5 Actors We Want To See In True Detective 2

Harrelson and McConaughey are out. Here's who should be in for TV's best new show

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From Tony Soprano to Walter White, the chance to see protagonists develop over several years has been central to TV’s cultural renaissance over the past two decades.

The quality of HBO’s True Detective – a character study masquerading as a crime thriller – suggested there was plenty left in the tank for Marty Hart and Rust Cohle after the concluding episode of its debut season, which aired last month.

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What a shock then when we soon learned that building another six season story arc like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad was never what writer Nic Pizzolatto had in mind. The show will return, but with a new cast and story every season for however long it survives.

Pizzolatto has dropped hints about season two over a handful of recent interviews, including stating that it will involve “hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system”.

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That somewhat odd-sounding final detail has apparently been inspired by the 38-year-old recently reading about ‘the last forty years of Southern California government’, leading to the rumour that the action will shift West from South Louisiana – whose scorched fields and murky swamps played such a prominent part in season one – to the Golden State.


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But if Marty and Rust’s outing is anything to go by, the plotline will be of secondary importance to most fans. Often, the occult murder investigation veered into TV-crime-by-numbers territory, while the relationship between two detectives was the most compelling and original aspect of the show.

The casting, then, is utterly crucial. Pizzolatto’s hard-boiled and often high-minded dialogue would have fallen apart in the hands of less accomplished actors than Harrelson and McConaughey. The danger with season two is that, with inferior stars at the helm, True Detective could become portentous to the point of self-parody, in the same sort of way Tarantino’s pop culture riffs wilted in the mouths of lesser actors (himself most notably).

The biggest rumour so far is that Brad Pitt is in the frame as one of show’s new leads, an idea you can’t help but greet with a little trepidation. Pitt is heavyweight name, but as we saw this year in 12 Years A Slave, his celebrity is such that he can threaten to derail a grand project with a cameo alone.

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People point to his starring role Seven – the excellent 1995 David Fincher crime thriller that was similar in tone to True Detective – but Pitt, playing a rookie, wasn’t anything like as famous as he is now. When was the last time the 50-year-old convinced in a serious drama? The closest was probably in 2007’s The Assassination Of Jesse James, in which he played the titular character in a different way just as famous as he is.

Another rumour was that Pizzolatto would put female characters at the forefront of season two, in part to counter the legitimate accusation that women were little more than cardboard cutouts or titillating nudes in season one.

The suggestion that Kate Mara (House of Cards) and Ellen page should form the new duo – sparked by a tongue-in-cheek tweet from the latter – was a fun idea, but unlikely given their age.

 

 

In any case, Pizzolatto told BuzzFeed: "I never want to create from a place of critical placation. I don’t want, for instance, a gender-bias-critique to influence what I do".

Which isn’t to say, of course, we won’t see a prominent female character in True Detective 2 – think how House Of Cards has benefitted this year from the increased presence of Claire Underwood – just that Pizzolatto won’t do so merely out of desire to appease his critics.

For now then, the most important factor in whether True Detective will prove a one hit wonder or sustain its brilliance into a second season remains unresolved.

The cast isn’t likely to confirmed for a long time as Pizzolatto gets on with the daunting take of writing an entire new series alone (another reason to worry, given most big shows use a writers room of talent rather than one person alone), meaning all we can do is speculate.

And so we shall. Here are 5 actors of the right status and talent we’d love to see land one of the hottest job in acting right now.


1 | C. C. H. Pounder

The Shield is best remembered for Michael Chiklis’ turn as Vic Mackey, possibly the most outrageous of all the post-Tony Soprano anti-heroes. But while the show’s ridiculous plot twists and occasionally one-dimensional characters meant it never quite reached the critical summit of American drama, one supporting actress almost took it there on her own. Pounder was fantastic as Claudette Wyms, the captain with the integrity and courage to reign in Mackey’s cowboy policing. She may not be a box office name, but she has more than enough gravitas to pull off a Pizzolatto script.


2 | Michael Imperioli

If Pizzolatto is bold enough to employ an actor so closely associated with TV drama’s equivalent of The Godfather, then Imperioli could be an inspired piece of casting. Outside James Gandolfini (who would be top of this list had he not sadly died last year) and Edie Falco (who is currently still occupied with Nurse Jackie), Imperioli was the arguably best actor in The Sopranos. And we haven’t seen nearly enough of him since Christopher Moltisanti.


3 | Idris Elba

It’s been a long time since the Londoner convinced the world he was actually American with a perfect Baltimore accent in The Wire. Since then, his reputation has only been enhanced by a winning turn in the biopic of Nelson Mandela and the continued success of UK drama Luther. Elba seems to rise to every challenge, and has the physical presence to impose himself on any new nightmare Pizzolatto dreams up for season two.


4 | Lupita Nyong'o

Why not? Not only is Nyong’o the breakout acting talent of the year after 12 Years A Slave, but that means she comes with no baggage, either as a well-established A-lister or a veteran of another TV show. You imagine she’d take an opportunity like this and run it through a brick wall. The only draw back is that, unless Pizzolatto is planning a truly radical departure from the first season, Nyong’o will be too young to play a lead. But what a coup if he could unleash her somewhere in the story.


5 | Michael Fassbender 

For someone who can fill McConaughy's shoes without fear of failure, Pizzolatto should look no further than the man who, like the Texan, is reaching the peak of his powers as an actor and who brings the requisite a-lister credentials to excite audiences about a second season. Fassbender, like Elba, would also pull off the American accent with ease. If True Detective season two requires another world weary man with nightmares in his eyes, the star of Shame and 12 Years A Slave should be top of the want list.


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SEE ALSO:

The Moment 'True Detective' Put Another Bullet In The Gut Of Cinema 
Wolf Of Wall Street McConaughey Mash 
"Alright, Alright, Alright" - The Origin Of Matthew McConaughey's Catchphrase 
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