Why Vince Vaughn is a good choice for True Detective Season 2
Ivan Radford | On 24, Sep 2014
Vince Vaughn has been confirmed by HBO as one of the lead stars for True Detective alongside Colin Farrell.
The second season of the series, which will be directed by Justin Lin (well, the first two episodes), will follow on from this year’s procedural thriller, which wowed audiences with its blend of unsettling drama, nasty violence, complex characters and blockbuster cast list.
Creator Nic Pizzolatto has already scripted the eight-episode series, which is filming this autumn. The plot will, Deadline reports, involve “three police officers and a career criminal [navigating] a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder”.
Colin Farrell will play one of the cops, Ray Velcoro, “a compromised detective whose allegiances are torn between his masters in a corrupt police department and the mobster who owns him”, while Vaughn will play Frank Semyon, a career criminal “in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner”.
Taylor Kitsch is rumoured to be considered for the role of a second cop, while the third lead is thought to be played by Ani Bezzerides, although a wave of female stars (including Kelly Reilly, Jessica Biel and Brit Marling) have been invited to read for the show.
More mystery, more women and more names you’d expect to see lit up at a local multiplex. So why are people wary of True Detective Season 2? Two words: Vince Vaughn.
The actor, who once dazzled in Swingers back in 1996, has lost his credibility repeatedly over the years, thanks to a string of roles in formulaic rom-coms and bromances which essentially saw him play Vince Vaughn. He’s the Adam Sandler of People Who Aren’t Adam Sandler.
Ring any bells? The parallels with Matthew McConaughey are easy to see – and the star’s turnaround, from Failure to Launch all the way to the Oscars for Dallas Buyers Club, paved the way for his blinding turn in True Detective Season 1.
Without a similar career pattern, though, nobody expects the same from Vince – but that doesn’t mean he can’t do it. Look past the generic performances and lazy choices and you can see an actor looking for something different. Vaughn had a small part in 2008’s Into the Wild, which he acquitted well, and even popped up in Mike Mills’ Thumbsucker recently, neither of them jobs that would have brought a big paycheck with them.
It is back in the 1990s, though, that he made his big gamble: off the back of Doug Liman’s critical hit, he signed on to Gus Van Sant’s 1998 Psycho. The shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock’s classic was a strange exercise, one widely considered to be pointless. One point, though, was to showcase Vince Vaughn as the kind of actor who would be willing to play the disturbed Norman Bates – and introduce a controversial moment of self-pleasure while watching Anne Heche’s Marion Crane in the shower.
The response was disastrous and, despite appearing in Clay Pigeons opposite Joaquin Phoenix and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, it was only when he fell in with Old School and Will Ferrell that Vince found audience popularity. That pattern became habit, as he kept going back to same well to draw popularity and hefty profits.
Nonetheless, there are still directors who remember his serious side. David O’Russell was originally going to cast him in Silver Linings Playbook.
“I was thinking of Vince Vaughn and Zooey Deschanel you know because I really liked both of them,” he told IndieWire, “but it didn’t come together at that time. Vince was a fan of the script.”
The part eventually went to Bradley Cooper. A similar thing happened with 2 Guns, with O’Russell again hoping to cast Vaughn, before the action comedy was made by Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington.
If O’Russell, one of the best actor-focussed directors around, values Vince as a performer, then that potential shouldn’t be snubbed. Typecasting doesn’t define the limit to someone’s talent. Don’t forget that Adam Sandler did Punch-Drunk Love, or Robin Williams did One Hour Photo. Only this summer did Martin Freeman take to London’s West End in Richard III to justify his surprisingly brilliant casting as the evil king.
In post-production right now, meanwhile, is Term Life, a serious thriller from Peter Billingsley starring Hailee Steinfeld, Bill Paxton and Jon Favreau – and, yes, Vaughn, who produced the film too.
Back in 1998, Vaughn impressed in Van Sant’s colour motel with his nervous, edgy presence; the flipside to the hyperactive manchild now so familiar to comedy fans. Accompanied by Colin Farrell – a performer who has had his own ups and downs (*cough* Daredevil *cough*) but proven his dramatic skills – the idea of Vince taking that guy out of the box once again for True Detective Season 2 isn’t disappointing or even worrying; it’s exciting.
We’ve had the McConaughaissance. Maybe it’s time for the Vaughnaissance?
True Detective Season 1 and 2 are available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW, for £9.99 a month, with no contract and a 7-day free trial.
Where can I buy or rent True Detective online in the UK?