Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

5 Directors We Want To See Tackle 'True Detective' Season 2

by Oliver Lyttelton
March 11, 2014 1:20 PM
  • |

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.

Jeremy Saulnier
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).
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.

William Friedkin
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). 
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).

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    


  • James Franco | April 4, 2014 7:06 PMReply

    Are you kidding me? You mention Spike Lee (who's films are primarily based on race wars) but not the king of this genre, David Lynch. Without a doubt, David should direct the next season.

  • bob | March 29, 2014 9:23 PMReply

    Shane Meadows, or "This Is England"!!!!

  • christopher bee | March 19, 2014 1:07 PMReply

    As German i´ll throw in the ring:
    Werner Herzog (we all know his credentials), Tim Fehlbaum (made the excellent SciFi Movie "Hell") and Michael Haneke (2 times Oscar Nominee).
    ... and please give Bear Mccreary another chance to shine as composer.

  • tomincmh | March 17, 2014 5:36 PMReply

    No matter who they got to direct, it'd be awesome if they could somehow snag Roger Deakins to do the cinematography.

  • Jeremy | March 14, 2014 4:46 PMReply

    Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners). Had some issues but a moody atmospheric film that would be a good match for True Detective

  • Ned ludd | March 29, 2014 7:12 PM

    Agreed very similar in tone

  • Stephen B | March 14, 2014 3:45 PMReply

    David Michod (Animal Kingdom) is my pick.

  • Eddie | March 13, 2014 11:01 PMReply

    What about Adrian Lyne? Jacob's Ladder? Fatal Attraction? That would be an awesome pick in my opinion.

  • Dana | March 13, 2014 10:32 PMReply

    Two big stars changing out each season in different cities or towns, solving one ominous case. Anything other than that would be disappointing after the performance that Woody and Mathew provided. Any way it goes. Thanks for the Entertainment!

  • snikko | March 13, 2014 4:47 AMReply

    Without a doubt Werner Herzog

  • Dax | March 13, 2014 1:44 AMReply

    God how I would love to see Denzel and Ryan Gosling playing detectives chasing after a sadistic Daniel Day Lewis with Leo DiCaprio playing a father of a murder victim in a few episodes and directed by...Ridley Scott!

  • Oscar | April 14, 2014 3:42 PM

    Denzel with his rather loud and emotive charisma and Gosling with his intense and quite steal-the-scene kind of charisma would be an extremely interesting match. I loved your comment until you mentioned Ridley Scott. The guy hasn't made anything even close to resembling a great film in close to 15 years and at this point I wouldn't trust him to direct a Teletubbies-movie.

  • OGF | March 12, 2014 10:01 PMReply

    God, why is it this amazing series attracts all of the dumbest f*cking lists like this?

    Kimberely Pierce would turn it into a lesbian thing. Spike Lee would turn it into a black thing.

    You need someone scary like Friedkin. My dream choices would be Nicolas Winding Refn, Darren Aronofsky, Ben Wheatley or Chan-Wook Park.

  • bowma00s | March 12, 2014 9:40 PMReply

    Haven't heard anyone say, that what made this series the BEST ON TV was Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. They burled everything image you ever had of them. You'll never get that again. The "True Dtectives" are Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson period. Take a poll and see........ You can take any director they are just one very small part. You still have to believe the performance.

  • catfips | March 12, 2014 5:04 PMReply

    Jeff Nichols would be superb!

  • Unknown | March 12, 2014 4:10 PMReply

    Park Chan-wook has to direct season 2. That will be so awesome.

  • Tennessee3501 | March 12, 2014 3:55 PMReply

    I would love to see Kristin Whig direct next year's mini-series in which Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy bring the entire Tuttle family to justice. Louisiana has not had an experience like that since Hurricane Katrina! (LOL!).

  • Albert | March 12, 2014 12:10 PMReply

    While I love Boys Don't Cry, one of the reasons Kimberley Peirce has such trouble finding work, and will not be in the mix for season two, is because she has a reputation for being incredibly difficult to work with. Ask any industry insider, they will tell you the same thing. Not a bad person, but unprofessional

  • Insider | March 12, 2014 11:48 AMReply

    Fincher will NEVER happen folks - great as he would be. The show is produced by Steve Golin and Anonymous Content, Fincher's former partner and company. There's bad blood now between them since Fincher left to start Reset and took half his directors with him.

