CHRIS ROCK TO STAR IN ‘FARGO’ S4, BUT IT’S UNCLEAR IF SHOW WILL RETURN TO CALGARY

Each season of the Emmy-winning anthology drama features a new cast of headliners as it skips through different decades.

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TORONTO – FX Networks CEO and President John Landgraf announced today in Los Angeles that Chris Rock will star in a fourth season of “Fargo.”

Each season of the Emmy-winning anthology drama features a new cast of headliners as it skips through different decades. Up until now, production has been based in and around Calgary, with the Canadian city doubling for Minnesota as well as North and South Dakota.

The new season is not scheduled to commence filming until 2019. A Fox spokesperson today said it is too early to tell where production will be located

Here’s what is known: the new season is set in 1950 in Kansas City, Mo. Actor/comedian Rock will star as the leader of a crime family caught up in the migration of African Americans from the U.S. south who travelled north to escape segregation and oppression.

Rock’s character must surrender his oldest son to his enemy and also raise his enemy’s son as his own in order to thrive in his new settings. Complicating matters further is a new wave of immigration from Europe entering Kansas City, including members of an Italian crime syndicate.

A release from the network describes the new season as “a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads. You know, Fargo.”

The Emmy and Peabody-winning drama, based on the Coen brothers feature film, has been on the shelf for an extended period as creator/writer/showrunner Noah Hawley juggled feature film work as well as his duties on his other FX series, “Legion.” Rock, 53, was quoted saying he can’t wait to work on the series.

Hawley, as well as executive producer Warren Littlefield, have praised the largely Calgary-based crews working the series during its first three seasons. Littlefield’s other award-winning drama, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” shoots in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Cambridge, Ont.

Shows don’t always stay put, however. Hawley’s other FX series, “Legion,” was relocated from Vancouver to California for its second season, lured by enhanced tax incentives on the American west coast.

That move, Hawley explained last January, was also largely dictated by second season “Legion” scripts calling for more desert scenes.

“You want to embrace what the location you’re filming in has to offer you,” said Hawley of the shift south. “The sad thing with Vancouver is that people often shoot Vancouver to imitate someplace else — or Toronto or Atlanta — rather than, no, it’s this beautiful mountainous evergreen terrain. I just want to embrace where we are.”

The most recent season of “Fargo,” which aired in 2017, starred Ewan McGregor in a dual role. Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson headlined Season 2, with Billy Bob Thornton starring in the first season.

Thornton took in a Calgary Stampeders CFL game during his 10-episode stint and was amazed to see shirtless fans in the stands painted in team colours.

The Arkansas native had a great time in Canada but in an interview in 2014 admitted that the winter shoot took some getting used to.

“One night, it went down to 40 below and they wouldn’t allow us to work,” he said at the time. “You figure if a Canadian says it’s too dangerous to go out there, it probably is too dangerous to go out.”

by BILL BRIOUX | THE CANADIAN PRESS

— Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.

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