As dynamic, spiritually opposite detective partners on the acclaimed first season of True Detective, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson set a formidable acting standard for the HBO mystery-drama. But Season Two star Vince Vaughn isn’t worried about living up to the hype, thanks to the engrossing scripts of creator Nic Pizzolatto. “[He] is such a great writer, and so much of this is driven by his stories,” Vaughn said in a recent interview with Playboy. “I thought Woody and Matthew did an exceptional job with the first season. This one’s very different, though. It’s a totally different story, with its own characters. The thing that’s consistent is the richness of the characters and the quality of the material.”
Moving away from swampy Louisiana to a sunny California locale, the second season also features Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch among its high-profile cast. In September, Variety reported that the new story “revolves around three police officers and a career criminal who navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder.”
Though Vaughn – thankfully – avoided spoilers in his Playboy interview, he did confirm the setting as Los Angeles as he enthused about his role. “Nic is so great about investigating characters and their complexities in an authentic and engaging way,” he said. “I want to watch this show not because I’m in, it but as a fan of the material.”
Vaughn said he previously met with Pizzolatto about helping him adapt The Rockford Files into a movie version, but the writer “gracefully” declined the project in order to focus on True Detective. Later, Pizzolatto reached out to Vaughn about the HBO role. “I was beyond flattered and thrilled to collaborate with him,” the actor said. “I was happy to work with Colin Farrell too, whom I’d never worked with before.”
Elsewhere in his wide-ranging Playboy interview, Vaughn talked about his iconic role in the 1996 Jon Favreau comedy Swingers – and how his life as an early actor mirrored that movie’s Hollywood lifestyle of “auditions, girls, video games.” “A lot of the time [it did], though it certainly wasn’t glamorous,” he said. “It was those early years of not getting what you want, of not getting called back, of not feeling desirable as an actor. . . A group of us would always be hanging out, like in Swingers. We’d go to those bars; we’d all go out in L.A. and put the Club on our steering wheels to keep our cars safe. Then we’d come home and play video games. That was a big part of what we were doing. Everything you see in the movie was authentic to that moment.”
Vaughn also discussed his collaborative documentary film project with former Fox News commentator Glenn Beck. “It was a contest, actually,” he said. “Peter Billingsley, who works with me, did a series of documentaries that Glenn was involved in producing. The idea was that filmmakers from all over the political spectrum would come to them with concepts about various issues: prescription drugs, the Federal Reserve, this or that, and then get funding to make them. Peter and I previously made one that went to a bunch of festivals, called Art of Conflict, about the Protestant and Catholic struggle in Belfast. We followed muralists and artists from both sides.” The series of films is set for release this year.