in New York too. You could've filmed here."Freeman: "Oh, don't tell me that!"
Thornton on another Coen Brothers film that'd make a great miniseries:"Blood Simple. Let's do it."
Fargo is about to become a limited-run series, don'tcha know? The Coen Brothers' Oscar-winning, jet black comedy classic will get a small screen adaptation courtesy of FX. The network announced that the series based on the 1996 flick, which will run for just ten episodes, will debut in the spring of 2014.
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The Fargo television series will have Joel Coen and Ethan Coen on board as executive producers and Noah Hawley will pen the script. FX President John Landgraf said during his network's upfront presentation in New York City on Thursday, “For years, people have tried to adapt this Academy Award-winning gem into a TV series with no success. I have always loved Fargo and I was skeptical about this as a series, but Noah Hawley’s script made me a believer. This script is so good and so true to the tone of the original movie."
The TV show will reportedly follow new characters (though, hopefully the delightful, sharp Marge Gunderson — originally played by Frances McDormand in the film — will be part of the mix) and new cases in the icy tundra of North Dakota.
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But Fargo isn't the only way FX is merging movies with television: the cable network also announced that they've greenlit a series from co-executive producer Paul Giamatti called Mayflower, as well as a series co-executive produced by Sam Mendes called Grand Hotel, and a series co-executive produced by Alexander Payne called Sutton.
FX, in addition to renewing their hit series like Justified and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (as well as introducing a sister comedy station called FXX) will also add the American version of British series Mad Dogs to their lineup.
RELATED: 'It's Always Sunny', 'The League' Move To FX's New Comedy Channel FXX
[Photo credit: Gramercy Pictures]
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It was a banner day for television production--perhaps the jolt of energy from all those Emmy wins and losses really threw Hollywood into gear. Here's all the news you might've missed while hungover from all that sparkling apple juice you drank last night on the party circuit. Onward!
The Coen Brothers Think Small [Screen] for Fargo: In "holy s**t this sounds AMAZING" news, Coen Brothers Joel and Ethan have inked a deal with FX to bring an hourlong series to television loosely based on their iconic film Fargo. Honestly, I am one to balk frequently about the lack of original ideas in Hollywood, but this is just really, really awesome. For those who may have forgotten, Fargo the movie was a dark comedic drama about a pregnant North Dakota police chief who hunts two buffoon-esque criminals hired by a car salesman to kidnap his wife. It won two Oscars! [Deadline]
Mandy Moore Pilots a...Pilot: Singer/actress/candy enthusiast/Ryan Adams wife, Mandy Moore has nabbed herself a pilot deal at ABC with writer Rich Appel. Moore will play a plucky young 28 year old who runs away from home (no need to go back and double check, I did indeed write 28, not 8. Plus Moore playing an 8 year old would be...well, just really strange) in order to do that whole live-the-life-you've-always-wanted thing. It sounds like one of those quarter-life-crisis moments I heard John Mayer sing about back in the day. But--TWIST!--her family decides to run away with her. I don't know why her family's worried enough about losing her to follow suit, since, you know she'll be forever yours (love always, Mandy). [Variety]
Baz Luhrmann Signs Overall Deal with Sony Pictures TV: Really gave that one away in the lede there, huh? Well, it's true! Mr. Moulin Rouge himself is going to have a go at the small screen. So spoketh the Luhrmann: "Television at the moment has such great freedom, giving writers the ability to explore any idea and to have maximum amount of freedom to do that." Hear hear! [The Hollywood Reporter]
Is This Fifty Shades for the TV/Fashion Set?: Someone was going to make the comparison so might as well do it now. American Horror Story producer Jessica Sharzer has gotten herself a put pilot commitment from ABC for Dress To Kill. The show is being touted as an "erotic thriller" about the fashion world. She will be executive producing with Brian Grazer, who is certainly no slouch. The show will be set in New York (natch) and has a murder mystery at the core of its story line. Intrigue! Sounds positively seamy (I'll be here all night, folks!) [Deadline]
[Photo Credit: Gramercy Pictures]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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The new fall pilots haven't even premiered yet, but already the networks are looking forward to their next big task: finding the right pilots and scripts to order for the 2013-2014 season. Development season is well underway and has been for the past few weeks — although this season is marked by a declaration from some networks (namely ABC and NBC) that the typically order-happy suits would not be as quick to bulk up their pilot orders this year. In other words, less is more.
