Video Interviews

The Stars of True Detective on What to Expect from Night Country

Jodie Foster, Kali Reis, and Issa López talk about how they created the characters and story of the chilling, atmospheric new season of HBO's prestige anthology crime drama.

by | January 11, 2024 | Comments

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Nic Pizzolatto’s anthology crime drama True Detective was a force of nature when it debuted on HBO in early 2014, fueled by an outstanding script and stellar performances by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. Pizzolatto stayed on as showrunner and writer for two more seasons, which met with somewhat mixed reception, and then stepped back into an executive producer role to let Tigers Are Not Afraid director Issa López take the reins for season 4, subtitled Night Country.

In Night Country, Jodie Foster and Kali Reis star as a pair of cops in Alaska who set out to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a group of scientists from a remote research station. The season is already Certified Fresh, with critics calling it a chilling, atmospheric return to the highs of season 1 anchored by powerful, committed acting from its leads.

Ahead of the premiere of True Detective: Night Country, RT editor Jacqueline Coley sat down with Foster, Reis, and López to discuss how they transformed into their characters, how they achieved on-set synchronicity, and what fans can expect from the new tale.

Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: Most people will always think of you synonymously with Clarice Starling, so to see you back in a detective story is like a complete wish fulfillment moment. But I wanted to ask you, what do you think it is about characters like [True Detective: Night Country’s] Liz and Clarice that really resonates with audiences to the point where they want to journey with them as they try to find the bad guys, and why do you think you’re particularly drawn back to this part of the genre?

Jodie Foster: I absolutely love Silence of Lambs. I think it’s an amazing movie, a classic, and was a perfect script to start with because it came from an absolutely perfect novel. So I think that’s what we have in common, is that we have a really great script, and in that respect, it’s because we have two fully complex female characters. That’s surprisingly rare. I don’t know why, but it is surprisingly rare.

That being said, I don’t think Clarice and Liz have absolutely anything in common besides the fact that they grew up in a male dominated police kind of world — Clarice from the FBI — and that may have impacted them. Certainly Clarice is at the beginning of her career and Danvers is at the end of her career. So we get to see kind of a trajectory of possibility of where Clarice could have ended up, but I don’t think there’s any two characters that are more different. Clarice is like a good girl on the good path, doing the right thing, very internalized. She has a very internalized trauma. And Liz Danvers is a rebellious, mean spirit, has terrible jokes, lots of insidious internal bias. She’s realized and unconscious, so she’s kind of on the opposite vector.

Jodie Foster and Kali Reis in True Detective: Night Country (2024)

(Photo by Michele K. Short/HBO)

RT: One of the things about Silence, you also have an incredible person at the helm of it. This time it’s with Issa López, and I know that you are a cinephile filmmaker in your heart, as well as an actor. I’m curious what drew you to working with Issa, and I pray that it was a late night watching Tigers Are Not Afraid, because that’s what drew me to her.

Foster: Yeah, I didn’t know of the movie until I was told that she was going to be directing the True Detective franchise, and I read the script, loved it, and thought, like, “Oh, I can’t wait to meet this director.” Saw her movie, was completely excited about meeting her, and we just had an immediate synchronicity. I think she’s my favorite director I’ve ever worked with, so it’s not just that she’s intelligent, charming, brilliant, but self-effacing, humble, funny, all that stuff. But she’s also the first person on the dance floor and a hoot to be around. And maybe because we’re both over-40 ladies — I’m a little more over 40 than her — but I think we understand the complexity of these female characters in a way that a lot of other directors and actors wouldn’t have gotten to.

Watch the video for the full interview with Jodie Foster, Kali Reis, and Issa López.

True Detective: Night Country (2024) premieres on HBO and Max on January 14, 2024.

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