Friends, thank you for your questions. Sorry I couldn't answer them all. For more information on Before the Fall:

My Proof:

Comments: 200 • Responses: 55  • Date: 

rivaldealer29 karma

What other show on tv would you like to run for a season, on the condition that the showrunner from that program would get to do a year of Fargo?

NoahHawley53152 karma

I'd love to take a crack at Peaky Blinders. I'm a big fan of slow motion walking to songs by the Pogues (plus it's a great cast and a very fun show)

rocker201424 karma

Hey Noah, big Fargo fan here! Also, born and raised in Minnesota so hearing the accents is hilarious.

One of the things I love about the show is that the cast can do those hokey accents and remain incredibly serious and in the moment. Is that something you find difficult to maintain the tone of the show whilst having the actors take on this persona?

Also, anything you can tell us about Season 3? Particularly Ewan McGregor's dual role?

NoahHawley53121 karma

The accents are always a balancing act. We never want to devolve into parody. We have a dialect coach on set all the time to help out.

suaveitguy20 karma

As a Canadian, I have to say - your use of winter in the action was amazing. I can't believe my country's filmmakers left so much on the table after all these years. That blizzard shootout from S1 in particular was brilliant. Did you look to a lot of winter films for inspiration? Which ones?

NoahHawley53118 karma

I have to thank of VFX wizard John Ross for most of the blizzard sequences. Though we had snow on the ground, the skies when we filmed them were mostly clear -- sometimes even sunny. John was able to create a blizzard where none existed. In fact, there are shots of Mr. Numbers searching for Malvo that are literally all filmed on the same spot, just using different takes, and we rotoed him out and placed him in the blizzard.

NoahHawley53118 karma

Hawley here. Thanks for writing. I'll be as honest as I can.

frahm913 karma

Many of your books revolve around the repercussions of public disasters, including plane crashes and a presidential candidate murder.

Is this trend a conscious thing? Why are you interested in these themes? And did it bear any influence on the protagonist of Before The Fall, who paints calamities?

Also, a question that popped up on /r/FargoTV (do visit sir): is Mr. Rundle an independent crime entrepreneur or a Fargo syindicate middle manager?

NoahHawley53113 karma

Mr. Rundle is an independent contractor, a middle man.

As to public disasters, I guess it's not a conscious choice, but I'm attracted to taking stories of a certain scale and then humanizing them, taking what would normally be a plot-driven story and turning it into something character and theme driven.

suaveitguy12 karma

What's the latest on Cat’s Cradle?

NoahHawley53124 karma

I'm writing a script. In my mind it's a min-series, 6-8 episodes.

Killingtimeatwork10111 karma

Why did you decide to put the UFO/fish falling from the sky stuff in the show? In my personal opinion, i love the show, but felt like those 2 things just felt so out of place and did not really add to the story.

NoahHawley53131 karma

As they say in A Serious Man, accept the mystery. This is a big part thematic part of the Coen universe, elements that don't fit neatly into the story they're telling. It's why you have the UFO in The Man who wasn't there, and even explains the Mike Yanagita story from Fargo, the movie. Real life doesn't unfold like a movie is filled with random and seemingly meaningless events. Our brains try to create a narrative out of things that don't add up. Ultimately though, we just have to accept the mystery.

erich077910 karma

Hey Noah, do you ever think we could get a full release of all the songs used throughout Season 2? Sadly the songs from Fargo Year 2 soundtrack doesn't contain some of the best stuff like the Run Through the Jungle cover at the end of The Castle. The music throughout the season was absolutely breathtaking by the way amazing job to you and your team.

NoahHawley53115 karma

the omissions weren't my choice. It's a question of royalty rates, etc. I'd love to have all the music out there, but it's not my music to share.

blauOchse10 karma

It doesn't seem like anyone reviewing the show made note that The Myth of Sisyphus isn't an essay just about absurd struggles, but that it challenges its reader to create fiction. Where in the process of creating Fargo did you decide to use that essay as a continuing point of reference?

NoahHawley53115 karma

I came across the Camus early on in the formulating process. The dark philosophy of the absurd seemed to play well into both the Coen Brothers world and also into the times, as the seventies was an era of both violent and creative radicalism, where people like Abby Hoffman weren't afraid to poke a little fun with their rebellion.

