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Interview: Uncover Arctic Mysteries in TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY

Two women holding flashlights outside
Kali Reis and Jodie Foster | Photograph by Michele K. Short | Image courtesy of HBO

By Shannon McGrew

In NIGHT COUNTRY, the fourth season of the acclaimed true-crime series, TRUE DETECTIVE, when the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the eight men who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, Detectives Liv Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves, and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice.

Recently, Creepy Kingdom’s Shannon McGrew took part in a roundtable discussion for the upcoming release of TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY. Joining the discussion were showrunner, writer, director, and executive producer Issa López (Tigers Are Not Afraid) and stars Jodie Foster (“Liv Danvers”) and Kali Reis (“Evangeline Navarro”).

Though many might not recognize Issa López’s name, horror fans most certainly are. Having written and directed the acclaimed Mexican horror/crime film, Tigers Are Not Afraid, it felt like a natural progression for her to pivot into a true crime series such as this. Her horror background does come into play early on in the first episode paying homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing as well as the unsolved mystery surrounding the Dyatlov Pass incident, where nine ski hikers mysteriously died. When discussing how these influences shaped the series’ tone, López explained:

“If you look closely [at the beginning of the first episode] there is a copy of The Thing. Later in the series, there are shots that are actually inspired by The Thing. The moment that you’re going to tell a story with a little bit of supernatural in it that takes place in the Arctic and there’s an Arctic research station you have to admit that that’s a big influence.

The Dyatlov Pass is absolutely a reference. What I did when I started to think about writing a murder mystery is thinking about the many unsolved mysteries that I read about as a kid and that obsessed me and kept me up at night. From spontaneous combustion to the Mary Celeste, which is a ship whose crew vanished into thin air, to the Dyatlov Pass. I thought, what would happen if we would take those themes and make them into a TV series?”

A woman looking off into the distance
Showrunner/Writer/Director/EP Issa López on the set of True Detective: Night Country | Photograph by Lilja Jons | Image courtesy of HBO

When it was time for López to turn her story into a reality, she started her search for actors capable of giving powerhouse performances leading her to enlist the talents of Oscar-winning actor Jodie Foster and rising star Kali Reis. Their collaborative performances result in one of TRUE DETECTIVE's best seasons to date, promising a lasting impact on every viewer. Reflecting on their experiences in crafting these performances, Foster and Reis shared insights into collaborating with Lopez to bring these characters to life:

“I just love her. I loved her the minute I met her. I just knew, this woman has such a vision,” explained Foster. “Not only is she smart, but she’s funny and she’s humble and she is just as clear in her path as she is open to change. She’s the first person on the dance floor, which of course is the best part of her. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a director that I like so much, or that was as perfect for me in terms of what I need from a director.”

Reis was quick to agree stating: “My first interaction with her was on Zoom just to talk about a few things and I immediately was like, oh, this woman’s a powerhouse. Just knowing her background, I wasn’t [initially] aware of her but I immediately [looked her up] and I got obsessed. Her ability to know exactly, like you said, Jodie, exactly what she wants but to be open to getting there. It was amazing to be able to collaborate and create with her, because that’s what it is. We’re here to create cool stories, tell cool stories, and tell important stories.”

TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY is a gripping story steeped in murder and intrigue, all underscored by emotional and memorable performances that cut deep to core. Experience the chilling mystery of the Arctic when TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY arrives on MAX on January 14th.


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