The 1996 movie Fargo almost was named after a different town entirely.

The movie stars Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson, a Minnesota police chief investigating a triple homicide that takes place after a desperate car salesman (William H. Macy) hires two criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife in order to extort a hefty ransom from her wealthy father (Harve Presnell).

The film was a huge success, receiving seven Oscar nominations, and was selected in 2006 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

But Fargo wasn't always going to be named after the North Dakota border town. It was originally called Brainerd.

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There isn’t a single scene in Fargo that was actually filmed in Fargo, North Dakota. According to

The Coens (Joel and Ethan) had originally called the movie Brainerd, named after the location of the majority of the plot. They only changed it to Fargo when they realized it sounded like a cooler movie title than Brainerd.

Poor Brainerd. They could've been the town to have the official woodchipper from the movie on display in their visitor center instead of Fargo.

Here are a few other fun facts about the movie:

  • The Weather Was Brutal: When Fargo went into production during the winter of 1994 and 1995, Minnesota had just gone through its sunniest, warmest summer in history. That winter brought the state’s lowest recorded amount of snowfall ever. Only one scene in the whole movie was shot on a sunny day.
  • The Cast Didn't Know It Was Fiction: The movie opens saying it is a true story with the names changed, and the cast believed it  It wasn’t until three weeks into shooting that the Coen brothers told everyone that the movie was fictional.
  • Frances McDormand's Baby Bump Was Bird Seed: The pregnancy pillow she wore to play Marge was filled with bird seed to match the weight of a growing fetus.

Now that you know a little more about the behind the scenes, it might be time for a rewatch of Fargo. Or maybe it should get a re-release as Brainerd.

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