Cary Fukunaga opened up about his lack of creative input on the second season of HBO’s “True Detective” while speaking to Variety about this week’s cover story about Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation,” which hits stands on Tuesday.
The director said it always part of the plan for him to leave after his episodes starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson wrapped in 2014. “The whole pitch was that in a true anthology, we want to sit it on a shelf, and every season we have a new feature director and make this wonderful miniseries,” Fukunaga said, explaining that they shopped the conceit to Showtime and Netflix along with HBO. “I was going to be the first one. And I’d be there to shepherd as much as I could the following seasons. My departure was always planned.”
The series’ second season, which was widely panned by critics, used a rotating panel of directors under the watch of the show’s executive producer and creator Nic Pizzolatto. Fukunaga is listed as an executive producer too, but he explained that he didn’t have much involvement in the season.
“I really wasn’t involved,” he said. “My involvement in the second season was as much or as little as they needed me. It turns out they didn’t need me.”
Fukunaga says he hasn’t spoken to Pizzolatto since they saw each other at the Golden Globes in January, but he’s aware of the demanding director character who seems to be caricaturing him in season two. “I have friends on the crew who told me about it. What’s there to make of it?” Fukunaga says with a laugh, declining to elaborate further.
In a response, Pizzolatto told Variety: “The director character in episode 3 was absolutely not meant to represent or allude to Cary in any way. The actor (Philip Moon) was hired because I was a fan of his from ‘Deadwood,’ and he arrived with the look he had. I have the utmost respect for Cary, and I look forward to his new picture.”
“Beasts of No Nation” premieres on Netflix and in theaters on Oct. 16. See the image of Variety’s cover, with Fukunaga and Idris Elba, below.