‘True Detective’: Nic Pizzolatto Helped Write the ‘Deadwood’ Movie, So David Milch Helped with Season 3

     December 18, 2018

true-detective-nic-pizzolatto-sliceI’m still internalizing all of this news, but the basics are thus: True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto was brought on to help with the script for the upcoming Deadwood movie. And then, to return the favor of sorts, Deadwood creator David Milch helped Pizzolatto with True Detective Season 3.

It’s exceedingly rare to see this kind of cross-series collaboration from two auteurs, which came about through producer Scott Stephens. As Indiewire reports, Pizzolatto explained how it all happened at a press conference today, including how he was brought in by Stephens to help work on the Deadwood movie script while he was still kicking around ideas for True Detective Season 3 (Milch is, however, the only credited writer of the movie). That partnership soon went the other way, with Milch then giving Pizzolatto advice on his new season, and is credited as a co-writer of the upcoming fourth episode, “The Hour and the Day.” But Pizzolatto also talked more specifically about what he learned from Milch (who has such a wonderful gift for dialogue):


Image via HBO

“He turned me on to writing out loud, which I’d never done before, and I ended up writing most of the second half of the season out loud, which was a much more spiritually healthy thing to do than be alone in a room with a blank page. I knew he was going to have to go back and do ‘Deadwood’ and get that on its feet again, but I was just glad we had that time together. It’s something I’m going to remember and take with me for the rest of my life […] There were times when I was doing one character and he was doing another, and we were like the dueling banjos or something in ‘Deliverance.’ It was so special to me.”

Pizzolatto, who has had a fraught relationship with the media throughout True Detective Seasons 1 and 2, addressed some of the criticisms of that second season:

“I understood there was a lot of stuff in Season 2 that people hadn’t really wanted to see, based on Season 1 of ‘True Detective.’ But I’m very proud of the work everybody did. I just try to keep getting better at what I do and move forward. I think substantive criticism is a big part of that, so I tried not to shut myself off from any of it. Really, [I] just tried to get better and even narrow the focus of what is it I’m trying to do here — what is it we’re trying to do, because it’s a big team effort.”

Pizzolatto didn’t say too much about the new season, except that its multiple-timeline structure is complicated, but that overall it’s hard to describe. However, he did add that “I feel like this one has a lot more light in it than previous seasons and maybe reaches for hope a bit more. I’m not even sure this is properly noir, given where it goes.”

True Detective Season 3 premieres January 13th on HBO; the Deadwood movie will likely arrive in Spring of 2019.