Most of the majors have already made their first-round choices for specific projects, and the trends that have emerged seem to be all about big-name attachments (e.g. Vince Vaughn, Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds), period dramas (e.g. Aztec empire, Cold War America, 1890s Europe), international transplants (from Israel, England and Scandinavia) and — in an interestingly-revived yet well-worn trend — book adaptations (including Dracula and two Sleepy Hollow reboots).
Here's what ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, NBC and more have coming down the '13-'14 pipeline so far:
— Dumb F*ck: Single-camera comedy about an average Joe and his brilliant wife who move in with her intelligent yet emotionally stunted family of geniuses; written by Hank Nelken (Saving Silverman), executive produced by Vin Di Bona, Bruce Gersh, Susan Levison and Shaleen Desai.
— Burns & Cooley: Medical procedural about two New York neurosurgeons who compete as they strive to be the top in all aspects of their lives; written by Meredith Philpott (Awkward), exec produced by Matt Gross (Body Of Proof).
— Founding Fathers: Drama about a war veteran whose Texas hometown is in the hands of a militia group led by his older brother; written by Rich D'Ovidio (Thir13en Ghosts), produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott.
— Untitled McG Project: Retelling of Romeo and Juliet, revolving around two rival families fighting for control over Venice, California; written by Byron Balasco (Detroit 1-8-7), produced by McG (The OC, Supernatural, Nikita).
— Untitled Kurtzman/Orci Project: Drama about a mysterious game; written by Noah Hawley (The Unusuals), produced by Heather Kadin, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci.
— Dracula: 1890s-set period piece about the iconic vampire; written by Cole Haddon, produced by Tony Krantz and Colin Callender; starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors).
— The Blacklist: Drama about an international criminal who surrenders himself and helps the government hunt down his former cohorts; written by Jon Bokenkamp, exec produced by John Davis, John Fox and John Eisendrath.
— Hench: Based on the comic about a man who becomes a temp for super villains; written by Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives), exec produced by Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey (Prime Suspect).
— Cleopatra: Period drama about the Egyptian queen Cleopatra; written by Michael Seitzman (Americana), exec produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott.
— Pariah: Drama inspired by Freakonomics about a rogue academic who uses economic theory to police San Diego; written by Kevin Fox (The Negotiator), exec produced by Kelsey Grammer, Stella Stolper and Brian Sher.
— After Hours/The Last Stand: Medical drama about Army doctors who work the night shift at a San Antonio hospital; revisited from last season; written by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah.
— Untitled Parkes/MacDonald Project: Drama about an interpreter at the United Nations who works with diplomats and politicians from around the world; written by Tom Brady (Hell on Wheels), produced by Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ted Gold.
— Untitled Charmelo/Snyder Project: New Orleans-set drama, described as a "sexy Southern Gothic thriller"; created by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder (Ringer), exec produced by Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.
— Untitled Rand Ravich Project: Drama-thriller following a secret service agent at the center of an international crisis in Washington, DC; created by Rand Ravich (Life), produced by Far Shariat.
— Island Practice: Based on the book Island Practice: Cobblestone Rash, Underground Tom, and Other Adventures Of A Nantucket Doctor, about an eccentric doctor with a controversial medical practice on an island off the coast of Washington; written by Amy Holden Jones (Mystic Pizza, Beethoven), produced by Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo and Oly Obst.
— The Brady Bunch: Reboot of the series, about a divorced Bobby Brady who re-marries a woman with children of her own; written by Mike Mariano (Raising Hope), co-developed and exec produced by Vince Vaughn (Sullivan & Son).
— A Welcome Grave: Based on the book series about a private investigator who comes under suspicion when a rival turns up dead.
— Backstrom: Based on the book series about a House-like detective who tries to change his self-destructive nature; written by Hart Hanson (Bones), produced by Leif G.W. Persson (novel) and Niclas Salomonsson.
— Ex-Men: Single-camera comedy about a young guy who moves into a short-term rental complex and befriends the other men who live there after being kicked out by their wives; written and directed by Rob Greenberg; starring Chris Smith and Kal Penn.
