Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Oscars: Evaluating the Best Costume Design Nominees Oscars: Evaluating the Best Costume Design Nominees Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) A Letter to Michael B. Jordan A Letter to Michael B. Jordan Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' Top 10 Takeaways:  'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million Top 10 Takeaways: 'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Inside the Directors Guild Awards Inside the Directors Guild Awards Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt? What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt?

HBO Makes News at TV Critics Panel

Photo of Amy Dawes By Amy Dawes | Thompson on Hollywood January 9, 2014 at 10:05PM

HBO brought a raft of star power to the opening day of the winter Television Critics Press Tour (TCA) Thursday afternoon, presenting Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, stars of the brooding Louisiana-set crime series “True Detective,” which premieres Sunday, along with Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Taylor Kitsch from the cast of HBO movie “The Normal Heart” and quite a few others.
0
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in Nic Pizzolatto's "True Detective"
HBO Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in Nic Pizzolatto's "True Detective"

HBO brought a raft of star power to the opening day of the winter Television Critics Press Tour (TCA) Thursday afternoon, presenting Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, stars of the brooding Louisiana-set crime series “True Detective,” which premieres Sunday, along with Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Taylor Kitsch from the cast of HBO movie “The Normal Heart” and quite a few others.

The premium cable channel introduced five new series, a new high for an HBO session at the semi-annual gathering of the nation’s television press. It also announced a date “Game of Thrones” fans have been clamoring for – Sunday, April 6, when the Emmy-winning fantasy series will return for its fourth season.  The slate of new shows that will premiere now through summer includes two dramas, “True Detective” and “The Leftovers,” two scripted comedies, “Silicon Valley” and “Looking,” and a satiric, topical comedy sketch series starring John Oliver. Each will premiere between now and Summer. (Review here.)

Harrelson and McConaughey said the closed-end nature of “True Detective” –  eight episodes and done – made it easy for them to commit to a television project, even with busy film careers. “We didn’t know when we got the script, where it was going to land,” said McConaughey.  “I was just responding to quality. I read two episodes, and I said, ‘I’m in.’ It was like a 450-page film script, and it was finite – we didn’t have to be available to be back next year.” 

“Nic Pizzolato wrote a phenomenal script that you couldn’t put down,” added Harrelson.

The brooding, cinematic show, about two backwoods detectives caught up in investigating a bizarre murder, tells a story spanning 17 years. Asked how he pulled off that long arc as an actor, Harrelson got laughs when he said, “Uh, I just took off my wig.”

Pizzolatto, who worked on the writing staff of “The Killing” while waiting for “True Detective” to be mounted at HBO, said he favors the closed-end format. “I like a really good third act,” he says.  “I like the idea of telling a self-contained story.”  The saga came to him while he was steeped in police research for a novel.  “I started writing in the voice of Rust Cohle (McConaughey) first.  He just emerged fully formed.  I realized the story I wanted to tell was better suited to a tv show.”

Of the show’s off-the-beaten track setting in Louisiana’s backwoods and swamps, Pizzolatto said, “I think there’s an end-of-empire thing happening in places like that in America that is more interesting to me than the cities.”  

Next up was the live-action comedy “Silicon Valley” from executive producers Mike Judge (“Office Space” and “Beavis and Butthead” and Alec Berg. The show, which debuts in April, focuses on a group of young social misfit programmers. When one of them comes up with a potentially game-changing search algorithm, he’s caught in the middle of a ludicrous bidding war. “When we started doing the research, the craziest stuff we could think of was not half as crazy as what we actually found,” said Berg.  “At the same time, these guys really are changing the world, so we can’t just dump on them.”

This article is related to: Girls, Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham, HBO, HBO , HBO Films, True Detective, TV, TV News, TV Interviews, Television, Television


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH



Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.