Fans of the 1996 movie "Fargo," by Minnesota brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, are looking forward to the new "Fargo" TV series when it debuts on FX on April 15.
Part of the fun will be to see whether the actors really sound like Minnesotans. To that end, the producers of the show hired a dialect coach named Tony Alcantar to help. But he's not from Minnesota at all. He's a native of Chicago, and now lives in Vancouver, the Regina Leader-Post reports.
"The Minnesota sound, in its extreme, is a more musical sound," said Alcantar, who is an improv actor. He calls it more "sing-songy" than a Chicago accent.
He's been working with several of the show's cast members who speak a very different kind of English than we do.
Martin Freeman, for example, is from Britain and most recently played the part of Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit" movies. He said he talks Minnesotan all day whenever he's shooting.
"I hope I've got it, but it needs attending to. You need to work on it every day," he told the paper.
Freeman plays one of the main characters, insurance salesman Lester Nygaard.
Allison Tolman, a Texan, plays a cop named Molly Solverson. She describes the Minnesota accent this way.
"They say less and they choose their words really carefully, so there's more silence."
Keith Carradine, who plays Molly's father, says the accent is an important element of the storytelling.
"It has a kind of a benign patina that it lays over this really sinister undertone of the things that are going on in this little community," he said.
The series also stars Billy Bob Thornton as a drifter who comes to town and upsets the lives of the residents. FX says it's a whole new “true crime” story with a new case and characters that also includes the humor, homicide and “Minnesota nice” of the original film.
The series runs for 10 episodes. Joel and Ethan Coen are producing the shows along with two others.
While much of the movie was set in Brainerd, the television series is set in Bemidji. Filming of the show, however, was done in Calgary, Alberta.
Here's a trailer for the series: