FARGO Returns to Production, and Everyone Is Watching

FARGO Returns to Production, and Everyone Is Watching

Major television productions are heading back to set in Chicago, and the first one up might be the most important. The highly anticipated FX series FARGO, starring Chris Rock, is set to resume shooting on or around August 24th, primarily at the city's production hub, Cinespace Studios. This round of filming to complete its fourth season is expected to run for two weeks.

So why is this two-week shoot so critical to the near-term future of the Chicago television and movie industry? Because sources tell SCREEN every 2020 production that follows will hinge on the COVID-19-related safety and success of these two weeks in August. In particular, the new seasons of the #OneChicago franchise. As SCREEN reported last month, the Dick Wolf triumvirate of CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, and CHICAGO MED is set to resume filming in September and will head back into pre-production in August. However, at this point, all productions will be anxiously awaiting word from the FARGO set. Any COVID-19 outbreak on set or other unexpected safety issues could derail or postpone September shoot dates for the three Dick Wolf series and subsequent productions.

FARGO Forges Ahead

The team for the FX series is currently in heavy pre-production at Cinespace and will resume filming on August 24th. Eight out of the season's ten episodes had been completed when production was halted in March. The highly anticipated fourth season is set to chronicle two feuding crime syndicates - one Black American and one Italian American - in 1950s Missouri at the end of the Great American migration. The series was created by Noah Hawley and this season's cast is helmed by Chris Rock, here is a quick preview:

And What About Those Pilots?

There were two pilots set to shoot at Cinespace and throughout Chicago when the coronavirus pandemic abruptly locked up the city in March. Sources tell SCREEN the NBC pilot ORDINARY JOE is still planning to film in Chicago, but is closely watching the upcoming FARGO shoot, in hopes all will go smoothly with respect to COVID-related crew safety. ORDINARY JOE is expected to be directed by Matt Davidson, who is currently an executive producer on NBC’s ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST, and the pilot has a very notable Executive Producer on the project is Matt Reeves, director of the latest iteration of THE BATMAN, starring Robert Pattinson. Click here for Screen's recent rundown of ORDINARY JOE.

Also in a bit of a hopeful holding pattern is the ballet-themed hourlong comedy-drama THE BIG LEAP. The pilot's team of executive producers includes FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and THE ORVILLE veteran Liz Heldens. This pilot for Fox could also begin filming as early as late September but will likely hold off until October or later this fall. And again, the cementing of these shoot dates will likely hinge in large part on how FARGO fares with its filming in August. For more about THE BIG LEAP, check out Screen Magazine's recent write-up about the project.

Check back here at screenmag.com for updates as FARGO heads to set this August and the NBC series and pilots ramp up for production this fall.