Billy Bob Thornton To Star In FX's Fargo Adaptation

Last fall, FX was reportedly adapting the iconic Coen brothers film, Fargo, for the small screen. This came up way back in September of last year and as other network and cable projects made it to pilot and we failed to hear from the Fargo project, it seemed like more of a rumor than an actually possibility. As it turns out, the drama was just slow out of the gate, and today the network finally announced it has a star attached in none other than Billy Bob Thornton.

Although Thornton did take some TV roles early on in his career, he’s mostly been known for feature films like Sling Blade and Bad Santa (he also directed All the Pretty Horses, but was apparently smart enough to avoid acting in that flop). In the Fargo adaptation, he’ll play Lorne Malvo, a man who has no qualms manipulating others, which is sort of similar to bad guy Carl Showalter in the 1996 film. In the limited series, Malvo will find a small-town insurance salesman and put him on a path toward destruction.

When we first heard about the Fargo television remake, we didn’t know much about the project, beyond the fact that it would be “loosely” based on the Coen brothers’ popular movie. At the time, word on the street was that the Coen brothers would actually sign on to executive produce the drama. Today, it was confirmed the two brothers will executive produce alongside Warren Littefield and Geyer Kosinski. Noah Hawley is penning the script and Bored to Death and Californication director Adam Bernstein has signed on to do the camera work for the premiere.

FX has signed on for a ten-episode limited run for the series, which means Fargo is really, truly happening--not just getting a pilot. However, if you were looking for just a rehash of the film, that doesn’t seem to be what audiences will be getting. Instead, Fargo will be a loose adaptation of the series, and will set-up a brand new “true crime” story with a new case and characters in a setting similar to the film. The series is expected to hit FX’s schedule in the spring of 2014.

With some of FX’s programming headed to FXX when that channel launches this September, it stands to reason that the network would need to beef up its programming lineup somewhat. This summer, The Bridge has done strongly for the network, but FX has plenty of other projects in the pipeline, including The Strain and a live-action comedy from Russell Brand.

Assumedly, the limited series aspect of this project helped FX to say “yes” first, and we’ll keep you posted as more details emerge. Until then, if you need a Fargo refresher, you can check out the original trailer for the film.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.