Academy Award(R) winning writer/producer and Academy Award and Golden Globe(R) Award nominated actor Billy Bob Thornton has signed on to star in the FX limited series Fargo, an adaptation of the classic Academy Award winning feature film of the same title by Joel & Ethan Coen, it was announced today by John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. Production begins this fall in Canada and the series is slated to premiere next spring on FX.
Thornton will play "Lorne Malvo," a rootless, manipulative man who meets a small town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction.
Thornton won the Academy Award for Outstanding Screenplay for Sling Blade, for which he also was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and he was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for A Simple Plan. He has four Golden Globe acting nominations for The Man Who Wasn't There, A Simple Plan, Bandits, and Bad Santa.
A 10-episode limited series inspired by the film, FX's Fargo will feature an all-new "true crime" story, with the series following a new case and new characters, all entrenched in the trademark humor, murder and "Minnesota nice" that has made the film an enduring classic. Fargo is written by Noah Hawley. Executive Producers are Joel & Ethan Coen, Warren Littlefield, and Geyer Kosinski. Fargo is produced by FX Productions and MGM Television.
MGM Television will handle worldwide distribution of the series outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Fargo, released in 1996, was nominated for seven Academy Awards(R) and won for Best Original Screenplay for Joel & Ethan Coen and Best Actress for Frances McDormand. It was named as one of the 100 Greatest American Movies by the American Film Institute. A wildly unique blend of comedy, drama and thriller, the film starred Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief pursuing two bumbling criminals hired by a car salesman to kidnap his wife.
Emmy Award-winning director Adam Bernstein (30 Rock) will direct the premiere hour Fargo. An Emmy-winner for his work on 30 Rock, Adam Bernstein is a veteran television director whose credits also include Breaking Bad, House of Lies, Californication, Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, Scrubs, Bored to Death and Rescue Me. Bernstein will also serve as executive producer on the premiere episode.
Last year, FX announced that it would be producing miniseries and limited series through FX Productions. The network has had tremendous success with traditional drama series, with most of its dramas running seven seasons. By entering the limited series business, FX can produce dramatic programs that have shorter runs - one, two or three seasons - and offer talented filmmakers more freedom.
FX Productions is also in production on the limited series Wayward Pines for FOX. A limited series from M. Night Shyamalan, Wayward Pines stars Matt Dillon and Carla Gugino. It begins production in August in Vancouver and is slated to premiere in summer of 2014.