Released in 1996, Fargo is one of the Coen brothers’ most acclaimed movies. It focuses around Jerry Lundegaard, a car salesman who needs to come up with some money, so he pays two crooks to kidnap his wife so that he can score a ransom from his tight-fisted millionaire father-in-law. But things soon get out of hand.
Here are 9 darn-tootin facts about the film…
1) William H Macy said he’d shoot the Coen Brothers’ dogs if they didn’t cast him
William H Macy became completely convinced that the role of Jerry Lundegaard was perfect for him, and that no other actor would pull it off the way he could. In fact, when he didn’t hear back from the Coen Brothers after his audition, he flew out to see them, and joked that he’d shoot their dogs if they didn’t cast him. His enthusiasm clearly paid off, as he landed the role.
2) One of Marge’s silicone breasts exploded on set
To bring the pregnant Marge to life, Frances McDormand wore a ‘pregnancy suit’ each day. The belly was full of bird seed and the breasts were filled with silicone. She left the suit in her trailer one night and the silicone breasts froze. During filming the next day, one of them exploded on set.
3) The snow plow near the end wasn’t scripted
At the end of the film, when Jerry is hiding out in the motel, a snow plow speeds past. The plow actually didn’t appear in the script. There were signs on the highway, informing drivers the road was closed due to filming, but one government worker chose to ignore the signs and drive through anyway.
4) The part of Carl Showalter was written specifically for Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi is one of the most memorable characters in the film; playing motor-mouthed crook Carl Showalter. He’s such a perfect fit for the character that it’s almost as though it was written especially for him. Well, as a matter of fact, it was. The Coen brothers wrote that part specifically for Buscemi.
5) The Fargo cast had a little literary help with the Minnesotan accent
One of the most talked-about things from the film (other than the wood chipper scene) is the accent. All of the actors manage to pull off that very distinctive dialect, and it’s part of what makes the film so iconic. To help them master the accent, they had a little help from a book called, ‘How to talk Minnesotan.’
6) It was the hottest winter in years, so snow was in short supply
The script called for a lot of snow. Unfortunately for the crew, they were filming during one of the hottest winters in years, and so filming had to travel around alot between states, and it even ventured into Canada, so that they could be where the snow was. And whenever they couldn’t find a location with enough snow, they would have to pump in lots of artificial snow.
7) 30 minutes, we’ll wrap this up
At one point in the film, when Jerry and Carl are talking on the phone to arrange meeting to exchange the money, Carl says to Jerry, ‘30 minutes, we’ll wrap this up.’ That is precisely 30 minutes before the end of the film’s running time.
8) Peter Stormare only has 18 lines in Fargo
Peter Stormare’s terrifying Gaear Grimsrud is a character of very few words. In fact, he only has 18 lines throughout the whole movie, and most of those are only three or four words long. This is in perfect contrast to his motor-mouthed partner in crime Carl Showalter, played by Buscemi, who has a whopping 150 lines of dialogue.
9) Better than Brainerd
Many people ask, ‘Why is it called Fargo?’ Which is a fair question, given that very little of the film takes place in Fargo, with a much larger part taking place in Brainerd. When asked this once, the Coen Brothers replied, ‘it’s a better title than Brainerd.’
There you have it – 9 pieces of Fargo trivia.
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