Here's a scary thought, folks: That child of Marge and Norm Gunderson's should now be a teenager.
Yes, it was way back on March 8, 1996, that the Coen brothers unleashed 'Fargo' on unsuspecting audiences, which means that the then-expecting lady cop Marge (indelibly played by Frances McDormand) would today have a 15-year-old on her hands -- well, if the characters were real and all.
Times have certainly changed in the decade and a half since the unflinchingly grisly black comedy, purportedly based on real events, hit the big screen and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress (McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay. But what has changed in the lives of the cast and crew of 'Fargo'? Moviefone brings you up to speed as we celebrate the the film's 15th anniversary.
Frances McDormand (Marge Gunderson)
Then: While McDormand's portrayal of a just-plain-folks pregnant cop in 'Fargo' may have brought more career fame and acclaim than ever before, making a movie with husband Joel and brother-in-law Ethan was old hat: She'd previously appeared in their filmmakers' neo-noirish 'Blood Simple,' 'Raising Arizona' and, in an uncredited part, 'Miller's Crossing.' The Oscar nomination she earned for 'Fargo' likewise wasn't her first; she'd previously been a Best Supporting Actress candidate for 'Mississippi Burning.' The big difference, of course, was that she won for 'Fargo.'
Now: McDormand, now 53, can't seem to stay away from awards and nominations. Although she's never nabbed another Oscar, she's been nominated twice more, for her work in 'Almost Famous' and 'North Country.' She's also garnered a slew of critics' awards and recognition from the Golden Globes and Independent Spirit Awards, for 'Laurel Canyon,' 'Friends With Money' and 'Burn After Reading.' Her theater career has likewise remained strong; she's currently walking the boards on Broadway in 'Good People,' a play written by 'Rabbit Hole' scribe David Lindsay-Abaire.
William H. Macy (Jerry Lundegaard)
Then: It was a slow career climb that led Macy to his most renowned role as scheming car salesman Jerry Lundegaard. In the 25 years prior to 'Fargo,' Macy -- who had originally planned to be a veterinarian -- had honed his craft in theater, first in Chicago and then in New York City. His longtime friendship with David Mamet led him to being cast in 'Oleanna,' which was released about a year before 'Fargo.' He was also a series regular on the first four seasons of the hit NBC series 'ER.'
Now: Post-'Fargo,' Macy appeared in a barrage of big movies as Hollywood's reigning character actor of choice; see his scene-stealing appearances in 'Boogie Nights,' 'Wag the Dog,' 'Psycho,' 'A Civil Action,' 'Mystery Men,' and 'Magnolia' for proof. This past January, his latest project, the blue-collar comedy 'Shameless,' in which Macy portrays an alcoholic single father of six, debuted on Showtime.
Steve Buscemi (Carl Showalter)
Then: Like McDormand, Steve Buscemi had also been a veteran of a pair of Coen brothers' films ('Miller's Crossing' and 'Barton Fink' -- three, if you count his cameo in 'The Hudsucker Proxy') before appearing in 'Fargo' as hired thug Carl Showalter. His big break, however, had already arrived in 1992, when he portrayed Mr. Pink in Quentin Tarantino's ultraviolent 'Reservoir Dogs.'
Now: Buscemi's body of work has been a-churning at an impressive rate since 'Fargo,' with standout roles in blockbusters ('Con Air,' 'Armageddon'), comedies ('The Wedding Singer,' 'I Think I Love My Wife'), family films (the 'Spy Kids' series), and TV series (most notably, season five of 'The Sopranos'). But leading-man roles have largely eluded him -- until last year, that is, when he landed the part of Atlantic City racketeer Nucky Thompson in the HBO drama series 'Boardwalk Empire'; he won both a SAG Award and a Golden Globe for his performance.
Peter Stormare (Gaear Grimsrud)
Then: American audiences had seen little of native Swede Stormare before he terrified the ever-living crud out of them as human mulch-maker and impassive professional criminal Gaear Grimsrud. Reportedly discovered by Swedish filmmaking legend Ingmar Bergman (he had a brief role in the director's 'Fanny and Alexander' in 1982), Stormare spent many years doing theater around the globe and making Swedish movies before 'Fargo.'
Now: The wood-chipper enthusiast he plays in 'Fargo' turned out to be the first of several iconic roles Stormare went on to play in American movies and TV. He guest-starred on 'Seinfeld' as Slippery Pete, portrayed lead Nihilist Uli Kunkel in 'The Big Lebowski,' starred in the Fox series 'Prison Break' as incarcerated mob boss John Abruzzi and, in a surprising change of pace, was brilliantly funny as Wolfgang in Volkswagen's series of "Un-pimp ze Auto" commercials.
Harve Presnell (Wade Gustafson)
Then: Having originally trained in operatic singing, the deep-voiced Presnell wrapped his booming set of pipes around a few musical movies in the 1960s before his career took a turn for the downscaled. He shifted largely to touring and regional theater, with the occasional TV role -- and a long tenure as Daddy Warbucks in 'Annie' -- thrown in. It was 'Fargo,' in fact, that's been credited with reviving his on-screen career.
Now: After carving out a robust post-'Fargo' resume that included 'Face/Off,' 'Saving Private Ryan,' 'Old School,' 'Flags of Our Fathers' and 'Evan Almighty,' Presnell passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
Stephen Park (Mike Yanagita)
Then: Park's character, an old high-school classmate of Marge Gunderson's who shares a rather awkward dinner with her one night, struck a contentious chord among film buffs who debated the purpose, or lack thereof, of his non-sequitur scene. Up until that point, Park's career had included a few controversial productions, such as 'Do the Right Thing' and the TV show 'In Living Color,' but mostly he'd subsisted on bit parts.
Now: And the bit parts have kept coming, most recently in 'Morning Glory,' 'A Serious Man' (another Coen brothers' film) and 'State of Play.'
John Carroll Lynch (Norm Gunderson)
Then: What Lynch's pre-'Fargo' acting resume lacked in heft (i.e., a tiny role in 'Grumpy Old Men' as a moving man), he made up for by his Minnesota background, which served him well for the part of Marge Gunderson's duck-painting husband. He had been a prominent member of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and had been involved with the acting program at the University of Minnesota.
Now: Lynch has worked steadily since the role, most notably as the chief suspect in David Fincher's 2007 serial-killer drama 'Zodiac.' More recently, Lynch had roles in Clint Eastwood's 'Gran Torino' and Martin Scorsese's 'Shutter Island,' and he'll appear as the character Moses Buggs in next week's 'Paul,' a new comedy from the creators of 'Shaun of the Dead' that also stars Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman and Kristen Wiig.
Joel and Ethan Coen (co-writers/co-directors)
Then: The brotherly filmmaking duo had five flicks under their collective belt before 'Fargo,' the most recent of which had been 'The Hudsucker Proxy' (1994). With a budget of a reported $25 million (which may have ballooned to $40 million after marketing costs) and a cast that included Paul Newman and Tim Robbins, the movie was a major financial failure, drawing in just under $3 million at the box office. For 'Fargo,' the duo went back to operating on a small budget; it was made for just $7 million.
Now: Perhaps you caught some mentions of the Coen brothers' latest, 'True Grit,' on the Oscars telecast? Widely considered one of the best movies of 2010, it received nominations for the Coens' screenplay and direction, as well as Best Picture, Best Actor (Jeff Bridges) and Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld). The Coens may have gotten royally shafted in the Best Picture and Best Director categories for 'Fargo' (losing both times to 'The English Patient'), but they swept both for their 2007 crime thriller 'No Country for Old Men.'