King_Slayer229 karma

Hey Noah! I'm a huge fan of Fargo and I greatly admire you as a writer. I was very excited to find out that you will be handling the television adaption of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (my all time favorite author). My question to you is, is Cat's Cradle going to be a straight 1:1 adaption of the book? Or will it be more along the lines of Fargo where it will pay homage to other Kurt Vonnegut stories while weaving it's own? I am very excited to see what you do with this adaption and all the projects you have coming up!

NoahHawley53111 karma

The answer is, I don't know yet. It is an adaptation of the book, but the book leaves a lot of details unexplored. So most likely it would be an expansion, where, like the Supreme Court, I must decipher the original intent of the author and extrapolate what is a Vonnegut moment and what isn't.

Gardenfarm8 karma

When the Coen Brothers answer any interview questions about ambiguity and deeper meanings in their films, they're worse than ambiguous, they don't exactly derail the question but answer at the most physical and technical level, shaking off meaning questions entirely despite that their movies are overwhelmed with references to deeper philosophical, psychological, and literary ideas. -- In a way this is also the magic of their movies, the audience is usually made pretty definitely aware of the physical details of what's happening, but as for the tormenting wash of philosophical/psychological loose ends there are no solid answers, besides the solid details as they appear and provoke.

My question for you is: in reverse engineering the Coen filmography to try to find your own Coen-formula, to what extent do you try to emulate their particular style of ambiguity and at what point do you feel that all the alluded elements of your own story begin to benefit from their ambiguous premiers and placements?

Are the Coens tricksters, are you a trickster, how do you emulate or own their style of trickery?

NoahHawley5317 karma

That is a big question. The only way this could work, was if we had a shared sensibility. My job is to imbue the work with meaning, not to explain what it means. That said, I'm clearly more talkative than they are.

suaveitguy8 karma

Congratulations on Fargo, best show ever on television. It could have been sunk before it even started, a second attempt at a tv show based on one of the most iconic films of all time. What did you do consciously to try and make sure that legacy wasn't an albatross that ruined the show?

NoahHawley53115 karma

What made it work was that I didn't try to remake the movie. I was tasked with creating a story with a similar feel and point of view, but wasn't a carbon copy. This allowed me to bring my own eye to the work. Believe me, nobody felt the pressure more than me.

cherie_amour7 karma

​I loved Martin Freeman as Lester because I think it was a big departure from his previous roles. What do you think about the way he approached the text and portrayed the character? Also, can you share any cool behind-the-scenes stories with us? Thanks, Noah!

NoahHawley53115 karma

Martin was truly inspiring. It's rare that actors get to go on such a transformative journey and he really nailed all aspects, from meek Lester, to diabolical Lester. He told me that he didn't realize who tightly he was holding himself as Lester in the first 7 hours until he became Lester the winner and got his swagger on.

suaveitguy7 karma

What would your advice be to a nobody with little means who lives nowhere near L.A., but has a bunch of great ideas for film/tv?

NoahHawley53117 karma

First of all, stop calling yourself a nobody. I don't live in LA either. It's never been easier to write or film something on your own and get it in front of people. When I was starting out you still needed a self addressed stamped envelope.

thr33beggars7 karma

Hey Noah, I know each season is a standalone as far as plot, with connections to other seasons and to the movie. Do you have an ultimate plan for all of the seasons? And a follow up, do you already have a set number of seasons planned, or are you basing it off of how well the show is doing.

Keep up the amazing work! Easily the best show on television!

NoahHawley53114 karma

I take it one year at a time. I have a sense that there is a larger universe, but I haven't mapped it out.

suaveitguy7 karma

What's your process for casting Fargo? The casts are so big, it must take forever? How is it to lose out on a great choice due to the scheduling?

NoahHawley53112 karma

We start by making offers to bigger name actors, then hold casting sessions, with tapes coming in from around the world.

NDaveT6 karma

Do native Minnesotans ever complain to you that the characters in Fargo have exaggerated Minnesota accents?

I ask because my wife, a native Minnesotan, complains about it. I moved to Minnesota from New York, and I think the characters' accents are completely accurate.

