Vince Vaughn

Now that “True Detective” has set its cast for season two (Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly), the stars are finally starting to open up about the show’s hotly anticipated return.

In an interview with Playboy, Vaughn admits that he’s not feeling particularly pressured by the prospect of following Woody Harrelson’s and Matthew McConaughey’s acclaimed performances. “[Creator] Nic Pizzolatto is such a great writer, and so much of this is driven by his stories,” Vaughn says. “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.”

The season’s new setting has a lot to do with the difference in tone, according to Vaughn. “That was Louisiana. This is a California-based story, and it was kind of birthed from here. A lot of it is set in Los Angeles.”

Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a man in danger of losing his criminal empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner. “I really like my character. Nic is so great about investigating characters and their complexities in an authentic and engaging way,” he tells Playboy. “I want to watch this show not because I’m in it but as a fan of the material.”

The “Wedding Crashers” star originally met Pizzolatto because of a completely different project, but the pair apparently hit it off: “I was developing a movie version of ‘The Rockford Files’ and met with Nic about writing it. He was really enthusiastic but was already working on a crime drama set in Los Angeles, and he gracefully said it was best for him to focus on ‘True Detective,'” Vaughn recalls. “Then he reached out to me about doing that series, and I was beyond flattered and thrilled to collaborate with him. I was happy to work with Colin Farrell too, whom I’d never worked with before.”

Vaughn is best known for his studio comedies, and admits, “It’s nice now to be mixing it up and doing something different with ‘True Detective,'” but he isn’t ready to write off the movie industry just yet. “I wouldn’t say [TV is] more interesting; it’s just different. A film like ‘The Way Way Back’ with Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell was as smart as anything you’d see in any format,” he says, while conceding, “TV is definitely having its moment. It’s almost as if we’ve discovered how exciting it can be to tell a story over a longer time frame. In the 1990s we went through a run of independent films that captured the attention of critics and a certain type of audience member. Those movies were edgy, offbeat and risky and had fully drawn adult characters. You can’t do that as easily anymore on a big studio movie. If you can’t turn something into a franchise that gets people into seats that first weekend, you’re probably not going to get your movie made… You also have all these new avenues of financing and distribution, which have the studios running a little scared. Netflix, Amazon, other streaming outlets — they appear to have more patience to finance character-based stories. And not just dramas. I think Netflix in particular has been a fantastic place for documentaries to land and be seen. But the basics are still the same: You want a great story; you need good characters, good actors and someone in charge who’s running it well. I think it’s the most exciting time since probably the early 1970s for actors, writers and directors in terms of doing meaningful, intelligent, grown-up work, and that has a lot to do with these episodic shows.”

A premiere date for “True Detective” season two has yet to be announced.

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