FX Books Billy Bob Thornton for Fargo Series -- Plus: How Graphic Is Del Toro's The Strain?

FX Fargo Cast Billy Bob ThorntonAcademy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton has booked a trip to Fargo, with a lead role in FX’s series adaptation of the acclaimed 1996 Coen Brothers film.

Thornton will play Lorne Malvo, a manipulative man who sets a small-town insurance salesman on a path of destruction, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

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Yet despite slight similarities to Steve Buscemi’s role in the movie, “There are no characters in the limited series that are derived from the characters in the film,” FX president John Landgraf noted Friday at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour. But have no fear, he stressed: “It’s hard to describe how remarkably true to the film it is… [The Coen brothers] really thought that [series adapter] Noah Hawley had nailed the tone of their show.”

Landgraf added that the series will feature a female sheriff, but unlike Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson, this one is a deputy in her 20s.

“People are go to be really entranced” with the Fargo series, Landgraf added. “[Hawley] has invented a new version that is its own thing but true to the original.” And it will tell a complete, closed-end story over 10 episodes.

“Each season of Fargo, should there be more than one, would be a completely new story with new characters inspired by the Coens’ Fargo universe,” Hawley said Friday on Twitter.

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Also discussed during the FX panel:

* Guillermo del Toro’s TV adaptation of his novel series The Strain will uncork “a truly epic story,” Landgraf said. “When Guillermo [and his team] came in to sell it, one of the things they made clear is that they wanted to tell the story of the books, and that story would be told over three, four or five seasons.” Running anywhere from 39 to 65 episodes — “no more, no less” — “The Strain will be pretty graphic. It’s a horror show” on par with The Walking Dead and American Horror Story.

RELATED | FX’s The Strain Casts Corey Stoll, Sean Astin, John Hurt, Mia Maestro

* Louie will return from its creative hiatus to premiere Season 4 in May 2014.

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  1. R.O.B. says:

    The Strain series was HORRIBLE. Sorry GDT. I really wanted to like it, but it was rife with stupid, cardboard characters (on par with the Star Wars prequels) and even worse decisions. I was hoping they would use the books as inspiration, but if they are going to adapt faithfully, I fear this will be ridiculous. One of the worst book series I ever read.

  2. Ram510 says:

    FX/FXX is making some serious moves these days. I hope they aren’t doing too much too soon

  3. Aprilcot26 says:

    Of COURSE she’s a deputy in her 20s…*eye roll*…

    • redjane12 says:

      Indeed… eye rolls all around… male leads can be over 30 but female leads, nope… not possible on TV…

    • Yolanda says:

      Exactly! When they announced this limited series I was already thinking about certain wonderful actresses in their early forties to play Marge but no, of course they had to make her twenty-something. Barf.

  4. LC says:

    I hate the idea of a Fargo TV series. I live there and would prefer to just let the whole thing die. NO, WE DO NOT ALL TALK LIKE THAT!

  5. Scott Zerr says:

    Nearly finished 3rd book in The Strain series. Can’t wait for it to come to TV. Very curious to see who will play the lead characters. Hoping Idris Elba might fit for Dr. Goodweather.

  6. jen says:

    Omg. Fargo is one of my all time favorite shows. But, Macy and McDormand were amazing in it; so we’ll see what the new actors can do. But I will definitely tune in.

  7. heLLpaso says:

    Cory Stoll was probably the best part of House of Cards so top notch casting!