— Sleepy Hollow: Contemporary reinterpretation of the Sleepy Hollow short story; written by Patrick Macmanus and Grant Scharbo, produced by Scharbo and Gina Matthews.
— Gun Machine: Based on an upcoming novel (of the same name) about a New York detective whose chance discovery of a stash of guns leads back to a variety of unsolved murders; written by Dario Scardapane (Trauma), produced by Warren Ellis (book author), Scardapane, Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
— Sleepy Hollow: Modern-day thriller based on the Sleepy Hollow short story, following Ichabod Crane and a female sheriff who solve supernatural mysteries; written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Fringe, Hawaii Five-0) and Phillip Iscove, produced by Heather Kadin and Len Wiseman.
— The Beach: Based on the 1996 novel and 2000 movie about a group of youths who try to start society over on a remote paradise; written by Andrew Miller (The Secret Circle).
— Hard Up: Single-camera comedy based on Israeli series about four twentysomething guys who are strapped for cash; written by Etan Frankel (Shameless), produced by John Wells.
— Lowe Rollers: Animated comedy about a struggling Titanic-themed casino in Las Vegas; written by Mark Torgove and Paul Kaplan (Outsourced) and Ash Brannon, produced by Ryan Reynolds, Jonathon Komack Martin, Steven Pearl and Allan Loeb.
— Untitled Chris Levinson Project: Cop drama about a detective who puts his life under surveillance when he begins to lose his memory; written by Chris Levinson (Touch), produced by Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
— Untitled Friend/Lerner Project: Drama set on an aircraft carrier following young naval officers and a female fighter pilot who tries to solve an onboard murder; written and produced by Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner (House).
— Untitled Ryan Reynolds Project: Half-hour comedy about a disgraced hotelier forced to manage a rundown airport hotel; written by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay (Clash of the Titans), produced by Ryan Reynolds, Allan Loeb, Jonathon Komack Martin and Steven Pearl.
— Untitled Jason Katims Project: Romantic comedy about a single female attorney; written by Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) and Sarah Watson.
— Getting On: U.S. adaptation of a British comedy about a group of nurses and doctors working in a women's geriatric wing of a run-down hospital; Big Love creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer to exec produce with Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and Geoff Atkinson.
— Buda Bridge: Belgian-set crime drama about a woman who is found dead on a famous bridge in Brussels; written and directed by Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead), produced by Michael Mann (Luck) and Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad).
— Hello Ladies: Comedy about an oddball Englishman who chases women in Los Angeles; written, directed by and starring Stephen Merchant (The Office), produced by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (The Office).
— Angie's Body: Drama about a powerful woman at the head of a crime family; written by Rob Fresco (Heroes, Jericho), directed and executive produced by Jodie Foster, Fresco and Russ Krasnoff.
— Conquest: Period drama about Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, who clashes with the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II; written by Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo.
— Low Winter Sun: Based on 2006 British miniseries about the aftermath that follows the murder of a cop by a fellow detective; written by Chris Mundy; James Ransone, Ruben Santiago Hudson and Athena Karkanis to star.
— Those Who Kill: Based on Danish series about a detective and forensics scientist who track down serial killers; written by Glen Morgan, produced by Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Peter Bose and Jonas Allen, directed by Joe Carnahan.
— Untitled LaGravenese/Goldwyn Project: Legal thriller about an attorney who discovers new evidence that re-opens a sensational murder case; written by Richard LaGravenese, directed by Tony Goldwyn, exec produced by David Manson; Marin Ireland to star as female lead.
— The Americans: Period drama about two KGB spies posing as Americans in Washington, DC; created by Joe Weisberg, exec produced by Weisberg, Graham Yost, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey; directed by Gavin O'Connor; Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich to star.
— The Bridge: Based on the Scandinavian series, about a murder investigation opened up after a dead body is discovered on a bridge connecting the United States and Mexico; written by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid (Cold Case), produced by Carolyn Bernstein, Lars Blomgren and Jane Featherstone.
— Untitled Dr. Dre Project: One-hour drama about music and crime in Los Angeles; written by Sidney Quashie, exec produced by Dr. Dre.
Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSnetiker
[Photo Credit: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW]