Coen brothers' 'Fargo' on path to becoming TV show

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Frances McDormand starred in "Fargo" (1996) directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

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Joel and Ethan Coen are planning a return trip to "Fargo."

The multiple-Oscar-winning St. Louis Park natives will be executive producers on a potential hourlong series for FX that will be loosely based on their Minnesota-spoofing 1996 film. The comic crime drama, about a pregnant small-town police chief pursuing a pair of homicidal kidnappers in the middle of a bitterly cold winter, poked fun at Minnesotan accents and colloquialisms, as well as regionally stereotypical traits like passive aggression and stoicism.

It was nominated for seven Academy awards, bringing in one for the Coen-written script and another for Frances McDormand's performance as hilariously laconic Chief Marge Gunderson.

The project will be co-produced with MGM Television, which owns the "Fargo" title as part of its library. MGM took a previous stab at this in 2003, with a pilot starring Edie Falco as Chief Gunderson and directed by Kathy Bates, but without the Coens' cooperation. Like Steve Buscemi's kidnapper character in the movie, it ended up in the wood chipper.

The pilot will be penned by Noah Hawley, a former writer for Fox's "Bones" who also created two recent ABC series, "My Generation" (canceled after two episodes) and "The Unusuals" (which ran one season).

It's too early to guess whether this project will ever hit the small screen, but with the Coens' involvement, it probably stands a much better chance.

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

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