Rick Springfield Talks Playing Dr. Pitlor on True Detective


It’s ridiculously easy to forget that True Detective’s Dr. Pitlor is actually played by Rick Springfield. He’s just about unrecognizable in that smooth, orange-tinted skin. Whether or not he actually still has possession of said skin after Ray’s thrashing is up for debate; we haven’t actually seen Pitlor since Ray had a little “chat” with him.

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But Rick Springfield is alive and well, and recently sat down with The AC Club to discuss some of his acting roles. The interview is far-reaching, but the small bit about True Detective is particularly juicy. Spingfield goes into detail about how they transformed him into Dr. Pitlor:

"“They combed my hair and frayed it and put dots like I’d had a bad transplant. And they took tape and taped my temples and my jaw with elastic band to make it look like I had a bad face lift. And then they made me super, super tan, like fake tan, that kind of orange color."

“kind of orange” may be a bit of an understatement. Even though we might not see Pitlor again — he certainly wasn’t present in the preview for the finale — he left an impression. Springfield has played Pitlor perfectly, and we actually wish that we had seen more of him. Rick Springfield also had quite a time playing the good doctor. When asked if it was a fun role, he spoke of subverting expectations:

"“It was. I think playing against type, if you do it believably, it can be really effective and get much more notice than a tough guy playing a tough guy. I got sick of playing husbands and boyfriends because there was nothing there.”"

But the juiciest bit of all comes from the fact that True Detective didn’t reach out to Springfield for the role, there was actually a bit of campaigning:

"“No, actually my agent called up this brilliant casting woman; she does all the really great shows. And he said, “How about Rick Springfield for this True Detective part?” and she was like, “No.” Then he said, “Now that you got that out of your system, let me tell you about what he’s been doing.” And he told her about the movie and all this kind of stuff. She turned right around and she said, “Let him come in and we’ll see what he can do.”"

But even though they thought he was great in auction, he was still given a “no” because “it had been offered to some other actor and he had accepted.” This wasn’t for the role of Pitlor; Springfield only got that role after auditioning again. He doesn’t say what the original role was. If you’re a fan of Rick Springfield, we urge you to head to The AV Club and read the entire piece. You’d be surprised to see what sorts of roles he’s had over the years.

Next: Six examples of masculinity in True Detective.

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