"True Detective," a new anthology premiering on Sunday, pairs
Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson) to solve a
strange and grisly murder case that takes them deep into
Louisiana's dark, impoverished and drug-stricken underbelly.
The series spans 17 years, from the time the two detectives
begin investigating what appears to be a sadistic killing in
1995 up to 2012 when the case is reopened and each detective, in
very different places in their lives, is questioned by police.
"It's a whodunnit for the murder case, but what you're going to
see throughout is who these two guys are, and when you see them
in 2012, how the hell did they get there and what happened in
the interim," McConaughey told Reuters.
McConaughey, 44, who has forged a career with comedic roles that
capitalized on his Southern charm and good looks, said he found
a "clear identity" with his character Rust, an introverted and
obsessive investigator whom he called "an island of a man."
"He's not good with civilization in society. He doesn't know how
to have an improvised moment. He's not wired like that. He's not
trying to be antisocial. He's just a bit of an outlawed monk,"
Harrelson's Hart is more affable on the surface, but quickly the
cracks begin to show in his seemingly stable personal life as he
struggles to keep his marriage on track as the case takes both
him and Rust into treacherous territory.
McConaughey and Harrelson, 52, who previously teamed up on 1999
comedy "EDtv" and 2008's indie comedy "Surfer, Dude," said they
faced challenges in paring back their off-screen buddy chemistry
to portray the tense and restrained relationship between Rust
"We reciprocate, and that's part of the beauty of our
relationship. We add onto each other. We affirm each other...
but (in this show), we're not cozying up to each other,"
McConaughey said with Harrelson by his side in an interview
peppered with their own amusing side conversations.
Their prickly partnership only lasts for the eight episodes of
the first season. The series' next installment will feature a
different cast and story that have yet to be revealed.
[to top of second column]
TAKING A DARK TURN
"True Detective" marks yet another step for McConaughey into
heftier dramatic roles after years of lighter fare that included
goofball romantic comedies like "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days."
His darker, grittier projects include 2011's "Killer Joe" and
2012's "Mud." The actor has most recently gained critical
acclaim and lead acting award nominations at the Golden Globes
and Screen Actors Guild for his turn as homophobic drug-addict
AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroof in "Dallas Buyers Club."
The transition to darker projects coincides with McConaughey
settling down in his personal life, now married with three children.
"Having a family, I can definitely measure it as having given me
some courage in my career," he said.
While Harrelson became a household name as bartender Woody Boyd in
1980s TV sitcom "Cheers" and has moved between film and TV
throughout his career, "True Detective" marks McConaughey's first
major venture in television, which brought its own challenges to the
"It demanded more patience from me as an actor to say what are
the stages of my character," McConaughey said.
"This first stage in 1995, where Rust Cohle is very stoic, and
boiling underneath, I had to do that for over a month. And after a
month, I was getting antsy thinking 'Am I doing enough?'"
In the 17 years, McConaughey's Cohle undergoes a big transformation,
from a young clean-cut and determined man to a beer-swigging,
Harrelson, who last year alone alternated between indie drama "Out
of the Furnace," big budget franchise "The Hunger Games: Catching
Fire" and animated Thanksgiving film "Free Birds," said he wants to
leave the darker projects behind him.
"I love that Matthew is doing these dramas even though I think he's
one of the funniest guys I know, but 'Dallas Buyers Club', that was
one of the finest performances I've seen in years," Harrelson said.
"So it's great that he's doing it, but I'll let (him) do it because
I'm over it. I just want to do comedy."
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa
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