Minnesota Historical Society

A Lot Can Happen in the Middle of Nowhere

$ 18.95

 The Untold Story of the Making of Fargo

Author Todd Melby, Foreword by William H. Macy

Go behind the scenes of this classic nineties film from cinematic masters Joel and Ethan Coen. Yah, you betcha, you’re gonna discover some fascinating tidbits to celebrate the film’s twenty-fifth anniversary.

The 1996 movie Fargo stirred widespread curiosity about snowy winters, funny accents, and bloody mayhem on the frozen tundra of Minnesota and North Dakota. The film won two Academy Awards and inspired a popular, award-winning television series. It is also a quintessentially Minnesota film—or is it?

A Lot Can Happen in the Middle of Nowhere presents the untold stories behind the making of Joel and Ethan Coen’s most memorable film. It explores the behindthe-scenes creative moments that made Fargo a critical and cultural success, including casting struggles, the battles over dialect, production challenges (a lack of snow), and insights from the screenplay and deleted scenes. Author Todd Melby examines to what extent the story was inspired by true events (as the film claims), and whether the Coens are trustworthy narrators of their own story. In addition to biographical details about the Coen Brothers, the book reveals what Fargo says about Minnesota and the Midwest.

Todd Melby is a reporter, documentarian, and filmmaker. In 2016, he coproduced “We Don’t Talk Like That: Fargo and the Midwest Psyche,” a one-hour radio documentary about the movie. "Black Gold Boom", his public media series on North Dakota’s oil boom, featured stories of hope and despair. "Spirit and Body Willing: Sex Over Age 70" and "Death’s Footprint", radio documentaries he co-produced with Diane Richard, won national Edward R. Murrow awards. He lives in Minneapolis.

William H. Macy played the role of Jerry Lundegaard in the 1997 film production of Fargo, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His acting career spans four decades and includes appearances in dozens of films and television programs. Macy has won four Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards, in addition to numerous other nominations.

  • Paperback, 240 pages, 6 x 9 inches, 20 B&W Photos, notes, index, bibliography
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 2021)
  • ISBN: 9781681341880
  • Category: Film Studies
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