Noah Haw­ley talks Fargo and more.

As well as helm­ing the TV adap­ta­tion of Fargo, US au­thor Noah Haw­ley writes lit­er­ary thrillers. As he pub­lishes Be­fore The Fall, his fifth novel, he talks about the pres­sure of be­ing a showrun­ner, his top Bri­tish TV and Richard and Judy.

Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - By AN­DRE PAINE

With its premise of air crash sur­vivors and con­spir­a­cies, Be­fore The Fall could be a film or TV se­ries. Why write it as a novel?

As a work of fic­tion you get to go a lot deeper, and be­ing able to tell a story both mov­ing for­wards and back­wards was re­ally in­ter­est­ing to me. A plane would go into the wa­ter, a man would res­cue a boy, and then we would also go back to re­visit the lives of peo­ple who didn’t sur­vive and try to fig­ure out why the plane went down in the first place.

How does it com­pare to Fargo?

I think there is some shared idea with Fargo. This is also a story of a ba­si­cally de­cent per­son who is prob­a­bly in over his head, which I think is a re­ally in­ter­est­ing place to start from.

Are you aware of Richard and Judy, who pro­moted your novel The Good

Fa­ther as part of their Book Club?

I never met them, but yes that was great. Books are such an un­der­dog in the world that any time you have a pos­i­tive force like Richard and Judy for books it’s def­i­nitely to be cel­e­brated.

How do you com­bine be­ing a showrun­ner with nov­els?

This one was tough. I had to fin­ish it while we were mak­ing the show. It’s a blur. I know there was one Christ­mas hol­i­day that I just locked my­self in a room and tried to write as much as pos­si­ble. It’s ex­haust­ing just to talk about it.

Could Be­fore The Fall even­tu­ally end up mak­ing the leap from the page to the screen?

Yes, I have to adapt it for Sony Pic­tures, as I write nine more hours of Fargo. It’s a very ex­cit­ing time and I do feel like I won the lot­tery.

How is the third sea­son of Fargo pro­gress­ing?

I have a script that I re­ally like and we’re go­ing to start the cast­ing process very soon. My feel­ing was that if we’re try­ing to call this event tele­vi­sion, it’s okay to take a year off. The good­will we have is based on the fact that we take our time and we do our best work.

Which of Fargo’s pre­vi­ous char­ac­ters are com­ing back?

It’s a stand­alone story, and whether we see any of the char­ac­ters in this third year, it’s too early to say. But I like the fact that ten­sion is there for the au­di­ence, that ex­cite­ment – there’s al­ways go­ing to be some­thing con­nect­ing any sea­son to any other sea­son, or to the movie, that’s part of the fun.

Is it true you’re a big fan of Bri­tish tele­vi­sion?

We’re just catch­ing up with the Bri­tish in terms of depth of sto­ry­telling. I was hugely in­flu­enced by Den­nis Pot­ter and The Sing­ing De­tec­tive, it was one of those mind-ex­pand­ing mo­ments – those seem­ingly in­com­pat­i­ble el­e­ments of a noir de­tec­tive story, a fever dream mu­si­cal and a very poignant mem­oir of lost child­hood go to­gether into some­thing so pow­er­ful and whim­si­cal. I think about him a lot to this day.


Be­fore The Fall (Hod­der & Stoughton) is out on 9 June.

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