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Coen brothers return to Fargo

The historic Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo, N.D.

Fans of the Coen brothers and their offbeat movies -- "Raising Arizona" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" among them -- are in for a treat.

Sixteen years after its original release, the brothers' funny and completely disturbing film "Fargo" is going to be turned into a television series on the FX Network.

Back in 1996, "Fargo" took home a couple Oscars -- Frances McDormand won Best Actress and the Joel and Ethan Coen won for Best Original Screenplay. That success firmly established the city's name on our collective psyche -- in a maybe not-so-good way.

Cue the sound of a woodchipper.

"I think a few people walked out on the premier at the Fargo Theater," says Charley Johnson, president of the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Because of the violence, it was not everyone's cup of tea, as you might say." 

Regardless, the film put the little northern city of about 100,000 in the minds of many Americans, and gave it a cool factor that it hadn't had before.

And with the announcement that the Coens are developing a TV series based on the film for the FX Network, Johnson says most of Fargo's citizenry have embraced the reputation the film brought them. When asked if it was a boon for tourism, Johnson can't point to any specific dollar amount but, he says, "thousands of people get their picture taken with that woodchipper in our visitors center every year."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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