NoahHawley53111 karma

We try to underplay the accents actually, but the show is written in a certain vernacular and the accents are a part of the world as created by the Coens. It's never my intention to make fun of anybody. It's just a detail of the world.

NoahHawley5316 karma

Okay. Thanks everybody for all the questions. Sorry I couldn't answer them all. Maybe we'll meet again someday. If you're interested, check out my new novel, Before the Fall at or at your favorite bookstore. Peace.

m4m4juju956 karma

I can't wait for Legion. Was it a story that got onto your hands or did you personally choose it? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

NoahHawley5319 karma

I chose the character to focus on. I wanted to create a subjective world based around a character who has a hard time knowing what's real. In this way the structure of the story could reflect the content. I also wanted to take a swing at an epic love story. So there's that.

suaveitguy6 karma

Do you think John Lithgow would work in the Fargo universe? Any dream actors you would cast?

NoahHawley5319 karma

I like John Lithgow. Too many other great names to list.

Gardenfarm6 karma

In terms of your successful Coen approximation, how did you feel about your Season 2 UFO reveal after seeing 'Hail Caesar!'s submarine scene? It's almost like you studied the Coens and out-Coened the Coens.

NoahHawley5318 karma

Season three, submarine! though how we'll sail it to Minnesota, I don't know.

bbeater165 karma

Why did you choose Calgary as the main shooting location for season 2?

NoahHawley53115 karma

It's geographically very similar to Minnesota/North Dakota, had good crews and snow and gave us a good tax incentive. I'd love to shoot in Minnesota though.

suaveitguy5 karma

How do you build characters and tension that will last the run of a series?

NoahHawley53110 karma

Tension is a product of time, adding up the pieces one by one. it's about telling the story with the camera and staying focused. Characters can move in and out of stories very economically as long as they're clearly drawn.

suaveitguy4 karma

Was Hanzee challenging to cast? There aren't a lot of tough middle aged Native American actors out there. A lot of older ones, and a great bunch of young ones.

NoahHawley53112 karma

As we broke the Hanzee story I assumed it would be a long casting process, but the truth is, we saw Zahn on the first day. This reminded me to never underestimate the talent pool that's out there. If you write the role, have faith that there is an actor who can play it.

joemama9093 karma

Hi Noah! I wonder if you worked on Fargo in such a way, that you just started writing and would eventually see what would happen, or was it more like a planned storyboard with characters and events you've already had planned for the script?

NoahHawley5319 karma

We plan it all very meticulously. The trick is to create enough moving pieces on a collision course that the ones that collide (and when they collide) are hard to predict with real certainty. To make something "accidental" actually takes real planning.

dalefritter3 karma

Any plans to include elements from Inside Llewyn Davis into future Fargo episodes? It's my favorite Coen Brothers movie.

Congratulations on writing the best show on television!

NoahHawley53113 karma

If you see a man who is also a cat, you will now you've been heard.

suaveitguy3 karma

You are a prolific writer. How does that work? Do you have a disciplined routine? Do you think you could/would ever handle an anthology series like another prolific talent, Rod Serling?

NoahHawley53110 karma

The weekly anthology is another degree of difficulty. It's hard enough to tell a good story in 10 hours.

NoahHawley5317 karma

The weekly anthology is another degree of difficulty. It's hard enough to tell a story in 10 hours.

FancySack3 karma

Was Martin Freeman who you originally envisioned as Lester Nygaard in Season 1?

If not, who did you have in mind for that role?

NoahHawley5316 karma

Who could it ever be, but Martin Freeman?

suaveitguy2 karma

Do you think video games could ever be used to tell more narrative and character based stories?

NoahHawley5317 karma

I'm not sure. I don't play a lot of games. In general it's about finding the right balance of character and action. It's also hard to distill hundreds of hours of game play into a two hour movie.

erich07792 karma

Hey Noah, do you think there's any more information on Fargo Year 3 you could possibly give to us?

NoahHawley53110 karma

Be patient. it's coming.

jedwards9992 karma

Hey Noah, biggest Fargo fan!
I read online that Malvo is supposed to be written as the Devil. Is he supposed to be a supernatural character or just a scary persona?

Also, any more you can tell us about season three?

Thank you!!

