Where ‘Fargo’ and ‘Legion’ Are Made: Inside Noah Hawley’s Office

Noah Hawley Fargo Inside the Writers
Shayan Asgharnia for Variety

Noah Hawley did the impossible, twice. His limited series reinvention of the Coen brothers’ beloved film “Fargo” racked up 36 Emmy nominations over two seasons. When in Southern California, the Austin, Texas-based scribe works out of a Santa Monica office complex, where his increasingly busy schedule includes “Legion” and “Cat’s Cradle” for FX in addition to a third installment of “Fargo.” His office centerpiece — a hand-crafted modernized standing desk from Austin shop Mockingbird Domestics — epitomizes his status as a man on the move. “It’s like something you would’ve seen in Ebenezer Scrooge’s office,” Hawley says. “But there’s a steampunk element to the metalwork as well. As they say in ‘The Big Lebowski,’ ‘it really pulls the room together.’”

A framed photo of Hawley’s mother as a girl at her mother’s typewriter emphasizes that writing is in the genes. “I’m really the third-generation writer,” Hawley says. “I have an 8-year-old girl now who’s about the age my mom was in this picture. It’s very meaningful to me to have that callback, and feel the connection.”

Rachel Keller (a co-star in “Fargo” season two who also joined the cast of “Legion”) needlepointed the name “Flower Rain Blossom” in a nod to her character to thank Hawley for the role. “We try to make something personal and we try to make it by hand,” Hawley says of the “Fargo” mandate. “We mix actors from the very famous to the just out of school, everyone gives everything. It feels very special for people. People are engaged when they’re doing something they’re excited about.”

Before he settled on writing, Hawley was an aspiring musician, and still finds release strumming the ukulele hanging in the corner behind his desk. “Sometimes I’ll just pull it down and play as I’m going through my day,” he says. “It’s a good thing on a stressful day or when you have a problem you don’t want to face head on, to wander the house or the office playing something.”