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Noah Hawley on Reinventing ‘Fargo’ For Season 2

The first season of the FX miniseries “Fargo” was a hit, both with fans and the industry that lauded it with an astounding 18 Emmy nominations.

So how did series creator Noah Hawley approach season two of the series based on the 1996 Coen brothers movie? He headed back to the drawing board — sort of.

“It is a complete reinvention,” Hawley said during the show’s presentation Friday at the Television Critics Association. “It is a completely new story. It evokes the things you remember from the movie and at the end of the first year.”

Season two goes back in time to 1979 and focuses on police officer Lou Solverson, who was played by Keith Carradine in the first season and is now played by Patrick Wilson. A naturally good person, Lou and his partner Hank (Ted Danson) find more than they bargained for when they investigate a shooting at the Sioux Falls diner. Along the way, the new season introduces a huge ensemble cast that includes Nick Offerman, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Brad Garrett, Bokeem Woodbine and Jean Smart.

“The look of it is much different. I found my way to ’70s filmmaking paradigms,” said Hawley. He explained that he used split screens and freezes because “I had a much bigger cast [this year], and I wanted to keep track of all of them.”

The goal was to reflect the emotions running through a pre-Ronald Reagan era (although a version of the future president will make an appearance later in the series in a portrayal by Bruce Campbell).

“I didn’t just want the year to be the backdrop against which we did the story,” he said. “I wanted to find the way that we experience America at the moment and turn it into a crime story.”

After the accolades the first season received, Hawley said he doesn’t have any such expectations this time out. “My responsibility was to execute the story as best I could,” he said. “We may never win another award again. I just want to make something that feels finished.”

The second season of “Fargo” premieres at 10 p.m. Oct. 12 on FX.

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