FX Networks delivered news on Legion, Taboo, Fargo, The Americans, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Atlanta, and more during the cable networks’ Winter Press Tour panels on Thursday for the Television Critics Association. FX’s presentation included an executive session with FX CEO John Landgraf, presidents of Original Programming Nick Grad and Eric Schrier.
Legion and Fargo creator Noah Hawley said that Legion is a subjective show, whereas Fargo is an objective story. Dan Stevens stars as David Haller, a man committed for mental health treatment when he manifests mutant powers. The show follows him through disjointed scenes, many surreal and dreamlike. Hawley said the goal is for viewers to experience what David experiences. This gives the show a sometimes-futuristic, sometimes-retro look. Speaking of looks, Hawley suggested Stevens’ appearance in the series resembled that of rocker Noel Gallagher, and Stevens promised (threatened?) that the comic book character’s famous hair would make an appearance.
— Legion (@LegionFX) January 12, 2017
Jean Smart plays Melanie, a woman who takes David in and seems to have the means to help him. Smart said that Melanie’s estranged husband (Jemaine Clement) will return after 20 years of living in an astral plane. X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner said Legion was a chance to use characters the films were not using. Legion premieres Feb. 8 at 10 p.m. on FX. Look for interviews with Dan Stevens, Lauren Shuler Donner, and other cast members on Rotten Tomatoes.
FX announced an April premiere for Fargo season 3, which is beginning production now. There aren’t even clips yet so FX showed screen tests of all the characters. Set in 2010, season 3 is as contemporary as Fargo gets, with mobile phones and social media — one clip showed a couple taking a selfie. Executive Producer Warren Littlefield said Fargo creator Noah Hawley has fun exploring how this technology intended to unite people actually keeps them separate.
Ewan McGregor is playing brothers, not twins, Emmit and Ray Stussy. You can tell them apart by their very different hair, and McGregor will speak with a Minnesota accent. McGregor said he will have scenes with both brothers together. Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) is another female sheriff in the Fargo tradition. David Thewlis plays V.M. Vargas and claims he doesn’t know what V.M. stands for.
Littlefield promises “a kiss in” to season 1, a subtle reference to previous characters and stories. Littlefield also noted that season three has a smaller cast, allowing them to go deeper with each character.
Taboo creator and writer of all eight season 1 episodes Steven Knight told Rotten Tomatoes that he made a trade with star Tom Hardy, who plays series lead James Keziah Delaney, an early 1800s adventurer returning home after his father’s death. Hardy agreed to do Knight’s show Peaky Blinders and film Locke in return for Knight writing Taboo for him. “I was meant to write the first two, but I ended up writing all of them,” Knight said. “I got so into it. I loved it.” Knight also promised future episodes present some of Delaney’s past experience, though would not confirm whether they’d be in Africa or other regions. Knight also said he’s six episodes into the fourth season of Peaky Blinders, to premiere in October. (Watch for more from Rotten Tomatoes’ interview with Knight, as well as an interview with Hardy.)
Rhys and co-star Keri Russell could not be at the TCAs in person because Rhys is in New York directing episode seven of the Golden Tomato-winning series with Russell. Appearing via satellite, Rhys explained how he expected this to be easier than directing last season’s episode “The Magic of David Copperfield V.”
“Last season it was like being presented with a box of fireworks,” Rhys said. “Everything happened in that episode. There were planes and departures and deaths and huge arguments. This one I very arrogantly or ignorantly said was more pedestrian. This’ll be fine. You realize there’s not even an easy scene to direct. There’s not an easy moment in The Americans. At this point, season 5, everything is so layered. The smallest moments have such a great significance. Nothing is wasted any more. They’re two very different episodes with their own sets of nightmares to overcome. I mean ‘challenges.’”
FX announced a March 7 premiere for season 5 of The Americans.
In the morning executive session, FX announced the full title of Ryan Murphy’s new series will be Feud: Bette and Joan. Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange play Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, respectively, as they make What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Asked during a Feud panel why it wasn’t “Joan and Bette,” Murphy answered, “It’s alphabetical.” Rad confirmed FX has spoken with Murphy about what future seasons of Feud could be, as an anthology like American Horror Story and American Crime Story. Feud: Bette and Joan premieres May 5.
Landgraf said the upcoming seventh season of American Horror Story would be shrouded in secrecy just like the sixth, which didn’t reveal its premise or title Roanoke until it aired. FX renewed the show through season 9 based on Murphy’s commitment to remain involved. “Ryan has yet another innovative idea for how to do something fresh with the franchise audiences haven’t seen before,” Landgraf said. “There’s a marketing and promotional hook around that. Ryan made a commitment that he would continue to run the show and be involved with aiding and designing and building the show from ground up.” Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will return for the season.
Atlanta, another FX Golden Tomato winner, became an acclaimed hit for the network in the fall, winning two Golden Globes this week: one for best Musical or Comedy series and one for Donald Glover’s performance as its lead, ambitious college-dropout Earn. Glover will take a long hiatus before season 2, however, because he is playing Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo prequel movie, and Landgraf said the network supports him. The network signed Glover to an overall production deal. “It’s an amazing opportunity for him,” Schrier added. “We’re going to try to get that show back as soon as we can.”
Landgraf quoted the adage “Do you want it now or do you want it good?” adding, “We’ll take it later and take it good.”
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story launched another anthology series. The second installment, centered around Hurricane Katrina, will be delayed until 2018 because real weather conditions in New Orleans limits the seasons available for filming on location, Landgraf said. FX will first shoot the third American Crime Story on the Gianni Versace murder, but will still air it after the Katrina series. Lady Gaga will not play Donatella Versace, as has been rumored/wished for by fans. After the long hiatus, FX could air the third and fourth seasons as close as six or seven months apart.
FX hired Michael Green as showrunner on its adaptation of post-apocalyptic science fiction graphic novel Y: The Last Man in November. The series tells the story of the sole human survivor of an extinction event that kills off all mammals with a Y chromosome – with the exception of his pet monkey. Today, Grad said he’s waiting for the script, which Green is writing, and expects it in the next two months. Grad added that Y is envisioned as an ongoing series.
Man Seeking Woman creator Simon Rich revealed that the relationship between Josh (Jay Baruchel) and Lucy (Katie Findlay) would end in marriage this season of the FXX series. This was his plan to make the season serialized instead of episodic dating foibles. “Instead of focusing on issues like blind dates and office crushes, we wanted to examine an adult relationship from its inception all the way to the wedding day,” Rich said. Executive producer Andrew Singer added that the absurd fantasy elements fit even better in a serialized story. They showed a clip of the “Mom Squad” using a bomb robot to deliver the wedding invitation to Josh’s mother. Speaking of parents, Rich said Peter Gallagher would play Josh and Liz (Britt Lower)’s biological father.
Next week’s episode has Lucy struggle to make friends with Mike (Eric Andre). Rachel Dratch and Cecily Strong guest star. The wedding storyline includes a bachelor party episode. At one point the absurd logic of Man Seeking Woman has Mike play “a movie star, a prison warden, a Batman supervillain, a basketball player, a baseball player, and a best man in under 20 minutes,” Rich said. “I just did a really shitty version of Jack Nicholson’s Joker,” Andre added.