Remember last year when the term, "McConnaisance" started getting tossed around as Matthew McConaughey was gearing up to win an Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club?" If Vince Vaughn is able to secure the lead role on Season 2 of HBO's "True Detective" get ready for the Vaughnaissance, because looking at the last five years of Vince Vaughn's resume, he needs it.
Like, Matthew McConaughey, Vaughn has an inimitable presence on screen that can be played to either great comedic effect or for great character work, as seen in the not-so-great movies "Clay Pigeons" and "Made." Then, like McConaughey with the rom-coms, Vaughn found a formula for himself to make millions of dollars, and from the years 2005 to 2009, beginning with "Wedding Crashers" and more or less ending with "Couples Retreat," he did. The first sign of trouble for Vaughn's fast-talking bro came in 2011 with "The Dilemma." A semi-serious Ron Howard comedy about a couple of bros dealing with infidelity, their ladies and their own insecurities. The final dilemma for the film was at the the box office where it grossed a total of $48 million on a $70 million dollar budget. Vaughn's follow-up film, "The Watch," had a $68 million budget and grossed just $35 million domestically. Then there's last year's duo, "The Internship" and "Delivery Man," both of which came in far under expectations and were considered flops. That's five years and five flops.
The Vaughn shtick has grown tired for audiences in the same way it grew tired for McConaughey's shirtless, lady-charming leading men of 2003 to 2010. And like McConaughey needed two years ago, Vaughn needs a rebrand that establishes him once again as a serious movie star. That would involve taking a couple chances on character work that may or may not pan out. Something that will inevitably pan out is jumping into an already established high-end project that has very little chance of embarrassment. Welcome to "True Detective," one of the most critically successful audience phenomenons since "The Sopranos." The esteem in which this show is held is like nothing else television has seen. It took multiple seasons for "The Sopranos" and "Mad Men" to catch on and create stars. In its first season, "True Detective" is already a massive hit with the biggest movie stars in the world having already been on the show. Not only are the movie stars involved, one of them won an Oscar for Best Actor while the show was on the air. Never has a best a best actor-winner at the Oscars been involved in a television show at the same time. The award is reserved for the biggest stars of movies and up until the last 10 years television was always thought to be lesser than film.
Matthew McConoaughey needed "Dallas Buyers Club," "The Wolf Of Wall Street," and, of course, "True Detective," in the same way Vince Vaughn now needs that show. The difference between when McConoaughey was cast on "True Detective" and now is that the show is already an established hit that can have the stars of its choosing. McConaughey helped make it that by lending his name, performance and Oscar win to the first season of the show. If Vaughn lands "True Detective" he can rebrand himself as a viable and layered movie star with mystery and wit. With any star at their choosing, what exactly does "True Detective" get out of casting Vince Vaughn?