Acclaimed crime drama True Detective returns with a new cast, macabre case and evocative setting…
monday, Sky atlantic Hd, 9pm
WHEN THE FIRST season of crime anthology True Detective hit our screens, it was instantly hailed for its searing portrayal of two flawed detectives investigating child abuse and murder in the swamplands of Louisiana over a period of 17 years.
Quite rightly, the drama picked up a BAFTA for Best International Programme, while its leading men, Matthew Mcconaughey and Woody Harrelson, both received Emmy nominations for Best Actor (though they lost out to Breaking
Bad’s Bryan Cranston).
Although season two – starring Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in a story of vice and corruption in California – didn’t scale the same heights, there are high expectations of the third instalment, which begins with a double bill on Sky Atlantic this week, as it returns to the winning formula of season one.
Created by writer-producer
Nic Pizzolatto, the eight-part series features multiple timelines and follows Arkansas detective Wayne Hays, who’s played by Oscarwinner Mahershala Ali, as he investigates a macabre case involving two missing children in the 1980s, with the mystery playing out over three decades.
The series is set in the Ozarks, a mountainous region that spreads over Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and Pizzolatto says the backdrop is vital to the drama.
‘Having lived in the Ozarks for four years, I know the area to be extremely evocative, and I wanted to film there for a long time,’ he says. ‘I realise that Netflix drama
Ozark is set in the region, but it’s actually filmed elsewhere, so this
was our chance to show the place to the world – a bit like we did with Louisiana in season one.
‘I always feel that landscape is a character in its own right. It reflects and influences the human characters. Every place tells a story about the people who are there and who have been there, and there is something very powerful about the Ozarks, with the mystery of the deep-water lakes, and the fog over the mountains.’
Tv&satellite Week met up with Ali, 44, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for
Moonlight, to learn more…
WHAT IS IT ABOUT True Detective
THAT HAS CAPTURED THE IMAGINATION OF VIEWERS?
I’ve always loved the pace of the show, its dark tone, and how the mystery unfolds very slowly and very deliberately. To me, each series feels like an eight-hour movie. And I love the fact that Nic Pizzolatto is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter.
IS IT TRUE YOU GOT THE ROLE IN AN UNUSUAL WAY?
After I watched the first season, I thought, ‘I would love to be one of those cops.’ Then I read the script for season three and asked Nic if I could play the part of Wayne. I sent him some pictures of my grandfather, who was a state police officer in California in the 1960s and 1970s. I wanted to show him how good I felt the story could be if that character was African-american. He responded really positively.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE PLAYING A DETECTIVE?
I’ve always wanted to play a detective. I’ve always wanted to play a guy who has the ability to stick to a mystery and really work to solve it slowly and meticulously. At one point, there was the chance of starring in a possible US remake of
Luther, but nothing materialised. So to have an opportunity to do this is really incredible.
WE SEE WAYNE AT VARIOUS STAGES OF LIFE. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO AGE YOU?
In terms of the make-up, I had to be on set four or five hours before everyone else started – and then you work your 12-hour day. Also, throughout the day, they had to touch up the make-up a lot between scenes. There was always a paintbrush in my face.
DID THE MAKE-UP HELP YOUR PERFORMANCE?
I felt restricted in some ways, but at a certain point it becomes a part of you. When I put on the heavy suit and all the make-up and all the different pieces, it definitely helped to inform the performance.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE ON THE SHOW?
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I think it aged me. I certainly feel older. I have several more grey hairs now – but it was worth it. The finale of the show is amazing. I hope it really resonates with people, because I think Nic has done something special.
YOU WERE FAMOUSLY INVOLVED IN THE 2017 OSCAR MIX-UP WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED La La Land
AS BEST PICTURE INSTEAD OF
Moonlight. HOW DID THAT FEEL?
Our feelings were very mixed, because our joy felt like we were taking something away from someone else – especially because they were in the middle of their celebration. I felt bad for them, but I also felt good that we won and I was happy to be recognised.
Moonlight is an extraordinarily special film that will stand the test of time, but it was a confusing moment, for sure.
WHERE DO YOU KEEP YOUR OSCAR?
It’s bubble-wrapped right now.
I’ve just moved house and I haven’t put it out yet.
HOW MUCH HAS IT HELPED TO RAISE YOUR PROFILE IN HOLLYWOOD?
Now, when I step on a red carpet, the cameras keep flashing a little longer. In the past, I remember so many times where I’d get on the red carpet and the cameras would stop when I walked past, whereas for someone like Julia Roberts, there would be flashes everywhere. But a lot of people have experienced that.
‘I love how the mystery unfolds very slowly and very deliberately’
MAHERSHALA ALI HEADS UP THE NEW CAST
MAHERSHALA ALI AS WAYNE AMELIA (CARMEN EJOGO) IS LINKED TO THEMISSING CHILDREN STEPHEN DORFF PLAYS WAYNE’S PARTNER, ROLAND