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FX chairman John Landgraf was asked about the two projects, both of which are from Emmy-winning showrunner Noah Hawley, during a chat with The Hollywood Reporter.
Fargo will film its next installment this fall, and the executive says the latest entry in the anthology series leans more comedic than recent seasons.
“It’s particularly comedic this year,” he says. “It’s always a balance between how dramatic versus comedic it is, and this is the more comedic end of the spectrum. I really love it.”
The show takes place in 2019, the most contemporary setting the show has had yet (Fargo’s debut season was set in 2006, the second went back to 1979, the third jumped ahead to 2010, and the fourth took place in 1950). The installment is set in the upper Midwest and has previously been said to answer the question: “When is a kidnapping, a kidnapping, and what if your wife isn’t yours?”
“It’s got a number of outstanding castmembers and the lead is a woman [Juno Temple] who’s a housewife with a secret and is surprisingly capable,” Landgraf teased. The season also stars Jon Hamm and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
As for Alien, Hawley has turned in all his scripts for the show and it will start shooting in 2023. Hawley has previously said the project is set on Earth sometime this century and doesn’t have the characters associated with the films (well, not the human ones anyway). “The alien stories are always trapped … trapped in a prison, trapped in a spaceship,” Hawley said in a previous interview. “I thought it would be interesting to open it up a little bit so that the stakes of ‘What happens if you can’t contain it?’ are more immediate.”
Asked if the Weylan-Yutani corporation is the show’s focus, Landgraf says, “The Alien cinematic universe is that it’s a world where that’s sort of dominated by large corporate entities, and Weylan-Yutani has been an important component of the movies. There are references to that corporation in this show. But it actually takes place in the territory of a different corporation that Noah invented.”
The executive went on to compare the series to the first two Alien films, both of which were critical and box office hits with their own uniquely creative approaches.
“I’m a big fan of Alien and Aliens, and I remember watching both of them in the theater and how shockingly original and surprising each of them was in its own way,” Landgraf says. “And so, similar to his approach to Fargo, Noah decided not to take Ripley or any character from Alien — except perhaps the xenomorph itself — but go back and figure out what made the franchise so great and so durable in the first place and see if he could find an experience that felt like walking into a theater and seeing one of those first two movies, where you get caught off-guard. That’s all I can say at this point, though.”
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