“Yeah,” they said at the same time. But Harrelson said they didn’t use it for the HBO crime anthology, which finds the two as partners with a relationship that is strained at best. “We remain on two opposite sides of the gulf between us for so long.”
“With this project we didn’t use a lot of shorthand where we finish each other’s sentences and s—,” he said at a Television Critics Association panel about the much-anticipated show, which premieres Sunday. Michelle Monaghan also stars as the wife of Harrelson’s character, who also becomes close to McConaughey’s.
The actors played two detectives in 1995, as they investigate a string of murders, and in the modern-day, as they’re interviewed about a similar crime. The role requires each to play their characters about 15 years apart. How did they switch from playing young men to middle-aged ones?
“I just took off my wig,” joked Harrelson.
TheWrap asked McConaughey about his remarkable year, which included acclaimed roles in “Mud,” “Dallas Buyers’ Club” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and now “True Detective.” He said he had shot the projects far apart, but they all came out within the same 12-month period.
“I haven’t really thought about it as a ‘year,'” he said. “I haven’t really been looking in the rear-view mirror for a while, and I hope I don’t. This is nice to talk about but I’m in no way in a retrospective mode.”
Monaghan offered a small spoiler about her character, a source of some of the conflict between the men: “Both of the men make the mistake of underestimating her as the season progresses,” she said.
McConaughey and Harrelson said they didn’t think twice about doing a TV show while their film careers are going strong.
“All I knew when I read the first two episodes is, I was in,” McConaughey said. “It was a 450 page film, is what it was.”
Harrelson previously appeared in HBO’s “Game Change.”
“There’s just no finer organization making amazing stuff like HBO,” he said.
The show, written by novelist and former “The Killing” staff writer Nic Pizzolatto, is an anthology that will offer a new story, character and locations each season. Harrelson jokingly raised the question of whether any of the actors might return.
“We’ll talk later,” said Pizzolatto.
Pizzolato was hired on “The Killing” after it famously infuriated some viewers by failing to solve Rosie Larsen’s murder in its first season. He said “The Killing” didn’t inform “True Detective,” because he devised the story before joining the AMC drama.
But he promised that because each season of “True Detective” is self-contained, the first season will come to a decisive conclusion.