It was confirmation that no one in Alberta’s film and television industry wanted to hear: Noah Hawley’s multiple award-winning series Fargo will not be returning to Calgary for its fourth season.
A news release from FX confirmed that the season will be filmed in Chicago. For its first three seasons, the FX series was shot in and around Calgary using largely local crews. A representative from the series was not available for comment. But Luke Azevedo, Calgary’s commissioner of film, television and creative industries, said the move was based on the series needing a different look for its fourth season.
“ The production had indicated to us a while ago that although they had an great run in Calgary, the look they wanted was not available here,” he said in a statement. “The experience in Calgary was excellent and our relationships with MGM, FX and the executive teams continues to be very strong.”
Calgary beat out Winnipeg in 2013 to land the series. The first three seasons were co-produced by Calgary-based Nomadic Pictures.
Season 1 began airing in April 2014 with Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman.
A critical and commercial success, Fargo was inspired by the Coen Brothers classic 1996 dark film comedy of the same name. It received 22 Emmy nominations during its first three seasons. Each season had a different plot and cast. Season 2 starred Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons and Jean Smart. Season 3 starred Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and David Thewlis.
“I had heard they needed a certain look that we just couldn’t provide here in Alberta,” said Damian Petti, head of the film worker’s union IATSE 212. “But we had a tremendous run with the three seasons that we had. It was good for our local community. I think the work that Alberta did on the first three Fargos was beneficial to all. I think we proved ourselves.”
Production of Season 4 will begin in Chicago this fall. The ensemble cast will include Chris Rock, Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw and Andrew Bird. The season will take place in 1950. Rock will play the head of a criminal syndicate in Kansas City.
Makeup artist Gail Kennedy, who received three Emmy nominations for her work on Fargo, said she was “very sad not to be involved in the next instalment.”
“I love the show and the creative genius that is Noah Hawley,” she said. “It was fun, challenging, and creatively rewarding. I hope if there is a Season 5 that they come back home.”
While no one from the series has mentioned Alberta’s incentives as the reason for the move, industry insiders have long said that the province needs to improve them to attract bigger productions. Chad Oakes of Nomadic Pictures, which co-produced the first three seasons, provided a statement to Postmedia that suggested more work needs to be done to make Alberta “competitive once again” and said the loss of Season 4 will be felt by “ the thousand-plus people who benefited from its creative and financial presence.”
“While we are thrilled that Fargo received a Season 4 pickup, we are saddened that it will not be shot with us in Alberta this year,” said Oakes. “For creative and financial reasons, Chicago was the right move for this upcoming season. Fargo has been an amazing calling card for the Alberta film industry, its world-class crews, actors and locations … We look forward to working with our new minister and government on how to make Alberta competitive once again and help showcase what our incredible province can offer for the world to enjoy.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019