Chris Rock to star in fourth season of FX's 'Fargo'

Gary Levin
Chris Rock during his stand-up special, 'Tamborine.'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Acclaimed limited series "Fargo" is returning to FX for a fourth season – with comedian Chris Rock as its star.

The new season, set in 1950 in Kansas City, Missouri, will begin filming in November 2019 and air sometime in 2020, the network revealed at the Television Critics Association press tour Friday. Noah Hawley, who based the series on Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning 1996 film, will again write the new chapter. 

"I'm a fan of 'Fargo,' and I can't wait to work with Noah," Rock said in a statement. 

This version shifts decades earlier (and farther south) and, in a "true" (or at least truish) story, charts the intersection of two crime syndicates, one African-American and the other Italian-American, who strike an "uneasy peace," FX says.  To cement it, the heads of both families trade their eldest sons. 

Rock plays the head of the African-American crime family, "a man who — in order to prosper — has surrendered his oldest boy to his enemy, and who must in turn raise his son’s enemy as his own," FX says in a statement describing the season.  "And then the head of the Kansas City mafia goes into the hospital for routine surgery and dies.  And everything changes. It’s a story of immigration and assimilation, and the things we do for money. And as always, a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads." 

In other words, just like every other season of the acclaimed series. While it marks a departure from the snowier climes of Minnesota and North Dakota (previous seasons have been filmed in Calgary), there is a connective thread: Mike Milligan, the enforcer played by Bokeem Woodbine in Season 2 of the series, set in 1979, worked for the same Kansas City crime operation. The Kansas City mobs also were deeply involved in money laundering and other schemes that led to the buildup of Las Vegas.

"Fargo" won the Emmy Award as best miniseries for its first season, in 2014, which starred Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman.

Hawley has been busy of late and has not yet written the new season. He also executive produces FX's "Legion," based on Marvel characters, and is directing an untitled movie starring Natalie Portman (she plays an astronaut) and Jon Hamm. 

Also announced at TCA:

  • "Shogun," a 10-episode limited series based on James Clavell's 1975 novel, set in feudal Japan. FX calls the project its "largest international scale production to date," to be filmed in Japan and the United Kingdom.
  • "Devs," an eight-episode limited series from writer-director Alex Garland ("Ex Machina," Annihilation") about a young computer engineer who investigates the development division of her secretive San Francisco tech firm, which she believes is responsible for the murder of her boyfriend. Sonoya Mizuno Nick Offerman, Jin Ha and Zach Grenier are among cast members.

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