True Detective’s Propmaster, Lynda Reiss, Answered those HBO Connect Questions


In what was an unprecedented move at the time, a few weeks back True Detective opened up its doors to fan questions. These questions could be submitted through HBO’s HBO Connect website, a currently in beta portal that presumably will offer fans the chance to “connect” with the creators behind various HBO shows. True Detective’s creator Nic Pizzolatto also took questions on HBO Connect not too long ago, in what has turned out to be one of his best and most candid interviews.

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Lynda Reiss, True Detective’s Propmaster, has taken the time to answer those submitted questions. Once again, it’s a surprisingly pleasant and open experience. When asked what the hardest prop to design was, Reiss lists the nail gun from season two. It’s interesting how such a common item could turn out to be a bit of a problem for a prop designer.

Reiss says that “there was a lot of discussion as to what it was not to be, and from there I had to build something that would work, and be realistic to the audience.”

It turns out that Ani’s knife setup also required quite a bit of time and research:

"“I did a lot of research into the knives and knife fighting. We took a while to decide on which knife discipline Ani would follow, with input from [showrunner] Nic [Pizzolatto] and the knife trainer.Even though it wasn’t scripted, I found the belt knife and took it to Nic and Alix [Friedberg], the costume designer. They both loved it, and we used it in the show…One of my assistants is a knife fighter, and he had a great time aging him up. We had training knives, rubber knives and a knife for Ani’s mom up on her knife board.”"

Unfortunately we don’t actually get to see al that much of Ani’s knife work in True Detective, but all the props still had to be meticulously crafted. Fans have also probably noticed that there are many hints and “easter eggs,” so to speak, strewn about True Detective. Reiss worked very closely with Pizzolatto to get all that right:

"“I work very closely with Nic. He will give me the backstory or additional information to help me flesh out the props, and he’s the final word on what we will use. Luckily, he always knows exactly what he wants and is able to pass that information on quickly and easily. Nic has laid the groundwork with the narrative in the script and its up to me to help move that forward with my props.”"

That’s almost enough to prompt a re-watch of season two just to take time to look around  little more. To close out the Q&A, Reiss talks about the most difficult prop to build. Turns out it was Cohle’s locker in season one. You know, the space where he, uh, let his freak flag fly:

"“I had to become Cohle and lock myself in that storage locker for about three days to create the space. I had spent weeks researching and creating every piece of paper that you see in that room. It was the most difficult set, but also my best.”"

You can read the entire Q&A over at HBO Connect, something we highly recommend doing. Lynda Reiss also talks about how she became interest in prop work, how import it is to be obsessed with detail, and other bits of shop talk. There’s also a nice little photo category to get a closer look at some of her props.

HBO Connect has seriously come through for True Detective fans so far. Hopefully it will remain a valuable resource going forward.

Next: It was only a matter of time: True Detective's Awkward Detective returns.

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