Pretty much since the day after the Internet-collapsing finale of True Detective‘s highly successful first season, there have been swarms of rumors, speculations and dream-lists for who would be replacing Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, both Emmy-nominated for their roles. After months of long, often merit-less arguments over rumors of a cast including Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Jaoquin Phoenix, Taylor Kitsch, Christian Bale, and I’m pretty sure McConaughey’s name was thrown back in the ring at one point for fun, HBO has officially confirmed the casting of both Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn.
The announcement of Farrell is, of course, satisfying at least one rumor, seeing as every relatively well-known actor was at one point speculated (though, unfortunately not French Stewart, who already has experience recasting detective stories.) In several past roles, Farrell has come close to the grime of the criminal underworld, notably Miami Vice, Phone Booth and his work with Martin McDonaugh. In this new season, according to Deadline, Farrell will be playing “a compromised detective whose allegiances are torn between his masters in a corrupt police department and the mobster who owns him.”
The rumors of Vince Vaughn had caught everyone by some surprise, but nonetheless made some sense. Even in his comedy roles, there has always been a wiry darkness to the actor, who will be playing “the career criminal, Frank Semyon, who is in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner” (also via Deadline.) Vaughn did have a string of dramatic roles in the late 1990s, including A Cool Dry Place, Return to Paradise and Gus Van Sant’s notorious Psycho remake, where his performance as Norman Bates was essentially doomed from the start, but still did show some promise for a creepier side of the Swingers star.
As we learned from the Cary Fukunaga directed first season of True Detective, the atmosphere of the environment and mysticism in the dialogue can do wonders in bringing out the best from the actors, notably McConaughey, who arguably trumped his own Oscar-winning performance of the same year. That being said, vague log lines and character descriptions hint that the show’s second season may have less to do with the otherworldly, occult stuff that engulfed the earlier characters. The other main project announcement was the confirmation of Justin Lin as director of at least two episodes. We will choose to not try and speculate as to just how much this show will be come like the Fast and Furious franchise, because that would be silly. However, the shift in artistic sensibility should be noted, and proves that the show is still fearless about where it will go.