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Why Fargo Season 5 is Fixated on The Nightmare Before Christmas

“We asked [Fargo creator Noah Hawley] and apparently he called and got all the rights to [The Nightmare Before Christmas],” Wayne Lyon actor David Rysdahl tells Den of Geek.

But why, exactly? Premiering in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas follows Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, as he discovers and then plots to take over Christmas Town. The Henry Selick-directed stop-motion animated feature is an aesthetic masterpiece and a mainstay of both the Halloween and Christmas seasons.

Fargo is far from the first story to be inspired by the film, but it is one of the stranger thematic fits. At first glance, there’s nothing about Fargo season 5’s debt-filled trip into the American psyche that fits with Jack Skellington’s arc, aside from its Halloween 2019 timeframe. According to some of the actors involved, however, the two properties have more in common than you’d think.

“To me, this season is a fever dream of Americana,” Rysdahl says. “We always call it the American dream but the American dream is riddled with debt and is a nightmare now. Like the world of Nightmare Before Christmas. This idea of a nightmare American dream, for me that’s how I made sense of it.”

Dave Foley, who plays the Lyon family attorney Danish Graves, concurs.

“There’s definitely that sense of duality that Nightmare Before Christmas contains – the notion of haunted and dark characters wanting to take on the roles of Christmas,” he says. “All of our characters, especially our central character Dot, have this strong duality. That movie is about the dual nature of human beings. This season is very much about that.”

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