In a recent panel discussion during Tribeca’s reunion series, Steve Buscemi joined Frances McDormand and director Joel Coen to discuss the 25th anniversary of Fargo.
The classic award-winning crime comedy caper follows a small-time car salesman in Minnesota who hires two local thugs to kidnap his wife for a ransom, only for his plan to go hilariously wrong. Polite and well-mannered police officer Marge Gunderson (played by Frances McDormand) soon becomes attracted to the case, leading her and Minnesota’s small-town down a weird and bizarre rabbit hole.
Presented by Entertainment Weekly, the conversation ranged from topics on how the script was devised to surreal and surprising stories from the set, including what eventually happened to ‘the woodchipper’.
One highlight of their conversation included how the Coen brothers had to take a months-long break from writing the script before working out how to end it. Speaking on the panel, it was revealed that the script was put “in a drawer”, around the point where Steve Reevis’ Shep beats up Steve Buscemi’s Carl. Joel Coen commented, “It sat there for probably four or five months and we didn’t think about it, and then we came back and finished it”.
Later in the conversation, they go on to explore the whereabouts of two of Fargo’s most memorable props, the Paul Bunyan statue, and the woodchipper, with both of which carrying a rather strange legacy. The Bunyan statue, portraying the American and Canadian folk hero, found itself erected in the middle of a sugar beet field in North Dakota, where, according to McDormand “all these families would come…and they just sit in their car and look at the statue”.
As for the woodchipper, famously used at the climax of the film, well it now has a starring role at the annual 4th of July celebrations in Minnesota town where it is paraded through the streets.
Is it any surprise?