True Detective, a new television series on HBO, premiered last night and is already a smash hit,
The show follows two detectives Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson) who are paired together to solve one of Louisiana’s most grisly murders. The show spans from 1995, when the duo began investigating the murder, until 2012, when the case was re-opened.
Harrelson previously starred on an HBO movie Game Change, and he says that his previous work with HBO made the decision to join True Detective an easy one.
“There’s just no finer organization making amazing stuff out there than HBO. So it’s, like, a privilege to work with them,” Harrelson revealed. “And, you know, the other part of that is just the people on this stage, you know. I really I love Matthew. He’s my brother. Phenomenal, amazing person.”
While we may not see McConaughey on television often, he admits that he has nothing against doing television series. “It’s a different time in television,” McConaughey said. “It’s not there’s not that feeling of if you’re having a successful film career and somebody brings up something on television we didn’t know, at the time when I got it, where it was going to be. All I knew is I read the first two episodes, and I was in. And I was just, at the time, looking for quality.”
Harrelson and McConaughey’s characters are portrayed as complete opposites. While McConaughey was originally selected to play the part of Hart, he says that the other character is the one that kept speaking to him. “It came in, and I was supposed to look at the role of Hart. I read the role of Hart. I was like I understood objectively why they would be coming to me with the role of Hart. I understood that, from probably closer to some of my past work,” he said. “But Cohle was the voice that I remember writing down, ‘I can’t wait to turn the page and hear what’s coming out of this guy’s mouth. It’s got fire on it every time.'”
Harrelson and McConaughey have been off-screen friends for a long-time, and even admit to finishing each other’s sentences. However, on the show, they had a very restrained and tense relationship, which ultimately challenged their off-screen friendship.
“With this project we didn’t use a lot of our normal kind of shorthand, the way we kind of finish each other’s sentences and shit,” Harrelson explained. “He was an island. And he is one of the most gregarious, awesome guys I know, but in this he was fully in character, and he was very much an island.”