EXCLUSIVE: Joel and Ethan Coen are bringing one of their signatures movies to television. FX has closed a deal to develop Fargo, an hourlong project loosely based on the Coen brothers’ 1996 comedic crime drama. The Coens will serve as executive producers on the project, which will be written/executive produced by The Unusuals and My Generation creator Noah Hawley. Warren Littlefield also will executive the project, which will be co-produced by MGM Television and FX Prods.
The Fargo movie starred Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who follows the trail of two bumbling criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) hired by a car salesman (William H. Macy) to kidnap his wife. The indie earned seven Oscar nominations, winning two statuettes — for the Coen brothers’ script and McDormand’s performance. (The Coens won three more Oscars for No Country For Old Men.) The title belongs to MGM’s library, making the project part of MGM TV’s strategy to mine the company’s catalogs for properties suitable for series adaptations/remakes. The company has the Teen Wolf reboot on MTV and recently announced it was teaming with American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe for Fame, a scripted series based on the 1980 MGM film and 1982 MGM TV series. MGM TV first attempted to adapt Fargo in 2003 with a pilot starring Edie Falco and directed by Kathy Bates, which was done without the Coen brothers’ participation.
CAA-repped Hawley was a writer on Fox’s dramedy Bones before going on to create two series for ABC, The Unusuals and My Generation. The latter also was an adaptation; it was based on a Swedish series. This broadcast development season, he teamed with producers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci for a high-concept drama revolving around a mysterious game. Hawley is writing/executive producing the project, which has a script commitment with penalty at ABC. Fargo reunites Hawley with Littlefield who executive produced My Generation. Both are with CAA; Hawley is additionally repped by Joel McKuin. The Coen brothers’ upcoming movies include caper comedy Gambit, which they wrote, and Inside Llewyn Davis, which they wrote and directed. They are with UTA.