Day One of TCAw14: True love

Harrelson and McConaughey flashback to ’95 in HBO’s True Detective

PASADENA–Now that was a busy first day of press tour. So many sessions at #TCAw14 and then there’s this new phenomenon of getting pitched eleventy-billion “one-on-ones” on the side–sometimes in other cities. It’s like being asked to text and drive.
Right now I’m typing this instead of running out into the hall and seeing if somebody can trick Justin Theroux into spilling on the true status of his relationship with Jennifer Aniston. Theroux stars on The Leftovers, which is a sentence no actor ever wants to read. The series is a dark and punishing drama with one great Gary Busey joke towards the end of the first hour.
HBO, with panels on six new shows, came charging in to the Langham ballroom with nothing but headliners: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson here for creepy-good True Detective (launching Sunday on HBO Canada), Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Taylor Kitsch, along with executive producer Ryan Murphy, promoting The Normal Heart; Mike Judge on his hilarious new tech comedy Silicon Valley (April 6, same day Game of Thrones returns), Theroux and exec producer Damon Lindoff here for Leftovers, Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and the rest of the Girls (back April 6) and The Daily Show‘s John Oliver, who gets his own comedy showcase on Sunday nights later this year.
More on the Girls session, which quickly went off the rails, in an upcoming post. HBO announced at the start of that session the series will be back for a fourth season. The room could not wait another year, it would seem, to turn on this show.
In the middle of it all I managed to squeeze out a story for The Canadian Press on True Detective; you can follow this link to it here. The series is Breaking Bad good.

That CP story was mainly based on an interview with director Cary Fukunaga in New York a month ago. McConaughey and Harrelson brought their star power to Thursday’s session with the two Texans delving into their own steady friendship.
McConaughey was asked about his big year in the wake of Dallas Buyers Club and other acclaimed feature film appearances. “Haven’t really been looking in the rear view mirror,” he said. These projects were really done over a year ago and he feels the buzz just seems to have more of a shelf life this season.
He said the unstrung Louisiana cop character he plays in True Detective was really just a guy trying to “keep his shit together. Every day he’s alive is another day of penance in this indentured servitude he calls life.”
The actor was originally approached to play Martin Hart, the part Harrelson wound up with. McConaughey says he read the script (by Nic Pazzolatto) and told the producers he’d rather play the arguably more F-ed up Rust Cohle, “but I got why they saw me in the other role.”
Woody seemed happy with the leftovers (not Theroux’s series. He might like that too, I simply do not know.)
Harrelson called McConaughey “an island” while filming “True Detective.” This brooding, sullen character is so unlike the real McConaughey, who Harrelson calls “one of the most gregarious, awesome guys I know.”
“Part of that complication helped,” says Harrelson, as the two friends had to play dudes who basically hate each other.
McConaughey agreed. “In comedy, we get on each others frequency,” he said, citing their appearances together dating back to EDTV. “This was something different. There was real opposition.”
McConaughey began to feel the oppressive opposition funny in and of itself “around episode three.” I may have to watch that one again.

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