Hundreds gather at Fargo Theatre to celebrate premiere of FX's 'Fargo'
By Ryan Johnson / The Forum
FARGO – A vast throng clad in bomber hats and flannel shirts descended on the Fargo Theatre on Tuesday night, as hundreds of locals gathered to celebrate the premiere of FX network’s “Fargo” in true Fargo style – complete with bars.
The venue had to start turning people away shortly before the first of the show’s 10 episodes aired at 9 p.m. after reaching its capacity of 870.
The festive spirit started about 5 p.m., when the first eager locals got a spot in line to wait for the doors to open at 8 p.m. for a cocktail hour and a chance to chat with other excited “Fargo” fans before the episode.
Despite the cold temperatures, Blaine Booher was staying comfortably warm in a rabbit fur bomber hat he said had proved to be “incredibly practical” – and a perfect reference to “Fargo” – since recently moving here from Cincinnati.
“The movie obviously makes it iconic,” he said.
Amanda Booher said they’ve noticed the real accents in Fargo aren’t nearly as bad as the exaggerated “Northwoods” accents that rose to fame in the Coen brothers’ Academy Award-winning 1996 black comedy.
Still, she said they’ve heard plenty of “fer funny” and “fer crazy” comments, mostly among the residents of the Minnesota lakes area.
“People think that we have a Southern accent,” said the former Ohioan, laughing.
Dale Bakken and Mo Woodbury looked stylish standing in line in their faux fur coats. A fan of the 1996 film, Bakken said he was excited to see how Billy Bob Thornton’s ruthless bad guy character, Lorne Malvo, would develop over the course of the 10 episodes that will air each Tuesday at 9 p.m. on FX.
Despite the love/hate relationship some locals have with the film, Woodbury said she appreciated the movie and expects she’ll like the TV show.
“I just think you have to be able to laugh at yourself,” she said.
As the house lights dimmed and the “Fargo” credits appeared on the big screen, the crowd let out loud cheers, ready to take in the 90-minute premiere that will set the tone for the rest of the series that will largely be set in Bemidji, Minn., and Duluth – despite its name.
A conversation between hapless insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, played by Martin Freeman, and his heavily accented wife prompted cheers and chuckles, especially when she gave her husband a hard time about his slow business and reminded him of his brother’s success – “Guess I married the wrong Nygaard.”
Even before the episode aired, “Fargo” had built up considerable critical acclaim and online buzz as one of the best new dramas.
The solid cast, including Colin Hanks as Duluth Deputy Gus Grimly and Allison Tolman as Bemidji Deputy Molly Solverson, also features Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, Glenn Howerton and Valley City, N.D., native Tom Musgrave, who skipped the show’s premiere in larger cities to be at the Fargo Theatre.
Musgrave said he quickly was reminded of the chilly winters of his home state when he got to town, grimacing as he made his way downtown to the theater.
“Every muscle in my face is now tired from the cold,” he said.
Still, Musgrave said he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else as Fargo – the city, and the show’s new “true crime” story that is inspired by, but not duplicating, the film – once again gets its time in the limelight, especially here in this packed Fargo Theatre.
“To feel the love, it’s simply overwhelming,” he said. “It’s beyond words.”
Musgrave's character, Nygaard's boss Bo Munk, got his first appearance on the show about an hour into the episode, drawing another round of loud cheers from the crowd.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587