    Allen Coulter would be my pick. Look him up.

  • Mike Crew | March 12, 2014 11:35 AMReply

    Two young directors to look out for is Anthony Hemingway and Ryan Coogler. Let me start with Hemingway. He was the director on the film "Red Tails" which was financed and produced by George Lucas (Stars Wars). He has experience directing other TV shows like "Black Donnelys'." Then there is Coogler who just out of film school wrote and directed in my opinion the best film of 2013 "Fruitvale Station." I would love to see him take on a episode or two of "True Detective." I think both of these young men are very talented and deserve a chance to take on this incredible show. You never know they may get hired on permanently.

  • Ippokratis | March 12, 2014 11:11 AMReply

    easy: Lars Von Trier

  • Donna | March 12, 2014 7:52 AMReply


  • Phil | March 15, 2014 10:06 AM

    Donna, I totally agree with you. The panoramic shots of the natural environment, and the shots of the industrial areas in combination with the intensity, at times, of the music presented, in my opinion, an image of an area - a landscape, that was hauntingly beautiful, sparse, and somewhat lonely; a landscape that was hiding so many horrific secrets!

  • taim | March 13, 2014 4:16 PM

    the "show" has just a few episodes, don't call it the best show ever.

  • JP Fitch | March 12, 2014 5:52 AMReply


  • Ds | March 12, 2014 4:29 AMReply

    Tony Kaye

  • Daniel | March 12, 2014 1:06 AMReply

    or Ben Wheatley

  • Daniel | March 12, 2014 1:05 AMReply

    denis villeneuve

  • WolfSheep | March 11, 2014 10:47 PMReply

    It's definitely not ageist to show concern about a nearly 80 year old person directing any film, however I've worked with dozens of directors--from the youngest indie sprite to the most seasoned vets, including Friedkin--and that man has twice the energy and fortitude of anyone I've ever met. He would knock "True Detective" out of the park.

  • J.P. | March 11, 2014 8:58 PMReply

    Rian Johnson.

  • T | March 13, 2014 1:56 AM

    Was hoping someone would say that. His directing style is right up this shows ally.

  • DUDDI | March 11, 2014 8:42 PMReply

    Two words: "Master Herzog". (Werner Herzog)

  • Chaws | March 11, 2014 7:04 PMReply

    Am I the only one who thinks the DP is just as, if not more important than who's directing? Especially if they're going to have at least two directors next season. I'd love to see Michael Slovis or in a dream world someone like Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki, Robert Elswit, Rodrigo Prieto, Robert Elswit involved.

  • Ben | March 11, 2014 10:52 PM

    How about Robert Elswit?

  • Chaws | March 11, 2014 6:55 PMReply

    It's surprising to me that the article and the comments have yet to mention Alejandro González Iñárritu who was originally attached to direct season one. I'm sure he's kicking himself for not following through with that now.

  • ETT | March 11, 2014 5:56 PMReply

    I'd watch that Spike Lee series right freaking now.

    The Kimberly Peirce one, too, if they cast Alfre Woodard as the chief of police.

  • Angela | March 12, 2014 2:00 AM

    Alfre Woodard would be brilliant. And then add in Viola Davis and Melissa Leo? I'm so there. Have to say I love the Kimberly Peirce suggestion the most.

  • Mads Hatter | March 11, 2014 4:32 PMReply

    Clark Johnson

  • Drangus | March 11, 2014 4:22 PMReply

    I'd love to see Derek Cianfrance tackle a show like this. Starring Kenneth Branagh and Mark Strong.

  • Jeb | March 11, 2014 4:16 PMReply

    The Sam Shepard/Don Johnson team up is utter brilliance.

