The TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY Team on Bringing a Fresh Take to the Franchise - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

The TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY Team on Bringing a Fresh Take to the Franchise

January 14, 2024 by  

True Detective Night Country preview

True Detective: Night Country | Jodie Foster, Kali Reis. (Photo credit: HBO)

TRUE DETECTIVE returns with a new showrunner/director (Issa López), location (Alaska), and stars (Jodie Foster and Kali Reis) for its latest chapter, NIGHT COUNTRY.

“When HBO approached me…with the question of what would I do with TRUE DETECTIVE, I immediately thought, ‘I have no f—ing idea,’” López told reporters during a panel for the series. “But I said, ‘I have ideas.’”

López recalled thinking back to the first season of TRUE DETECTIVE and the way it “hit us all so hard.” “And I thought it was the atmosphere,” she said. “There was something about that goth, Southern gothic that stayed with us. Something about these two characters that are so different, in this world that was in itself a third character. This goths of America, in a way, this endless landscape where anything can happen. And I kept those character [parallels]. I kept the landscape. I kept that corner of America that we don’t often see.”

For her take, “I just turn[ed] it on its head and I created these two female characters, who are so different, trying to solve this very, very eerie crime in the backdrop of this endless landscape, a character in itself,” López said. “And NIGHT COUNTRY was born.”

In the new series, eight men—who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station—vanish…with no hints of where they went or what happened to them. Detectives Liz Danvers (Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Reis) are brought in to find out what transpired.

“Being able to read the story that Issa created…I wanted to know what happened next,” Reis said. “I’m learning that if I enjoy it as a fan, of course, if I have a chance to be a part of it, why not?”

“And I kind of got [to] meet Navarro, not create Navarro,” she continued. “Because both Danvers and Navarro, Issa has created these characters that are so intriguing and to have so many layers, that it was great to see on paper and then imagine in my head and also be a part of the creation process and have my character be revealed to me. And then have Danvers be revealed as well and just kind of see them dancing in these circumstances together.”

True Detective Night Country preview

Showrunner/Writer/Director/ EP Issa López on the set of True Detective: Night Country. (Photo credit: HBO)

Foster acknowledged she said “some scary things” about the script during her first meeting with López, pointing to things that didn’t work for her.

“The two characters that I had written originally, one was an absolute badass and the other one was a woman on the verge of breaking down, not holding it together,” López shared. “Because she’s been trying too hard for too long to keep it together. And they were perfect opposites. And I sat down in front of Jodie and she had really loved the script—I will say that she said very beautiful things—but then the first ‘nasty’ thing she said was, this is beautiful and it’s great and you’re moving and she’s honest. She absolutely doesn’t bulls—t you, which I learned very fast. Because the next question was, ‘I don’t see myself in this though.’ And I went, ‘Why?’”

“And she said, ‘I just like strong women,” López continued. “And we started speaking of who this woman could be. ‘Cause I didn’t want to change my script; I believed in [the] two characters I had. However, she started speaking of a character so full of flaws. And when I finished listening to that, I looked at her and I said, so you want her to be an a——-e? And she laughed and she said, ‘Yeah.’ And I said I can do that. I like that. I understand that. And I went and I [wrote] an a——-e.”

López called Danvers “a beautiful a——-e with a lot of hope in her heart.” But that tweak meant Navarro had to change, too. “[Navarro] had to become deeper and more soulful,” López shared. “And the script just became better. And this is what I’ve learned throughout the entire process, and working with Jodie and Kali is: Every time that you receive a good note is an opportunity to completely overhaul and take the story to [the] next level.”

When Foster—who now calls López her “favorite director I’ve ever worked with”—read the revised script, “it was just amazing to see a brand-new character emerge that was more than I could have ever hoped for or anticipated,” she said. “And that I think really helps the dynamic between Danvers and Navarro.”


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