NoahHawley53112 karma

I never thought of Malvo as the devil. That said there are certain elemental characters you see in the Coens movies -- Anton Chigur, the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse, Peter Stormare from Fargo -- who seem to be something other than human. Malvo was written with the same intent. He is a product of the wilderness, blowing from state to state. How old he is is hard to say with real certainty.

Okar1n2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! Just wondering, will Mr Wrench be making an appearance in Fargo again? He was so cool :)

NoahHawley53112 karma

He was cool. I'll see what I can do.

m4m4juju952 karma

Is it hard for you to let go of the characters you've created when you end a book or a show? As a fan I always end up wanting more (even when the ending is perfect) so I've always wondered if you do as an author.

NoahHawley5318 karma

There's always a period of mourning. It comes in phases -- at the end of production, at the end of the editing when the final hour is locked, and then at the end of the launch when you see all the actors again. But I've gotten used to the rhythm of it, to making something and moving on. It really teaches you to put everything you have into a project, knowing it will soon end.

suaveitguy2 karma

Any TV dramas from before the Sopranos led Renaissance that could stand up against the series' since?

NoahHawley5314 karma

There are some great shows. West Wing, X-Files, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, etc.

oldirtybrandon2 karma

Hey, Noah. I am an inspiring scriptwriter. Mostly dark comedies and satirical looks at the darkness of the world. I sometimes like to write spec scripts of TV shows with dark twists, but keep the humor and everything else the same. For fun I write dark sketches with friends and I will be shooting them shortly. My question is, how can I make it from such small time with friends to working on television? Thanks, love the show.

NoahHawley53111 karma

You have to be good enough to get in the room. You have to be good in the room. And you have to deliver when you leave the room. In other words, talent gets you in the game and you have to make an impression and then deliver what you promised. Other than that it takes perseverance and a little luck.

m4m4juju952 karma

What is your writing process? Do you have an idea, a theme, and then just start from there? Or do you establish characters and motives first?

NoahHawley53115 karma

I usually start with a question. Sometimes a character comes to mind. Fargo invariably begins with a setup, like a joke -- two men walk into an emergency room, a woman drives home with a man sticking out of her windshield. The setup leads to questions. Who are the men in the emergency room, the man in the windshield, and then I go from there.

m4m4juju952 karma

Hi Noah, thanks for the AMA!

Have the Coen's contacted you about the show’s season 2, have they seen it? What do they think about it? I’m a BIG fan of the Coen brothers and just desperately want them to watch your show so they see how good it is so you can make a tv show inspired on “A serious man” next.... Yes. I have it all planned out.

Much love from Mexico.

NoahHawley5319 karma

I saw Joel and Ethan in New York recently. They don't really volunteer how much of the show they've seen and I don't ask. Instead we usually eat some kind of breakfast food and free associate our way through a conversation.

lulaalt2 karma

What is the most aesthetically pleasing movie?

NoahHawley5316 karma

It's hard to narrow it down. Two movies I've loved the look of recently are The Great Beauty and Tree of Life.

chekhovscricketbat2 karma

My buddy has a theory that, since Fargo had a UFO component, you took inspiration from the film Room 237 (a movie about people who have insane theories about The Shining) for tinfoil-y places to hide clues.

So my question is, when you did all this stuff involving palindromes and Native American conspiracies and UFOs, did you think you were going to make just ONE person go insane?

NoahHawley5317 karma

I enjoyed Room 237, but wasn't thinking of it as I created this story. All the elements you describe were coming to a head in 1979 and the trick was to build a crime story around them, rather than just peppering a disconnected crime story with period detail.

HunterLogan1 karma

I can't wait for season 3 and absolutely love the casting of Ewan McGregor!

My question for you is if you agree with what Louis CK said about McGregor

NoahHawley5316 karma

I don't know what he said.

MrSaturn2001 karma

Hey Noah! I've been a big fan since day one of Fargo and loved every minute of it. Fargo is one of my all time favorite shows and has been a big inspiration for me. Any tips for an aspiring writer? Also, in the first episode of Season 2, why did Judge Mundt drive so far to eat a hamburger?

NoahHawley5315 karma

She was on her way to Sioux Falls to visit her nephew in the "crippled children's hospital," as Skip Sprang described it.

