Before Billy Bob Thornton knocked people out with his Oscar nominated turn in Sling Blade, he co-starred with John Ritter and Markie Post on the early 90s political sitcom, Hearts of Fire. Now, after 18 years and a rich and diverse film career that has featured starring roles in A Simple Plan, Monster's Ball, Friday Night Lights, and Bad Santa, Thornton is returning to television, but not for the long haul.
Yes, Billy Bob Thornton is the latest big screen star to sign up for an event/limited series with an eye on, perhaps, receiving a career shot in the arm. For this endeavor, Thornton has chosen an impressive creative team and an interesting project to align himself with: Joel and Ethan Coen's re-entry into the world of Fargo.
Long in development over at FX, the Coen's aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, preferring to instead build upon the previously established template to tell a new story over the course of 10 episodes with new characters - a move that may dim the need to directly compare this new project to its spiritual predecessor.
Thornton is set to play one of those characters - Lorne Malvo, who Deadline describes as: "a rootless, manipulative man who meets a small town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction."
This team up marks a reunion between Thornton and the Coen brothers following his appearance in both The Man Who Wasn't There and Intolerable Cruelty. With that said, though, the Coens won't be writing this story, that responsibility falls to former Unusuals' showrunner and Bones' producer Noah Hawley, who received high praise from FX CEO John Landgraf at the TCA's:
It’s hard to describe how remarkably true to the film it is [...] I think people are going to be entranced with that show [...] [Hawley's] managed to [create] a new version of Fargo that’s its own thing.
As for what happens after those initial 10 episodes, FX indicated that the show could "conceivably" continue and forge out into the anthology territory, like the network's American Horror Story, but without the cast of characters that will be in place for the first stab. So, I suppose that means that we could conceivably see a really big woodchipper at some point.
Keep an eye on Screen Rant for any future updates on Fargo.