Vince Vaughn on True Detective: “This story is about people who are in deep water drowning”

The Wedding Crashers actor on playing a mobster alongside Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams in the second season of the award-winning drama

Vince Vaughn is a man of many talents, one of which includes causing controversy. In a recent interview, the American actor spoke openly about his thoughts on gun control and the rights of US citizens to have weapons in schools – and news of this contentious opinion quickly led to a media storm. However, the father-of-two would like to put the record straight. Speaking to Radio Times in a quiet Beverly Hills hotel, the 45-year-old stands by his comments.

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“You don’t have to own a gun and I don’t want a society where people say everybody is forced to go and do that – but I think it’s a right. If a group of parents decide that their school feels safer with security, then they have a right to make that decision and they don’t have to put their kids in a place where that is not an option. But if a group of parents feel like, ‘Gosh, I just don’t even want security at the school.’ They should be allowed to do that as well.

“I think what happens sometimes in print and [in] conversations is that, depending on other people’s agenda, they will try to make it sound to what their cause is. And for me, it was just an honest conversation with a journalist talking about our points of view – but I think I am no different than all parents in that you want what is best for your kids. You want them to be safe and people can have different ideas of how to do that. I think everyone is entitled to that because they are your kids.”

The actor is sharply dressed in a suit and tie for our interview, which is to promote the second season of the intelligent and brutal crime saga True Detective. Vaughn has been cast as a criminal entrepreneur named Frank Semyon in a role that Hollywood heavyweights including Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Joaquin Phoenix and Christian Bale were speculated to have wanted – but Colin Farrell (who won a Golden Globe for In Bruges), Rachel McAdams (from Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris), Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor) and Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers) were named the successors for the second season in late 2014.

Over the years, Vaughn has tackled tense auditions, tough screen tests and important chemistry reads in order to win roles in much smaller projects – but the actor was simply handed the chance to play Semyon by the show’s creator, Pizzolatto. Another subject which Vaughn is very happy to discuss. “Thankfully I had met Nic before to talk about a different project, but I was really impressed with him,” Vaughn explains, taking a swig from a bottle of sparkling water. “We had a great connection and I was so excited when he thought of me for the show – but I would have fought for the role if I’d had to.”

When it comes to adopting the mindset of a mobster, Vaughn visited some old acquaintances to help with his research. “I have some friends in Chicago who are older than me,” he confesses with a smile. “They own restaurants and have been around for a long time, so I would ask them questions about people who dabbled in this type of behaviour.”

When the first season of True Detective launched last year, the adult drama won critical acclaim and a ton of television award nominations across the globe. In the UK, the series garnered took the international prize at the Baftas, beating US stalwarts such as House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black and The Good Wife – but HBO had already guaranteed its future by commissioning two further seasons.

Much of the success of the show can be attributed to the classy casting of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as the two leads in the first season – but the intelligent storyline, dark subject matter and eye-popping visuals also added to the series’ sheen and helped win the show legions of fans.

The plot of the first season followed the pursuit of a serial killer over the course of 17 years, harking back to the discovery of a murdered woman in 1995. The corpse was placed in a ritualistic position with antlers crowning her head, suggesting occult tendencies and a myriad of suspects. However, solving the crime was not a simple task for the detective duo, with the story eked-out into eight suspenseful hour-long episodes.

Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto always intended this deep drama to be an anthology series with each new season of the show focusing on a different cast of characters in a self-contained narrative, which is why there’s a new cast when the show returns. Now, the story shifts its focus to three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal – and there’s no McConaughey or Harrelson in sight.

When describing the second series Vaughn says, “The tone of the show is still adult and artistic. And the characters investigate crimes, so there is something similar in that – but the chemistry is different. The nature of having four different back stories is very different. It’s a different make-up.”

He pauses, then: “I feel like it’s an artist’s second album. The first season was a buddy cop show following two guys with different views of the world. One guy says the world works this way and he’s very hypocritical. The other guy might make you feel uncomfortable and see things in a specific way, but he means what he says and he’s very human. The second season is about four different characters that share a broken-ness and a hurt. This story is about people who are in deep water drowning. They are trying really hard to get to a place where they feel safe and happy.”

The setting for the second season is also different as the action moves away from the eerie, fertile landscapes of Louisiana to a scorched and sun-drenched California. The lush plantations, muddy swamps and burned-out, abandoned churches of the first season are replaced by suburban Los Angeles locations as the story shifts from serial killers and the occult to tales of corrupt cops, a potentially groundbreaking transportation deal and the mysterious murder of a businessman, whose body is discovered on a lonely stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway.

The plot of the new season is much darker than its predecessor (if possible). The action is more sinister and shocking with some startling twists and turns. A brutal and unexpected physical scene featuring Colin Farrell in the first episode is sure to catch viewers by surprise. And a sudden, sinister landmark event in the second episode is expected to leave the audience aghast. With this in mind, one thing is for certain: True Detective is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Keep the children away from this one.

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Season two of True Detective begins on Sky Atlantic on Monday 22nd June at 3am and 9pm

Read more:

Who’s who in True Detective series 2

Why Vince Vaugn is actually a brilliant choice for True Detective series 2