If you were one of the many that felt that the second season of HBO’s True Detective was somewhat subpar, especially in comparison to the show’s first, you’re in good company. David Cronenberg, acclaimed director of such iconic films as The Fly and Crash, was reportedly offered the chance to direct an episode during True Detective Season Two, but passed on it. Why? In his opinion, the script just simply wasn’t very good.
According to Indiewire, Cronenberg told a packed auditorium at the University of Iceland that he considered directing an episode of the hit HBO series but passed because the script was “bad.”
Last year I was approached to direct the first episode of the second season of True Detective, I considered it but I thought that the script was bad, so I didn’t do it.
Fans of both Cronenberg and True Detective would have surely been thrilled at the idea of the acclaimed director helming an episode of the decidedly cinematic series. HBO would have likely been delighted as well given that the media hoopla over a Cronenberg-helmed episode would have surely spiked ratings, (which slid from the first episode’s 3.17 million viewers to, at one point, 2.18 million viewers in the U.S.), and perhaps helped to keep viewership closer to the season highs of the first two episodes, which were both directed by Justin Lin of The Fast and the Furious 3-6 fame. The rest of the season’s six episodes were divided amongst indy filmmakers and established television vets.
Cronenberg was in attendance at the Reykjavik International Film Festival to receive the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award, alongside German director Margarethe Von Trotta. During the appearance, Cronenberg spoke and answered questions from the audience about filmmaking techniques and philosophy, his career, how he got his start, his influences, and even his ideology on modern filmmaking .
Cronenberg established himself as a pioneer of a style of horror known as “body horror” which focuses on graphic depictions of the decay or degradation of the body, often depicting his subjects as transformative creatures a la The Fly, which mirrors German author Franz Kafka’s style of illustrating man’s juxtaposition between the self and our inherently, naturally grotesque animus. To see show creator Nic Pizzolatto’s characters in the hands and through the mind of a Cronenberg, or a David Lynch, would be intriguing to say the least.
Earlier this year, Pizzolatto signed a two year extension with HBO which made way for season two and a potential season three. HBO President Michael Lombardo has already left the door open for a third season should Pizzolatto want to move forward with one. True Detective, while well written, made a splash with its unique casting choices with Season 1 starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, both of whom delivered outstanding performances. The second season featured Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Vince Vaughn, who have been lauded for their performances as well. Perhaps, before the series loses all of its momentum, and before Lombardo’s endurance runs out, Pizzolatto would be well served to reach out to quirky, intriguing auteurs to see what magic they can make with consistently solid casting and acting. Of course, the script would also have to be good.