Fargo em­braces Cana­dian win­ter

Pop­u­lar off­shoot will fea­ture new cast, sto­ry­line in sec­ond sea­son

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - BRAD OSWALD

HOL­LY­WOOD — Dur­ing a ca­reer than spans more than three decades in the tele­vi­sion in­dus­try, War­ren Lit­tle­field has been a lot of things — a devel­op­ment ex­ec­u­tive, a net­work entertainment pres­i­dent, an in­de­pen­dent pro­ducer and the au­thor of a best­selling book about the in­ner work­ings of the TV biz. But there was, un­til re­cently, one thing that he had not been:

Re­ally, re­ally, re­ally, re­ally freakin’ cold. That all changed late last year when, as one of the ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers of the ac­claimed FX-net­work se­ries Fargo, he took up tem­po­rary res­i­dence in Cal­gary dur­ing one of the harsh­est and most in­hos­pitable Cana­dian winters in re­cent mem­ory. “We ac­tu­ally started shoot­ing in Novem­ber, but win­ter came very hard and very fast, and De­cem­ber was pretty bru­tal up there,” Lit­tle­field said last week dur­ing FX’s por­tion of the U.S. net­works’ semi-an­nual press tour in Los An­ge­les. Pro­duc­tion on Fargo — a 10-part se­ries in­spired by the 1996 Coen broth­ers fea­ture film of the same name — lasted un­til early April. “It was a bit of a shock for my body, that’s for sure,” Lit­tle­field later told the Free Press. “I have a new wardrobe now — I have three Canada Goose coats, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. It was cer­tainly a chal­lenge; other than a cou­ple of days here and there, I hadn’t been in a win­ter cli­mate for about 35 years. But I loved it. I think I’ll have to ac­cli­mate my­self all over again this year, but I can’t wait.” Fargo, of course, is the FX se­ries that al­most called Win­nipeg home. For sev­eral weeks last year, the se­ries’ pro­duc­ers and FX ex­ec­u­tives scouted lo­ca­tions in both Man­i­toba and Al­berta be­fore de­cid­ing — partly on the ba­sis of di­rect­flight avail­abil­ity to and from Los An­ge­les — to shoot in Cal­gary. “We hated say­ing no to Win­nipeg,” Lit­tle­field said. “There were a lot of things we re­ally loved about the city.” In fact, even af­ter the Fargo bunch had shifted its fo­cus to Cal­gary, Win­nipeg-based pro­ducer Kim Todd was in­vited to join the se­ries team. “We had a great ses­sion when we met with her in Win­nipeg,” Lit­tle­field ex­plained. “We said, ‘Look, we have no idea whether this will in­ter­est you, but if you’re will­ing to come to Cal­gary, we’d love to have you (as pro­ducer),’ and she said, ‘I’ll be there.’” Dur­ing FX’s press-tour pre­sen­ta­tion last week, net­work CEO John Land­graf an­nounced a sec­ond-sea­son re­newal for Fargo. The se­ries will once again shoot in and around Cal­gary, with Todd as one of its pro­duc­ers. The first sea­son of Fargo pre­mièred on FX Canada last April be­fore be­ing shifted to the newly launched FXX net­work. View­ers in Win­nipeg and other parts of Western Canada were un­able to see the se­ries’ other first-run episodes be­cause FXX owner Rogers had not — and, to date, still has not — reached agree­ments for other ca­ble providers such as Shaw and MTS TV to carry the chan­nel. FX ex­ec­u­tives said this week in L.A. that they’re “hope­ful” that FXX will be­come avail­able across Canada be­fore Fargo’s sec­ond sea­son airs next year. Fargo’s first sea­son, which starred Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Martin Free­man, Colin Hanks, Keith Car­ra­dine, Bob Odenkirk and break­out star Al­li­son Tol­man, earned an im­pres­sive 18 nom­i­na­tions for this year’s Emmy Awards, sec­ond only to HBO’s Game of Thrones among TV-tro­phy hope­fuls. The sec­ond sea­son of Fargo will fea­ture an all-new cast, a com­pletely new sto­ry­line and will be set mostly in and around circa-1979 Sioux Falls, S.D. Lit­tle­field, who served as NBC Entertainment’s pres­i­dent dur­ing the 1990s and was re­spon­si­ble for shep­herd­ing such hits as Cheers, Se­in­feld, ER and The West Wing into prime time, said that de­spite the ex­tremely harsh Cana­dian win­ter it en­dured, Fargo’s pro­duc­tion team lost only one day of pro­duc­tion due to bad weather last year — a day in De­cem­ber when the tem­per­a­ture dipped below -30 C and the lo­gis­tics of film­ing sim­ply couldn’t be worked out. “I ar­rived on the set, and I said to the (as­sis­tant direc­tor), ‘How are we do­ing?’ And he said, ‘Well, the bath­rooms don’t work, be­cause the pipes are frozen,’” Lit­tle­field re­called. “I thought, ‘No bath­rooms — that’s not good.’ Then I looked around and I said, ‘Where’s the warm-up bus?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, the warm-up bus isn’t here to­day; it wouldn’t start this morn­ing.’ “And then this wind came off the prairie, and the orange cone we had block­ing off the high­way we were go­ing to be shoot­ing on shat­tered into shards of rub­bery plas­tic, and I went, ‘You know what? To­day we’re sup­posed to shoot a naked guy pop­ping out of the trunk (of a car), run­ning across the field and into the woods, where he’s go­ing to freeze to death. I don’t want to re­ally kill any­body to­day, so I think that’s it.’ And we called it a day. But that was the only day we lost.” One of the un­ex­pected side ben­e­fits of shoot­ing in Cal­gary was that Lit­tle­field de­vel­oped a sud­den ap­pre­ci­a­tion for hockey. “Oh, you have to,” he said with a laugh. “You don’t have any choice. And then, of course, I came home, and the (L.A.) Kings had this in­cred­i­ble (Stan­ley Cup) run — I was like, ‘They’re do­ing this for me,’ be­cause I never could have ap­pre­ci­ated it be­fore. “I’m a long­time Lak­ers (bas­ket­ball) fan; there was cer­tainly noth­ing to cel­e­brate there, but this (Kings win) was in­cred­i­ble. I came back with this hockey ed­u­ca­tion — Colin Hanks kind of schooled me on it up there — and a great ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the game, and then we had this in­cred­i­ble spring and a cham­pi­onship. It was spec­tac­u­lar.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.