HBO’s True Detective season one was a revelation in 2014, with a gripping story line and excellent performances from leads Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The series is also riding the current anthology series trend, with season two featuring a completely different story line, location and cast – namely Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, Kelly Reilly and Vince Vaughn. In a recent interview with Playboy (which we read for the articles and via Variety) the latter opened up about appearing on TV and his role – where he plays a “businessman” in the process of opening a legitimate business, a process which is complicated by the murder of a business partner and brings unwelcome attention down upon him.
When asked if he felt pressure taking over acting duties on the second season following the praise the first received:
[Creator] Nic Pizzolatto is such a great writer, and so much of this is driven by his stories. I thought Woody and Matthew did an exceptional job with the first season. This one’s very different, though. It’s a totally different story, with its own characters. The thing that’s consistent is the richness of the characters and the quality of the material. That was Louisiana. This is a California-based story, and it was kind of birthed from here. A lot of it is set in Los Angeles.
While primarily known for comedy movies, he’s become one of many movie actors now making an appearance on TV as it experiences a boom in story telling:
It’s nice now to be mixing it up and doing something different with True Detective. I wouldn’t say [TV is] more interesting; it’s just different. A film like The Way Way Back with Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell was as smart as anything you’d see in any format. TV is definitely having its moment. It’s almost as if we’ve discovered how exciting it can be to tell a story over a longer time frame. In the 1990’s we went through a run of independent films that captured the attention of critics and a certain type of audience member. Those movies were edgy, offbeat and risky and had fully drawn adult characters. You can’t do that as easily anymore on a big studio movie. If you can’t turn something into a franchise that gets people into seats that first weekend, you’re probably not going to get your movie made.
You also have all these new avenues of financing and distribution, which have the studios running a little scared. Netflix, Amazon, other streaming outlets — they appear to have more patience to finance character-based stories. And not just dramas. I think Netflix in particular has been a fantastic place for documentaries to land and be seen. But the basics are still the same: You want a great story; you need good characters, good actors and someone in charge who’s running it well. I think it’s the most exciting time since probably the early 1970’s for actors, writers and directors in terms of doing meaningful, intelligent, grown-up work, and that has a lot to do with these episodic shows.
Those are some excellent points, particularly on the growing influence of companies such as Netflix and Amazon which are now producing their own content and competing directly with established Hollywood heavyweights.
True Detective is a show I’ve been meaning to watch properly for some time after catching the pilot, which really drew me in. Nick raves about it all the time, but then again he also eats lead paint. I’m also curious to see Vaughn in something completely out of his recent comfort zone.
Last Updated: February 13, 2015