  • Corey | March 11, 2014 4:15 PMReply

    Suprised nobody has put David Fincher up here

  • James | March 11, 2014 3:59 PMReply

    My #1 pick is Kim Nguyen (Rebelle AKA War Witch)

  • Andreol | March 11, 2014 3:48 PMReply

    Mary Harron

  • Elsa | March 11, 2014 3:30 PMReply

    a woman (Kimberly Pierce) doesn't need to be included JUST because there were arguments of misogyny in the first season. More women could have been on this list for the fact that they are excellent and should have a shot.

  • Angela | March 12, 2014 2:07 AM

    I was going to say that too. I completely forgot about Debra Granik until seeing her name in these comments, but now that others have mentioned her, she'd be perfect for True Detective. I want a season set in the Ozarks or really just anywhere in the rural Midwest so badly now.

  • ETT | March 11, 2014 5:46 PM

    Very well said. I do like what the writer sees in Kimberly Peirce, though, and the approach that she took with the major themes in Carrie. She'd definitely be an interesting choice - I'm not sure about the Top of the Lake comparisons, though, maybe because I was drawn to different things in Top of the Lake and True Detective.

  • That Kid | March 11, 2014 3:16 PMReply

    If they're looking at someone like Cary Fukunaga the I think Sean Durkin would be perfect if a bit obvious ("Martha Marcy May Marlene" has a few similarities). Dee Rees ("Pariah"), Bennett Miller, David Lowery ("Ain't Them Bodies Saints"), Mark Romanek ("One Hour Photo"), and Juan Antonio Bayona would also fit. Love the Debra Granik suggestion.

  • Slen | March 11, 2014 3:23 PM

    It makes sense to choose a female director if the characters are going to be female. And my choice still stands for Granik.
    If not, maybe Patty Jenkins. She's been playing it low for a while and I think this is a project perfect for her.

  • Tommy | March 11, 2014 3:13 PMReply

    Get Vince Gilligan up in here.

  • Chaws | March 11, 2014 6:54 PM

    Or a better Breaking Bad director like Michelle Maclaren (who's been doing Game of Thrones episodes lately.) You can bring it Michael Slovis to be the D.P. as well.

  • tristan eldritch | March 11, 2014 2:44 PMReply

    I'd like to see Mann or Ben Wheatley take a crack at it.

  • James | March 11, 2014 2:34 PMReply

    DAVID LYNCH!!! Please let that happen

  • Slen | March 11, 2014 2:31 PMReply

    Friedkin! Hell yeah. He gets my vote.
    Someone mentioned Romanek and I'd like to see him do something. Anything.

    I'd say Debra Granik. Someone who can focus more on character than visuals.

  • cattt | March 11, 2014 2:25 PMReply

    Steven Soderbergh gets my vote. He's already told how he likes TV better than films nowadays. He's also capable of directing the whole thing by himself, he's done epic productions fast before (Traffic, Che).
    Soderbergh also works well with other people's scripts (Traffic, The Limey, Haywire, Side Effects). You couldn't hire someone like Lynch, Coens or Tarantino because they'd want to write the script too.

  • cattt | March 11, 2014 2:28 PM

    I'll add this: Tobias Lindholm would be a great choice. R and A Hijacking are gritty, brutal and realistic thrillers. That tone would be good for True Detective. He's also good with actors.

  • ysr | March 11, 2014 2:22 PMReply

    Adam McKay! Then have Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly co-star in drag

  • Carlos Andres | March 11, 2014 2:14 PMReply

    I like to see Kim Jee-woon(I Saw the Devil), Joon-ho Bong (Memories of Murder, Snowpiercer ) or the german master Michael Haneke

  • bohmer | March 11, 2014 2:12 PMReply

    How about David Lynch...Lynne Ramsay, Michelle Maclaren, David Lowery, Shane Carruth...

  • boo | April 2, 2014 12:28 AM

    Lynne Ramsey would be AMAZING

  • JJ | March 11, 2014 2:16 PM

    Totally agree with all of these. LYNCH would be AMAZING.

  • AddictedAICN | March 11, 2014 2:01 PMReply

    How about Mark Romanek? He's done TV before, and is a great director (Never Let Me Go ended up tied with Black Swan for my #1 of 2010).

Email Updates