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As previously reported, Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Scorpion) will direct the first two of the eight-episode sophomore season, which centers on two police officers and a career criminal who must navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder. Production on season two is set to begin later this fall in California.
Farrell will play Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective whose allegiances are torn between his masters in a corrupt police department and the mobster who owns him. Vaughn is set as Frank Semyon, a career criminal in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner.
In a stop before the press at the Television Critics Association summer tour in July, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo suggested the network hasn’t felt obligated to cast another batch of A-list stars to follow Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, noting that when cast, McConaughey wasn’t the megastar he became later care of his Oscar-winning turn in Dallas Buyers Club. That said, he did suggest that those brought aboard likely will be well-known actors, who are drawn to both the series’ quality and its single-season schedule.
HBO’s confirmation comes after months of speculation about the second season that has seen scores of bold-face names bandied about for roles in the drama from creator Nic Pizzolatto. Other names in the mix include Taylor Kitch, Josh Brolin, Christian Bale, Malin Akerman, Jamie Alexander, Oona Chaplin, Rosario Dawson, Kelly Reilly, Jessica Biel and Brit Marling.
Season two will be written by Pizzolatto and will be directed by a cadre of helmers after the planned departure of Emmy winner Cary Fukunaga. In a cover interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Pizzolatto, who not only writes every episode but is intimately involved with the casting, noted that a move to multiple directors for season two has more to do with being able to move at a faster production pace than anything else.
Despite critical raves almost across the board, particularly impressive for a first-time showrunner, the gritty anthology series failed to deliver on expectations at August’s Emmy awards, where AMC incumbent Breaking Bad proved the night’s big winner. Though Pizzolatto has looked to manage expectations ahead of the show’s sophomore season, Lombardo has said on multiple occasions that the season two scripts that he’s seen are even “more exciting” than those for season one.
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