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.

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