Mahershala Ali Reveals His “True Detective” Role Was Written for White Actor
Ali was originally only offered a supporting role in the upcoming third season of the HBO series.
In order to land the lead in the upcoming season of True Detective on HBO, Mahershala Ali had to convince showrunner Nic Pizzolatto that the role be could be played by a black actor.
Originally, the lead on the third season of the show was written as a white character so Ali was offered a supporting role.
Coming off an Oscar win and already looking into taking his role in Green Book, Ali decided he wanted the lead part and convinced Pizzolatto he should have it.
“True Detective was written different. The lead was white, and the other cop was black. And once you see the show, you’ll see that is different from the other seasons, in that the lead character, he’s at the point of the arrowhead,” Ali told Variety. “I could have played that second lead, the supporting character. But in my mind I was like, ‘I’ve done this my entire career. I’ve never done that.’”
To get Pizzolatto to change his mind, Ali showed him photos on his phone of his grandfather, a state police officer in Arkansas.
The images apparently did the trick.
“I came back to [Nic] and I was like, ‘I want to play that part.’ And he thought about it a couple of days, got back to me, and he was like, ‘Yo, let’s do this. I’m down,’” Ali said.
In the show, Ali plays a detective named Wayne Hays who is investigating a crime involving two missing children. The show premieres on January 12.
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