9:39am PT by Michael O'Connell
'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley Talks UFOs, Mortality Rates and Season 3
Just in time for its sophomore finale, Fargo nabbed three Golden Globe nominations on Thursday morning: one for best miniseries, as well as acting noms for stars Kirsten Dunst and Patrick Wilson.
It's a coup for creator Noah Hawley. The writer-producer's loose spin on Joel and Ethan Coen's 1996 film of the same name set a very high with critics during the first go-around. And the nominations further validate all the praise for the anthology's latest installment. It's currently the most-acclaimed TV series of the year, per review aggregate Metacritic. Hawley hopped on the phone with The Hollywood Reporter Thursday morning — but, instead of discussing statuettes, the showrunner sounded off on the subtle extraterrestrial through line that came to a head during Fargo's latest episode.
"It felt like that territory was open to me," Hawley says of the UFO that appeared to hover over the hotel parking lot bloodbath in "The Castle." "Last year, fish fell from the sky. The fun thing about having a show that starts out with 'This is a true story,' is that there's this mindset where you get to play around with the fudgeability of what's real and what's not. You also want to create a story that plays into that other Coen Brothers theme — which is, 'Accept the mystery.' "
That particular mystery isn't likely something that will be further explored in the Dec. 14 finale. (Hawley says that Dunst's character Peggy summed it up best with her assessment of the situation: "It's just a flying saucer, hon — we got to go.") Either way, he says it's something that fits thematically with the time period. "In the year or two after Star Wars and Close Encounters came out, and after Watergate, a lot that late-70s paranoia involved this feeling of being watched and not being able to even trust the skies," added Hawley. "At the same time, Joel and Ethan included a bunch of that imagery in The Man Who Wasn't There."
As for what viewers can expect from the finale, Hawley says it's all about connecting the dots to the first installment — and how many characters he can get away with killing.
"It's an interesting thing to create an end to a story that happened in the past, when we've already seen the character in the past," he says, referring to Lou Solverson, played by both Wilson (season two) and Keith Carradine (season one). "Part of the fun of the show is to see how this very confident, settled and wise older man [from season one] came to be that person. If I've done my job right, the last hour really sends him on that journey to become that person. The rest of it is, 'Who's going to survive?' It is Fargo, after all."
The recently announced third installment is also underway. Hawley would not commit to when viewers could expect the return, but he did hint at a relatively swift time table, saying that the writers room already has a good sense of where they're going and that filming in winter is integral to the series.
What he did confirm is that the show will be much more contemporary than even the first season's 2006 setting.
"It's fun to come back and do something more contemporary and look at how it is to be in that region in a modern world," says Hawley. "On some level, those characters are always out of time a little — even Molly [Allison Tolman] and Gus [Colin Hanks], in 2006, did not feel contemporary. That Lutheran reserve and humbleness and reluctance to talk about one's self, complain, ask someone how they're feeling or communicate really big things, it's at odds with the selfie culture. It's interesting to look at that and see if there's story to be generated from that."