Welcome to The Movie Fargo. From Brainerd, MN where it allegedly took place.

Brainerd watertower

Brainerd's Landmark Watertower:
Dey didn't show ya dis here really big watertower dat we're so attached ta in dat der movie, did dey?

We was mentioned in dat der purty littl' National Geographic Magazine ting doncha know. Dey wrote up some nice tings about us and our littl' web site. Ya know, dey sure take nice pitures.
 fargo - the movie
 A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere.

Saturday, March 25, 1995

Actress Frances McDormand says she likes role in "Fargo"


Frances McDormand has an impressive list of acting credits, including an Oscar nomination and a long collaboration with filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen.

Still, she says people frequently mistake her for someone they met in college or "the waitress from the restaurant the other night."

Not that she minds particularly. McDormand has made her reputation as a versatile lead and character actress.

"If they think I am someone else, that's OK," McDormand said in an interview while in Grand Forks filming the Coen brothers' movie, "Fargo." "It means I did my job. I made them believe I was someone else."

McDormand said she relishes her latest role as Marge Gunderson, a small-town Minnesota police chief who is investigating a triple homicide.

McDormand's character is six months pregnant, and McDormand said she enjoys playing somebody whose pregnancy doesn't stop her from doing her job.

"It's always wonderful - even if no one else knows it - when you can have a personal agenda," she said.

Filming for "Fargo" began near Minneapolis, where McDormand met a pregnant police officer who had worked the narcotics squad. Filming moved to the Grand Forks area because the Coens needed more snow for their outdoor scenes.

McDormand expects the wide-open spaces of North Dakota to play an important part in "Fargo," the story of a bungled kidnapping that leads to murder.

"Visually, it has been pretty stunning, the area we've been shooting in," she said, "the horizons that never seem to end and how that affects the people who live here, their values and how they think."

Unfortunately for the Coens, the hip-deep snow seemed to vanish overnight soon after they arrived. Still, the filmmakers were aided by white fog that accompanied the snow melt, she said.

"A lot of this movie is said through the landscape and it is a landscape that didn't have mud and grass - it was white," she said. "In a sense it makes it almost a black and white movie."

McDormand, a classically trained actress who traces her career to a ninth-grade teacher's encouragement to read Shakespeare aloud, has worked with several of Hollywood's best directors, including Alan Parker in "Mississippi Burning" and Robert Altman in "Short Cuts."

Her collaboration with the Coen brothers has been particularly happy. She and Joel Coen have been together for 12 years and married for two. Next month, they plan to adopt a baby boy.

Joel Coen, 39, and his brother, Ethan, 36, natives of St. Louis Park, Minn., are considered imaginative talents on the contemporary American film scene. In 1991, their "Barton Fink," about a blocked screenwriter-turned-murder subject, won the Cannes Film Festival's Palm d'Or award for best feature, best director and best actor.

McDormand's career included a Tony nomination for best actress, followed by an Oscar nomination for the wife of a racist deputy in "Mississippi Burning."


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