INCyr1 karma

Hey there! Have to say, I love your shows. Fargo has been amazing, and I can't wait for season 3.

However, it's actually The Unusuals I wanted to ask about. I loved that show so much - it was so fresh and interesting, and a unique take on the cop procedural. But I was wondering - can you give any information on where the storylines were going to go? We only got 10 Episodes, but there was obviously so much story there to tell, it's such a shame that we're never going to get to know what happened to the crew.


NoahHawley5312 karma

It was a long time ago. I don't think I had a master plan going forward, except to continue to work with that amazing cast. And also, at some point, to see a Matchbox car lodged inside Delahoy's head on an x-ray.

Gardenfarm1 karma

Is there anything in particular about 'classic' 50s and 60s American drama TV shows that directly influences how you think about writing TV drama?

NoahHawley5313 karma

Someone mentioned Rod Serling. I think what's exciting about that era was the feeling of discovery. They were literally inventing television as we watched. I'd like to think we're continuing that tradition.

jedwards9991 karma

If you were to do any other Coen Brothers film to adapt to television, what would it be?

NoahHawley53113 karma

Llewyn David as a never ending loop.

jedwards9991 karma

Who is your favorite character to write on Fargo?

NoahHawley5312 karma

There are too many to name.

m4m4juju951 karma

Will fargo season 3 have any, even a small connection with the past seasons? Hamburger helper when things are going awry?

NoahHawley5317 karma

Who doesn't love helping a hamburger? There will be connections -- some big, some small. All I can say for now.

RickSandmann1 karma

Huge fan of Fargo, will be starting Before the Fall later this week and can't wait.

Are there any additional castings for Fargo season 3 that you could announce? If not, when can we expect some more news? Going along with this, who are some of your dream actors/actresses for the show?

NoahHawley5316 karma

We're hoping to have more casting news soon. Announcements will most likely be made throughout the summer. Some very fun roles.

suaveitguy1 karma

Ever get your shoes shined at the Blue Moon in Austin?

NoahHawley5313 karma

I don't wear those kinds of shoes here

drunkmall1 karma

I follow you on Twitter and you're great at your job.

What's the worst or funniest thing you've bought online while drunk?

NoahHawley5313 karma

I've got nothing. Sorry.

WritersofRohan171 karma

Big fan of your books and Fargo. What tips would you have for an emerging writer to get in touch with an agent?

Also, I got to see you speak at AXS TV festival in '13- it was a highlight! I appreciate how open you are with the public and how honest you were about the fear of living up to the movie, etc. Thank you!

NoahHawley5315 karma

Agents need you as much as you need them. That's the secret. You can always phone an agency and ask where to send blind submissions. There is someone there reading the slush pile. Also helpful are managers and entertainment attorneys.

joeybdot1 karma

What's the last great book you've read?

NoahHawley5312 karma

There was an oral history of Terrence Malik I thought was great.

DerianDomitruk1 karma

Who is your favourite character to write from each season?

NoahHawley5316 karma

I love all my children equally.

sammalonespitbull1 karma

Please keep finding excellent character actors like Molly and hanzee. Don't want it overflowing with Hollywood people. I really love this show quite a bit.

Can you tell us about the process you go through to cast Fargo?

NoahHawley5318 karma

I share your point of view, which is why I'm just as happy to discover an actor, as I am to cast a name.

Dino14821 karma

I am such a huge fan of your work. You are just as talented behind the camera as you are with a pen, and I must thank you for blessing this world with your masterpieces.

You have quite a number of projects currently in development, with everything from Legion, to Fargo Year Three, to your own novels. It's honestly mind-boggling to think how one man could balance so many huge projects at once. So my question to you is, how the hell do you do it?

Oh, and I have one more tiny question: Was it always your plan to have Hanzee turn out to be Mr. Tripoli from Year One? It's been bugging me for six months now, and I'd like to have some clarification from the Fargo man himself. Thank you!

NoahHawley5312 karma

There was a moment in the room (maybe halfway through) where I realized that Hanzee could grow up to be Mr. Tripoli. Than I had to weight whether this development was believable, interesting, etc. Ultimately, it was a detail I knew most of the audience would miss, but one that would create a nice hair raising moment for people who got it.