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Billy Bob Thornton Hits the Small Screen in FX's "Fargo"

FX/Matthias Clamer (NEW YORK) -- Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton is trading the big screen for the small, in FX's new adaptation of another Academy Award winner, Fargo.

The series kicked off Tuesday night on the network, and the actor explained to ABC News Radio that he couldn't say no to the project, in which he plays a psychotic drifter.

"The writing was so good and what [writer Noah Hawley] did was he managed to capture the tone and the spirit of the Coen Brothers movie without imitating them," Thornton said.

Thornton said the show is, "...a new animal and yet it still seems like Fargo and what it really is, it's kind of what happens in that area of that country after the movie. Y'know, so it's different characters, different story, but the same tone as the movie."

As much fun as Thornton had on the series, he won't be back: as, in the case of AMC's American Horror Story, Fargo's cast will apparently change season to season.

So even if Fargo gets renewed, Thornton won't be on board -- nor will anyone else from the freshman season, which includes Hobbit star Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, and Breaking Bad's Bob Odenkirk.

"...[I]t's not out of the question that they'll do another 10 but this particular story is over so it will be with new people," Thornton explained. "...That's why this was perfect for me because it was 10 episodes and then it's over, so then I can still do two movies this year."

That being said, the project has turned Thornton on to the small screen.

"[T]elevision has really excited me," he said, "so this won't be the last time for sure."

Fargo airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.

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