It’s no secret that Nic Pizzolatto is difficult to work with, according to any number of rumors. I mean, that hardly comes as a surprise for someone who poses like this for a photoshoot:
There were reports of clashes between Cary Fukunaga and Pizzolatto on the first season of True Detective, and Fukunaga did not return for the second season (though he received an executive producer credit). The second season had a variety of directors, while Jeremy Saulnier was tapped to direct season three. He left after two episodes citing “scheduling concerns,” although he also said that he had a “tough time” on set. There was also reportedly friction between the writer and HBO over the third season finale of TD.
More recently, Pizzolatto moved from HBO to FX, although he exited his deal with FX two years early after the network passed on his series Redeemer when star Matthew McConaughey dropped out. Make of that what you will.
Cary Fukunaga — who directed the forthcoming Bond film, No Time to Die — diplomatically addressed his issues with Pizzolatto that led him to depart ahead of the second season of True Detective. From THR:
“The show was presented to me in the way we pitched it around town — as an independent film made into television,” he says. “The writer and director are a team. Over the course of the project, Nic kept positioning himself as if he was my boss and I was like, ‘But you’re not my boss. We’re partners. We collaborate.’ By the time they got to postproduction, people like [former programming president] Michael Lombardo were giving Nic more power. It was disheartening because it didn’t feel like the partnership was fair.”
Fukunaga also expressed some concerns over their differences of opinion. “Nic is a really good writer, but I do think he needs to be edited down. It becomes too much about the writing and not enough about the momentum of the story. My struggle with him was to take some of these long dialogue scenes and put some air into them. We differed on tone and taste.”
Note, too, that Fukunaga doesn’t have a sterling reputation, either, although he addressed that in the THR piece, noting specifically that he departed as director of Stephen King’s It over creative differences and there was no bad blood. He wanted a dramatic movie with horror elements (like The Shining), while the studio apparently preferred something closer to what Andy Muschietti provided, something in the spirit of horror flicks like The Conjuring. However, Fukunaga continues to collaborate with It producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee. “If I was a difficult director, they wouldn’t necessarily want to be working with me,” Fukunaga noted.
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