HBO's ‘True Detective’ has neither completed the course of its eight-episode run, nor has that Nic Pizzolato-scripted series even officially attained a season 2 renewal, but recently the internet has been abuzz with #TrueDetectiveSeason2 casting choices, both real and fake. The meme may have run its course, but we decided to take a serious approach to pool Hollywood A-list talent we’d like to see in ‘True Detective’ season 2!
Keep in mind that unlike the #TrueDetectiveSeason2 meme, we opted against choosing any specific pairings, given the unpredictable nature of casting. We can’t say for sure if a second season of HBO’s dark and dreary hit would even stick to the two-person format, specific branch of investigators, or any one location, or time period.
Chiwetel Ejiofor has been around forever, particularly in his native U.K., while even geeks like us recognize the 'Serenity' star's cool and calculating Operative anywhere. Given all the pedigree attached to his performance in '12 Years a Slave,' as well as his upcoming projects, Chiwetel could well be out of range for an HBO series, though we’d like to believe the single-season anthology approach and the undoubtable buzz for season 2 make the ‘Children of Men’ star just over the mark of plausibility.
Like his older brother Ben, Casey’s star power has been up and down over the last few years, seemingly on the rise again with the recent success of ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,’ and an upcoming turn with Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar.’ And sure, Affleck has already played detective before in movies like ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ but we like to think Affleck would bring a much more youthful vulnerability to a future ‘True Detective’ season, particularly compared with his ‘Interstellar’ co-star McConaughey.
The fire somewhat dimmed after ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ but Jessica Chastain will certainly be returning to the Hollywood eye with her upcoming roles in ‘Interstellar’ and Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Crimson Peak.’ Still, we’d like to think that a female central lead is the sensible next step for ‘True Detective,’ and Chastain feels like a perfect combination of attainable, award-caliber, and the kind of range showcased by the HBO drama between its two leads.
Sure, Mark Ruffalo would be a tough get for an ongoing HBO series, what with future ‘Avengers 2’ filming in the works and a host of other career options, though we at least have a precedent for the ‘Now You See Me’ star to appear on HBO with Ryan Murphy’s upcoming ‘The Normal Heart.’ Not only that, but look no further than David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac,’ among others for how much tortured gravity Ruffalo brings to the investigative drama genre.
Like her ’12 Years A Slave’ co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o has been the talk of the town during awards season. Not only would a central role for Nyong’o prove a refreshing change of pace from the first season, but the actress’ relatively short film career make her a prime casting target, and an easy way for the HBO drama to generate some buzz going into the second run.
Recent ‘Sons of Anarchy’ star Robin Weigert may not have the film profile of predecessors Woody Harrelson or Matthew McConaughey, though she at least has an HBO history playing Calamity Jane of the infamous ‘Deadwood,’ and could make for an exciting, if unconventional choice. Hard-edged, but vulnerable remains well within the actress wheelhouse as well, particularly across the recent season of FX’s biker drama, and many past authority figure roles.
Amy Adams has literally been in everything, having come a long way from bit parts in ‘Smallville’ or second female lead to Will Ferrell’s ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.’ And sure, such high-profile fare as ‘American Hustle’ and 'Batman vs. Superman' could well put Adams beyond reach, but the single season commitment of ‘True Detective’ keeps it within the realm of possibility.
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ star Oscar Isaac isn’t quite a household name just yet, and certainly unaided by the Coen brothers’ film’s somewhat expected snub from the 2014 Academy Awards. We’ve seen Isaac equal parts capable of warmth and weariness, so we’d imagine the critical community to quite celebrate casting Isaac as a (if not the) lead of ‘True Detective’ season 2. After all, we can’t be sure if Pizzolato will shoot for the same two-man pairing, or even where the second season would likely take place, making Isaac a strong choice for any dynamic.
These days, Sarah Polley has become better known for her directing work among the likes of ‘Take This Waltz’ and ‘Stories We Tell,’ but that wouldn’t necessarily preclude a return to center stage. After all, considering the stylish direction that Cary Fukunaga employed over the first ‘True Detective’ season, Sarah Polley could make a welcome addition to either side of the camera, particularly if ‘True Detective’ season 2 changed things up with a female lead.
Keeping along the lines of HBO covering more bases in the second season, why not an older, more experienced actress in the central lead? We’ve certainly seen Sigourney Weaver take on the TV miniseries before with the likes of USA’s ‘Political Animals,’ and no one would pass up a chance to see Ripley take on the dark and dreary world of ‘True Detective.’
One alternative to the homogeny of the first season of ‘True Detective’ would be to skew older, for which Jeff Bridges would make an excellent, gravitas-assured presence. Bridges should certainly prove attainable as well (whose family was threatened that ‘R.I.P.D.’ got made?), scoring major points for buzz, particularly if Bridges opted to play against type, as with McConaughey before him.
Like Matt Damon and others, Kate Winslet has a surprising HBO history that might make her a prime candidate for ‘True Detective’ season 2. Not only did ‘Mildred Pierce’ win her the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards, but Winslet also narrated 2010’s ‘A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism.’ If nothing else, we’d much rather see Kate Winslet take on a season of ‘True Detective’ than bank on any lasting recognition from the ‘Divergent’ franchise. Make it happen, HBO!
We thought about Tom Hardy at first, until realizing that the former ‘Dark Knight Rises’ star had recently signed on to the BBC’s 'Peaky Blinders,' among all the ‘Mad Max’ and Elton John in his future. And while Joseph Gordon-Levitt has his ‘HitRecord’ TV series, as well as future ‘Sandman’ projects and whatever else down the line, Levitt would provide an intriguing new ‘True Detective’ take with enough gravitas to keep even older viewers hooked. Not to mention, Levitt would likely be well suited to a more general dialect, if we presumed that season 2 would skew away from the Louisiana setting of the first.
We know, we know, it’s ludicrous. We might have thought the same about Harrelson and McConaughey a few short years ago, but Harrison Ford is light-years beyond attainable for a TV budget. That said, the failure of ‘Ender’s Game’ serves as a hearty reminder that Ford hasn’t had a major box office draw in years, whatever role he takes in the new ‘Star Wars’ notwithstanding. ‘True Detective’ season 2 could prove exactly the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that puts some life back into Ford’s career, also providing the bottled lightning its first season captured in the first place. Admit it, you’d watch the hell out of that!
Scoff if you like, or point out that Damon skews a little too closely to the age range of ‘True Detective’’s first season, though we like that Damon at least has an HBO foothold from Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Behind the Candelabra.’ Lest we forget, Damon also has a TV history between HBO’s ‘Entourage’ and Showtime’s ‘House of Lies’ (both playing himself, granted), along with ’30 Rock.’ Add it all together, compounded by the buzz McConaughey’s career upswing has driven for ‘True Detective,’ and Matt Damon for season 2 isn’t so crazy, is it?