Nic Pizzolatto Opens up about True Detective with Vanity Fair


A Nic Pizzolatto interview is a big deal. The man behind True Detective isn’t much for spotlight, and that has so far colored the production of True Detective. But now that we’re ten days away from True Detective’s second season premiere, it was about time for Pizzolatto to put himself out there once again.

More from HBO

Interviews about True Detective with the actors have been hit-or-miss. They aren’t allowed to say much, and so the interviews end up being a back and forth about how excited everyone else. Which isn’t bad, but it’s also not great reading.

Without spoiling anything, this new Vanity Fair interview was given while season was filming and goes over Nic Pizzolatto’s overall philosophy and how he works, as well as  True Detective’s second season. Variety spends the first few paragraphs describing the passion and drive that seem to fuel Nic Pizzolatto. For instance, Pizzolatto once stormed out of a session working on Showtime’s Magic City in a “cloud of expletives.”

Pizzolatto is an intense man, and that comes through in this interview. And he has definite ideas about what True Detective is actually about:

"The forced intimacy of two people sharing a car, the intimacy of connections you don’t get to decide. I write best about people whose souls are on the line. Whatever we mean when we use that word. I certainly don’t use it in a religious sense…We transpose meaning onto a possibly meaningless universe because meaning is personal. And that question of meaning or meaninglessness really becomes a question of: What do you love? Nothing? Then you’ve got a good shot at a meaningless existence.”"

That certainly sounds like that man who created Rust Cohle. Even though Pizzolatto is very private, he does seem to appreciate the fan attention that True Detective has gotten. But he also doesn’t understand why people would want more of the same:

"“It’s very flattering, that ‘#truedetectiveseason2’ thing people were doing with just two actors together and stuff..but why would I do another buddy-cop show? I think whatever I had to say about the buddy-cop genre I said. Do you really just want to see two stars riding around in a car talking?”"

We participated in some of that ourselves, but at the end of the day it’s difficult to disagree. Rust and Marty became beloved characters, but they don’t fit into what Pizzolatto wants to accomplish with True Detective. He’s not in it to write an evolving storyline with the same characters; he’s in it to write a pulp novel each season.

When pressed why he intends to keep the detective edge going when so much has changed, Pizzolatto made his intentions clear:

"“It puts you in everything…That’s why they’re great engines for stories. They go everywhere. A detective story is really just the way you tell a narrative—you start with the ending. At the end, this person is dead. Now I’m going to go back and piece together the story that led to it…. It’s about the final unknowability of any investigation.”"

That’s the vehicle that Nic Pizzolatto has chosen to tell his very character-driven story. And we can’t complain; its worked wonders so far. The rest of the piece is a fascinating look at Pizzolatto’s past and goes a bit into his novel, Galveston — which is set to become a film before long.

Any look at Nic Pizzolatto is a chance to learn something new. The man gives few interviews and is perhaps the driving force behind True Detective’s secrecy. You can read the entire, far-reaching piece over at Vanity Fair.

Thanks to Märcõ Brûn for the tip.

Next: T. Bone Burnett interviewed in Entertainment Weekly.

More from Show Snob