Try as we might, fellow Internet users, we can't always be true entertainment detectives, as we wait for HBO to confirm all of the rumors that we spend our days pondering. The network finally came clean yesterday about Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell officially joining True Detective’s Season 2, but they were mum on who might be filling the female lead role. That’s because they’re still trying to find someone, and it turns out they might just be talking to many more actresses than we previously thought. I think my Mom even got called in for it.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Rachel McAdams and Elizabeth Moss were ”in the running” for the part, but Deadline is reporting that as many as ten actresses have been invited to read for show creator Nic Pizzolatto. Oddly enough, Moss’ name isn’t even mentioned. The mystery here isn’t even just “who will take the lead role?” but also “are all of these women reading for the same part?” It’s entirely possible that any number of them are vying for the role of Farrell’s wife or a fellow detective not specifically tied to that case. Let's take a closer look at each of the women getting namechecked.
Kiera Knightley, for one, is said to be “also entering the mix.” She’s been on an acclaim-mongering run in the past few years, with performances in films such as John Carney’s musically inclined drama Begin Again, Marten Tyldum’s Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game and Lynn Shelton’s romantic comedy Laggies. It would be Knightley’s first regular TV gig, should it happen, and I like to think she’d be a formidable co-star for Farrell’s character to butt heads with. If only it took place in England in the 1700s, she'd be set for sure.
First getting her big break with the family drama 7th Heaven, Jessica Biel left the show to concentrate more on her feature career, which includes fairly dark and sinister films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Blade: Trinity and The Tall Man. She was most recently seen in Francesca Gregorini’s oddball thriller The Truth about Emanuel and on the Season 4 premiere of Fox’s The New Girl. So she’s good with small screen work and dark mysteries. Could this be her next big TV break?
Rosario Dawson is the woman who somehow fell for Dante in Clerks II. (Yeah, it was just a movie. So what?) First popping onto the scene with Larry Clark’s Kids, Dawson has done a fine job of balancing indie and mainstream. This year alone, she’s been in Robert Rodriguez’s comic adaptation Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Brian Horiuchi’s sci-fi drama Parts Per Billion, Josh C. Waller’s girlfight thriller Raze and Diego Luna’s biopic Cesar Chavez. I’m pretty sure she can handle her own on HBO, though one has to wonder if this would conflict with her current series, Netflix’s Daredevil.
Malin Akerman is one of those actresses that brightens up a screen, and it’s usually in comedies like Wanderlust, Trophy Wife or Childrens Hospital. She’s done dramas and action movies like Watchmen and last year’s The Numbers Station, and has the horror comedy The Final Girls and Ido Fluk’s drama The Ticket coming up in the future. But I still can’t see her filling a major role in a thriller as dark and murky as True Detective, especially after seeing her upcoming return to HBO for the the long-awaited second season of Lisa Kudrow's comedy The Comeback. But then I’ve been wrong about things before.
Indie darling Brit Marling reminded people how interesting low-budget sci-fi can be with 2011’s double dose of Zal Batmanglij’s cult mystery Sound of My Voice and Mike Cahill’s sorta-romantic drama Another Earth. She’s keeping busy this year by reteaming with Cahill for the strange sci-fi drama I Origins and Daniel Barber’s upcoming Civil War drama The Keeping Room, which premiered this month at TIFF. Beyond a cameo on Community, she also made her way to TV for the British police drama Babylon. Maybe I’m being biased here, but my vote goes to Marling for the True Detective role.
Abigail Spencer knows a thing or two about being on TV, getting her break with a stint on All My Children. She’s then gone on to recurring roles on Lifetime’s Angela’s Eyes, AMC’s Mad Men, TNT’s Hawthorne, USA’s Suits and Sundance Channel’s Rectify. She must not like staying on one network, that one. (She was also an absolute treat in the Bachelor web series spoof Burning Love.) You may have seen on her in theaters this past weekend in Shawn Levy’s family drama This is Where I Leave You, and she’ll soon star opposite John Travolta in Philip Martin’s crime drama The Forger.
Marvel fans will know Jaimie Alexander for her role of Lady Sif in both Thor movies, as well as one episode of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Arnold Schwarzenegger fans will recognize her from 2013’s bonkers action flick The Last Stand. And Kyle XY fans will know her from…well, Kyle XY. Her other TV credits include MyNetworkTV’s Watch Over Me and a few episodes of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. She’s already set up for a possible future at HBO with the pilot for the geopolitical comedy The Brink, but it’s unclear whether or not the network will be moving forward with it. Can she handle two HBO shows?
The Spanish Oona Chaplin was in a handful of films, including a bit role in Quantum of Solace, before finding her way to television with the BBC’s Cold War drama The Hour, following that up with roles on HBO’s Game of Thrones and the British series Dates and The Crimson Field. Currently filming George Tillman Jr.’s drama The Longest Ride with Jack Huston, Chaplin would offer a nice reprieve from the White Dude World of True Detective, and the California setting could fit her Spanish heritage.
British actress Kelly Reilly is a TV vet in her homeland, particularly in the Above Suspicion miniseries, where she played a Detective Inspector. (There’s our link.) It’s been a busy year for her on screens of all sizes, as she’s starred opposite Brendan Gleeson in the darkly comedic Calvary, and opposite Greg Kinnear in Randal Wallace’s preachy Heaven is for Real. She was also the lead in the one-season-and-done ABC drama Black Box. According to Deadline, Reilly is the only actress who didn’t make the reading, but that doesn’t mean she’s out of the competition or anything.
The name on this list that has been around the longest, Rachel McAdams first broke out with the one-two comedic punch of Mark Waters’ Mean Girls and the brilliant Canadian comedy series Slings and Arrows, the latter of which is her only regular TV work. With Anton Corbijn’s thriller A Most Wanted Man behind her, she’s got a huge slate of films coming out in the next year or so, including Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama Southpaw and Cameron Crowe’s untitled romantic comedy. The problem with McAdams is, she’s got Thomas McCarthy’s thriller Spotlight in pre-production, and there is reportedly a scheduling conflict keeping her out of the top spot.
Filming is scheduled to begin this fall on True Detective, so expect all a bunch of roles to be filled in the coming months, as well as that of the other male detective.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.