Jodie Foster and Kali Reis star opposite one another in “True Detective: Night Country” as estranged detective partners Liz Danvers and Evangeline Navarro who “mirror” one another at their core — that is, when they’re not getting under each other’s skin.
“Danvers is very busy disrespecting Navarro’s connection to the spiritual world and her instincts and everything that has to do with gut and feeling,” Foster told TheWrap in a recent interview. “She is ashamed of that in herself and has done a lot to wall herself off from it, so when she sees it in Navarro, she just can’t help but make fun of her.”
Hardened by a past loss, Danvers shuts down Navarro’s intuitive premonitions as the two begrudgingly reunite to investigate the disappearance of several men working at the Tsalal Arctic Research Station in small town Ennis, Alaska, and its suspected connection between the death of an indigenous woman the pair worked to solve years ago.
Foster also revealed that Danvers was originally written to be “much younger” than her, and as Foster worked with “Night Country” creator and showrunner Issa López to age her up, the character transformed from being “recovering and weepy” to developing an “armor” from her past traumas.
“She’s afraid of losing her logic and allowing her heart to take over [and] afraid that she’ll be in pain,” Foster said.
Danvers stands in direct contrast to Navarro, who faces an internal battle between the indigenous Alaskan community and her career in law enforcement — a conflict that Reis said she has faced within her own Afro-indigenous ancestry.
“I think they’re a mirror to each other, because they both are so scared of something they have to open up to, and when they do, they finally are free,” Reis said. “Navarro sees Danvers for who and what she is, and what she’s really going through, and she’s so patient — she almost has a maternal type of energy toward Danvers in that she’s waiting for Danvers to finally just wake up.”
While the fourth installment of the HBO anthology series follows both characters’ struggles as personal and professional boundaries blur during the investigation, Foster noted her mission to support Navarro as the series’ central voice, noting that she “reverse engineer[ed] Danvers to make sure that her character supported [Navarro’s] journey.”
Whereas Foster’s prolific career brought her back to horror after starring in “Silence of the Lambs” three decades ago, Reis is a relative newcomer to the acting world after breaking out in 2021 film “Catch the Fair One.” After being approached by López for the role, Reis was particularly drawn to the indigenous-centric storyline of “Night Country.”
“I didn’t grow up seeing my face on screen portraying just regular, good characters … these characters [are] so complex, messed up, but so beautifully written and raw,” Reis said. “My hope is that we just continue to see our faces telling our stories the way we want to and not just being the sad, depressed, alcoholic, drug-dealing, missing woman … we also can tell the happy stories, the funny stories.”
New episodes of “True Detective: Night Country” drop Sundays on HBO and Max.