Is Frank Semyon from 'True Detective' A Real Person? Parts Of His Character May Be Very Personal
Along with all of the point-blank crotch shootings and ultra-creepy bird masks, the concepts of family and familial duty have factored quite heavily into True Detective Season 2 so far. You've got Paul and his Oedipal issues, Ani and whatever's going on with her "straight-edge" sister and cult-y father, Ray and his terrifyingly desperate need for some semblance of a relationship with his son. Last, but certainly not least, you've got Vince Vaughn's Frank Semyon grappling with his empire as he and his partner prepare for in vitro fertilization.
When he tells Ray about his and Jordan's upcoming venture into IVF, Frank makes jokes about the indignity of masturbating into a plastic cup, but it's clear that there's a lot more at stake for him. With fatherhood looming, it seems like he's feeling the pressure to go straight. From what we know so far, it would seem that his investment in the light rail construction would be the perfect opportunity to remake himself into a legitimate businessman — until the gruesome murder of city manager Ben Caspere caused the whole thing to go belly-up, that is. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that a good portion of the remaining six episodes of the series are going to deal with just how far Frank is willing to go to get back what's rightfully — or not so rightfully — his, for the sake of both himself and the concept of his as of yet abstract family.
Yes, Frank Semyon is fascinating for a whole host of reasons (Vince Vaughn's portrayal, for one), and it's the aforementioned fast-approaching bid for fatherhood adds that tantalizing extra dimension to him. But where did he come from? Was he, like the fictional city of Vinci, based off of something all-too real? Well, if you really want to get really metaphorical about it, Frank's desire to leave a legacy for future children is actually not too far off from creator/showrunner Nic Pizzolatto's own story. Now, obviously, Pizzolatto's not a morality-deficient gangster, but in an interview with Vanity Fair, he briefly mentioned the lightning rod-like effect that impending fatherhood had on his career.
As it would turn out, circa the late 2000s, Pizzolatto was working as a professor, and had recently given up on the idea of finding success in writing ("Who cares? I can live under that goddamned bridge and I’ll be f****** fine," he quipped) — until he found out his wife was pregnant. As she entered the third trimester of her pregnancy, he turned around, and finished the first draft of Galveston (his first novel) in four weeks flat. Not long after, he moved to LA, picked up his first TV writing gig on The Killing, and the rest's history.
Of that life-change rapid-fire first draft, he cited a major shift in perspective.
I felt the responsibility and stakes in the world I had not felt previously, [when] I didn’t owe anybody anything and who gives a shit? But the idea that I was going to bring somebody into this world, who didn’t ask to be in this world. I was at her delivery and she was holding my pinkie when she was being washed up. I remember thinking, You poor kid, of all the dad dice you could have rolled, you got me.
Food for thought, no? Critics have been joking that "F*** YOU" is the catchphrase that marks True Detective Season 2, but there might be more than a touch of "You poor kid, of all the dad dice you could have rolled, you got me" mixed into its fabric as well. After all, with Ray interrogating his own son and brutally beating said son's bullies, Frank's father leaving him in a pitch-black basement with hungry rats for five days, and Ani's bearded, pompous monstrosity of a father — you have quite the collection of wayward children who got catastrophically unlucky with the "dad dice." Perhaps Pizzolatto used some of his own emotions as an expecting and new father to help inspire that human side of Frank.
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