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.
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.
“ANY TIME BOOKS HAVE A POSITIVE FORCE IT’S TO BE CELEBRATED”
Before The Fall (Hodder & Stoughton) is out on 9 June.