By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 11, 2014 at 1:20PM
Well, the most-talked about TV drama since "Breaking Bad" is done for the moment, with the eighth episode of "True Detective" airing on HBO Sunday night, providing closure on the Yellow King and the spread of the conspiracy (catch up with our recap of the final part here). For the last couple of months, the internet has been abuzz with theories, arguments and think-pieces: whatever you think of Nic Pizzolatto's show, there's no denying that it provided an awful lot to chew on.
So now begins the look ahead to the inevitably, but still not yet official Season Two, and the early word right now is that when the show does return, it'll be something quite different. Though Pizzolatto will stay involved, stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson won't be returning, and director Cary Fukunaga won't be helming either. And while the #TrueDetectiveSeasonTwo hashtag has been a fun game in terms of suggesting potential casting, what we're really interested in, given what a huge effect he had on the show, is who'll be stepping behind the camera.
Pizzolatto has indicated that it's unlikely that a single helmer will handle all episodes of the second season this time, if only for practical reasons, to prevent the show having to wait for all photography to finish before post-production can begin. But we still suspect we'll be seeing a biggish name behind the camera -- with a new cast, setting and aesthetic to establish, it'd be useful to have another visionary on board, whether only for the pilot, or for a bulk of episodes (a la Jane Campion on "Top Of The Lake," who split duties evenly with trusted lieutenant Garth Davis). The writer also indicated in a sit-down with Hitfix that he's heading into the second season realizing that "I need to keep being strange." And while he's still establishing the story, Pizzolatto has revealed that it'll be about "hard women, bad men, and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system," having previously hinted to Buzzfeed that he'd been "reading about the last 40 years of Southern California government."
And it's certainly true that, with Fukunaga having pretty much landed on the A-list straight from a TV series, all kinds of people could be interested in a second season of the show, from hotshots on the rise like him, to veterans who could use a career boost. Below, we've picked out five filmmakers who we'd like to see be involved in bringing "True Detective" Season Two to life. Add your own suggestions in the comments section.
Who? Probably the least-well known name on this list, Saulnier came through on the independent horror scene thanks to 2007's "Murder Party," and had gone on to work as a DP for other lo-fi features like "Putty Hill." But the young filmmaker really made an impact when his second feature as director, "Blue Ruin," debuted at Cannes last year. The film, a gritty, blood-splattered twist on the revenge movie, has since gone on to screen at TIFF, Fantastic Fest and Sundance, among others, picking up rave reviews pretty much everywhere it's gone (read our own here).
Why? Saulnier is about at the same point of his career as Fukunaga was pre-"True Detective," if not earlier, and involvement with the show could help boost him into the bigger leagues. But more importantly, anyone who's seen "Blue Ruin," or even glimpsed a trailer, knows that he's got a remarkably strong sense for both suspense and atmosphere, which are arguably the two most important things that Fukunaga brought to the show, and certainly two of the things we'd most miss moving forward. There's also a wry sense of comedy to the film that fits in nicely with Pizzolatto's tone. Saulnier doesn't currently appear to have a new project firmly lined up, either, so he might well be available.
Why Not? The leap from micro-budget indie to gruelling, lengthy TV shoot is a big one -- Fukunaga at least had two features under his belt before he made the show. The cast of "Blue Ruin" are also mostly made up of lesser-known actors or Saulnier's friends, and with big stars likely being courted for the show, we wouldn't be surprised if they wanted a more established figure to work with.
Fantasy Cast: "Blue Ruin" star Macon Blair, and "Crystal Fairy" actress Gaby Hoffman as a pair of Brooklyn detectives/performance artists, who must catch a serial killer without selling out to the man.
Who? Oh, come on, guys. Admittedly it's four decades or so since William Friedkin was at his peak, but surely making "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist" back to back buys you some name recognition. Those two films remain Friedkin's best known, but there's some gems elsewhere: 1977's "Sorceror," the terrific 80s cop movie "To Live And Die In L.A," the more problematic, but still interesting "Cruising," and, most recently, Tracy Letts adaptations "Bug" and "Killer Joe" (the latter of which was part of the McConaissance).
Why? It's hard enough to find a filmmaker who made one great cop movie, but Friedkin has made two (or even two-and-a-half, counting "Cruising"). Forty-plus years on, "The French Connection" remains an absolute high watermark of the genre, and while "To Live And Die In L.A." is less famous, and a little less evergreen, it's almost as great. And with "The Exorcist" still standing as one of the most terrifying films ever made, a background of police procedural and horror would seem to be perfect for more "True Detective." It's true that Friedkin was off his game for a long time, but the Southern Gothic stylings of "Bug" and "Killer Joe" have seen him back on form in a big way. Friedkin isn't above working on the small screen—the lean years saw him direct a number of things for TV, including a few episodes of "C.S.I," and he's attached to make a Mae West biopic with Bette Midler at HBO, so already has an in there.
Why Not? Friedkin might be on the comeback trail, but "Killer Joe" was nearly three years ago, and it took a while for a follow-up to get set up, and he's yet to have a feature follow-up. That said, he seems to have a relationship with HBO, but that in itself causes a problem: depending on when "Mae West" shoots, it could rule him out. Also, not to be too ageist, but even if Friedkin was to direct only half the series, that's still quite a punishing shoot for a 78-year-old. That said, we don't see that as a major stumbling block, and would love to see this happen.
Fantasy Cast: Crossover time! Popeye Doyle (a reluctantly pulled-from-retirement Gene Hackman) and a back-from-the-dead Richard Chance from "To Live And Die In L.A" (William Petersen) team up to take down the demon Pazazu (Linda Blair).