‘True Detective’ Comes Closer to Solving Its Women Problem

True Detective

Source: HBO

Which actress will be the female lead in season two of True Detective has been one of the most talked about rumors in Hollywood since it was revealed that one of the lead roles of the critically acclaimed show’s second season would go to a woman. Now, TheWrap has learned that the show’s creator Nic Pizzolatto has asked seven different actresses to come and read for the part this week as the date the team is due to begin shooting gets closer. The female role is being described as a tough sheriff with a fondness for booze and gambling caused by a rough upbringing.

The first actress that was rumored for the coveted role was Jessica Chastain, but she has since denied being in the running for the role. Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss is the most recent actress rumored to be a favorite for the part. Though she wasn’t listed among TheWrap’s seven actresses that were invited to come read for Pizzolatto this week, the publication said that she’s definitely still in the running for the part. Rachel McAdams is another actress TheWrap said has been the subject of True Detective rumors that shouldn’t be counted out.

The actresses who received callbacks to read again include Jessica Biel, Malin Akerman, Rosario Dawson, Brit Marling (The East), Oona Chaplin (Game Of Thrones), Jaimie Alexander (Thor), and Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes). That group of actresses is hugely diverse in a variety of aspects, showing that perhaps Pizzolatto is looking for the actress that best understands the psyche of the character rather than having a particular appearance, race, or age for the part in mind.

Marling, Reilly, and Chaplin are all considered to be “the long-shots” as they are the least-known of those in the running for the part. Huge movie stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey starred in the first season of the show, something everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last six months knows, so a much more famous actress could be chosen for the part over an up-and-comer.

Akerman, Biel, and Alexander are considered to have better odds. Akerman is mostly known for sexy roles in movies like Rock of Ages and Watchmen, but TheWrap pointed out that she’s an actress with untapped potential. Alexander has shown she can play tough in the Thor movies, but that’s not exactly something that’s proven her to be a talented, serious actress. Biel is the best known of the seven actresses, but her most recent movies have been flops and she’s mostly been in the headlines for her celebrity marriage to Justin Timberlake.

TheWrap considers Rosario Dawson to be the favorite for the role. She’s certainly proven she can play tough as a dominatrix-prostitute-policewoman in Sin City and stars in the new Chris Rock movie Top Five, which is receiving raves on the festival circuit.

It seems the male roles for season two have been pretty much nailed down, with Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch, and Colin Farrell leading the cast. Most of the details about the plot of the second season of the anthology series are being kept very secret, but it is known that it will take place in some of the lesser known areas of California and focus on four central characters dealing with the murder of a corrupt city official who spearheaded a controversial transportation deal. Vaughn is set to be the main antagonist, a businessman-thug pushing for local government to make the deal go through. Farrell’s character is described as an unpredictable addict who works for Vaughn’s character. Kitsch’s role is of a young military vet with a dark past.

True Detective’s first season was the most talked about show of the last year, with incredible performances from stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The show was criticized, though, for excluding women. Michelle Monaghan gave a great performance as Harrelson’s long-suffering wife, but she was still relegated to the wifely role and we never really got to hear her story. “Wives and sluts and daughters — none with any interior life,” said The New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum of the women on True Detective. She goes on to say that the show “reeks of macho nonsense” and ultimately deemed the show boring because of it.

Pizzolatto has pushed back against that criticism, saying that the show was supposed to be told only through the eyes of his two male main characters. The women on the show were portrayed the way they were because they were being seen through Rust and Marty’s eyes, not because Pizzolatto was purposefully or unintentionally ignoring them. “You can either accept that about the show or not, but it’s not a phony excuse,” Pizzolatto told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not in the service business,” he went on to say.

It’s unlikely that Pizzolatto created the female lead role in season two to please his feminist detractors, but those very critics will be watching how he handles a female lead character closely. We should know within the next couple weeks which actress has landed the part.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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