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Trivia / Fargo

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The Film:

  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Cast the Runner-Up: The Coen Brothers initially considered William H. Macy for a smaller role, but they were so impressed by his reading that they asked Macy to come back in and read for the role of Jerry.
  • Doing It for the Art: William H. Macy begged the directors for the role of Jerry Lundegaard. He did two readings for the part, and became convinced he was the best man for the role. When the Coens didn't get back to him, he flew to New York (where they were starting production) and said, "I'm very, very worried that you are going to screw up this movie by giving this role to somebody else. It's my role, and I'll shoot your dogs if you don't give it to me." He was joking, of course.
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  • Fake Nationality: Despite the Japanese name, the guy who plays Mike Yanagita is Steve Park—a Korean-American.
  • Follow the Leader: Stolen Heart, a quirky, Coen-esque film that's also about kidnappers going after someone's grown daughter that devolves into a giant, murderous mess in the general area around Fargo, was renamed "North of Fargo".
  • Life Imitates Art: Mere hours after filming the scene where Carl and Gaear get pulled over by a state trooper, Peter Stormare and Steve Buscemi were actually pulled over by a policewoman who asked for their license and registration, in the very same car used in the movie - on their way to a pancake house, no less. Steve Buscemi somehow managed to talk his way out of getting a ticket, but the two actors found the whole experience so bizarre that they suspected The Coen Brothers of staging the whole thing. (The brothers denied doing so.)
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  • Referenced by...: Animaniacs (2020) referenced the movie/show during their song about reboots.
  • Throw It In!:
    • William H. Macy was doodling between takes and the Coens decided to use it for a scene.
    • The snow plow that drives past the motel at the end of the film was not part of the script. Signs in the area warned motorists not to drive through due to filming, but a state employee ignored them.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Norm Gunderson's consolation prize of having his painting picked for the 3-cent stamp used to cover the difference after postage hikes. In 2006 the USPS would adopt the Forever® stamp, obviating the need for these stopgap stamps.
  • What Could Have Been: Due to unforeseeable circumstances, Bill Pullman had to turn down the part of Jerry Lundegaard.
  • Word of Dante: Joel Coen had Frances McDormand and John Carroll Lynch conceive a back-story for their characters to get the feel of them. They decided that Norm and Marge met while working on the police force, and when they were married, they had to choose which one had to quit. Since Marge was a better officer, Norm quit and took up painting.
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  • Working Title: Brainerd.
  • Write What You Know: The scene where the couple tries to make a deal with Jerry is based on Ethan Coen's real-life encounter with a car salesman. "[It's] almost a verbatim transcript of my experience."
  • Write Who You Know: After seeing the movie, Frances McDormand noted that much of Marge was modeled after her sister Dorothy who is a Disciples of Christ minister and chaplain.

The 2003 Pilot

The Series:


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