Martin Freeman cast in 'Fargo' TV series

KRISTIN TILLOTSON | Updated 9/27/2013

Best known from the "Hobbit" movies and "Sherlock," the British actor will play a character much like William H. Macy's Jerry Lundegaard.

Martin Freeman - seen here, left, with "Hobbit" director Peter Jackson - will star in the TV version of "Fargo," due to premiere next spring.

A Brit known for his ability to play the straight-man foil to more colorful characters has been cast as the quintessential Scando-American car salesman in "Fargo," the TV version.

Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins in the "Hobbit" film franchise and Dr. Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes in the BBC's modernized "Sherlock," will play Lester Nygaard, loosely based on Jerry "I'm cooperatin' here!" Lundegaard, who William H. Macy immortalized in the Coen Bros.' Oscar-winning, Minnesota-set movie that poked affectionate fun at the state's regionally specific accents and behaviors.

The 10-episode FX miniseries, set to begin production next month in Canada, also features Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a stranger who comes to town and stirs things up for bored, restless Lester. Though the series will have the same tone as the movie, it follows a new storyline.

Joel and Ethan Coen are executive producers on the project, which  is being written my Noah Hawley ("My Generation"). The premiere will be directed by Adam Bernstein, an Emmy winner for "30 Rock."