Nigel Bluck, Director of Photography, on the Troubles of Shooting True Detective Season Two


Season two of True Detective was shrouded in incredible levels of secrecy, even compared to season one. The directors for each episode were kept under wraps until the very last-minute, and even some of the actor’s weren’t privy to some of their character’s own backstories. Now that it’s over, information has been slowly leaking out. That’s where Nigel Bluck comes in, Director of Photography for True Detective season two.

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Stuff conducted a phone interview with Bluck that touches on a lot of the difficulties of shooting True Detective. Bluck apparently scored the gig after Scott Stephens, an Executive Producer on True Detective, saw his film, Son of a Gunn. Bluck said that he had a difficult time adjusting to the filming schedule:

"“I’d never done television before and I’d never worked with this multi-director format. I understand why it exists – so you can make eight television episodes in three-and-a-half months – but it created a tricky dynamic with people constantly coming and going. The saving grace was Justin Lin [Fast & Furious], who directed the first two episodes and so took on the biggest piece of pre-production, so at least I could talk to one person about what we knew about the upcoming season.”"

Justin Lin was the only director to take on two episodes of the season. It’s normal for shows to have a rotating stock of directors, but according to Cary Fukunaga that wasn’t originally the plan. Once again, however, it all goes back to secrecy:

"“We started shooting with only three scripts that I was privy too. It was hard not understanding the whole story and world before embarking on it, but I just dealt with that by embracing it, letting it unfold in front of me and rock ‘n’ rolling with that.”"

As frustrating as it can be for fans to be kept in the dark, it must be even worse for those actually working on the show. Fortunately Bluck says that Nic Pizzolatto was the “go-to-guy” for any questions and was very helpful, but that it all seems to stem from a sense of paranoia:

"“Different people saw different things at different times – there’s a lot of paranoia about people leaking stuff. I guess with the show under the microscope, the media vampires were out there waiting to get their teeth into something as soon as they could.”"

The use of “vampires” may be a bit strong, but he’s not entirely wrong. True Detective is a project that attracts a lot of attention, but part of that is due to its unwillingness to be more open. You can head over to Stuff to read the entire interview, which also touches on Bluck’s history and how he feels about the extinction of actual film.

Next: This Week in True Detective: A Cary Fukunaga Special

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