'True' star: Jodie Foster to join 'True Detective'

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Michelle Rose / TV Media
Jodie Foster to star in new season of "True Detective"

Jodie Foster to star in new season of "True Detective"

'True' star: After directing episodes of "Orange Is the New Black," "Black Mirror" and "Tales from the Loop," Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster ("The Silence of the Lambs," 1991) now seems poised to direct her attention to a TV acting career.

Foster is set to star in the fourth season of the HBO anthology crime series "True Detective." She will also be credited as one of its executive producers.

This is a big deal because Foster has largely stuck to movies and directing gigs since her breakout role in "Taxi Driver" (1976) — in fact, "True Detective" would give Foster her first series regular role since her days as a child model and actress, when she popped up in episodes of "Mayberry R.F.D.," "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" and "Gunsmoke."

"True Detective" has been on pause since Season 3 wrapped in 2019, and it has struggled to match the success of its Emmy-nominated first season led by Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club," 2013) and Woody Harrelson ("Zombieland," 2009). In fact, HBO hadn't officially greenlit Season 4 when Foster's casting was revealed (after lengthy negotiations, according to The Hollywood Reporter). Still, the actress/director's star power all but guarantees we'll see a fourth season, currently titled "True Detective: Night Country."

"Night Country" doesn't have a premiere date just yet, but HBO has released an official synopsis: "When the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the six men that operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, detectives Liz Danvers [played by Foster] and Evangeline Navarro [uncast as of writing] will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves, and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice."


'Handmaid's' Exit: After four seasons on the show, actress Alexis Bledel is stepping away from "The Handmaid's Tale."

In a statement, Bledel explained: "After much thought, I felt I had to step away from 'The Handmaid's Tale' at this time. I am forever grateful to [showrunner] Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM [and] the cast and crew for their support."

The former "Gilmore Girls" actress has appeared in all four seasons of Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's bestselling novel. Bledel's portrayal of Emily/Ofglen won her an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in 2017; she also earned a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress for the second season and Guest Actress nods for seasons 3 and 4.

Bledel's filmography on IMDb suggests the actress doesn't have a lot of other projects currently in the pipeline, beyond a possible third installment of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Fans are undoubtedly looking forward to her next project. In the meantime, they're disappointed to see her character go.

Emily/Bledel was last seen in the Season 4 finale, when the character banded with June (Elisabeth Moss, "The Invisible Man," 2020) and other escaped handmaids to exact vengeance on Gilead. No word on whether Bledel filmed anything before announcing her departure, but it's possible, given that Season 5 began filming in Toronto earlier this year and is scheduled to wrap this month. Expect to see it land on the streamer later this year.


Lost 'Power': Amazon Prime Video's upcoming thriller series "The Power" has lost its two leads: Leslie Mann ("This Is 40," 2012) and Tim Robbins ("Castle Rock").

Based on the 2016 sci-fi novel by Naomi Alderman and directed by Emmy winner Reed Morano ("The Handmaid's Tale"), "The Power" imagines the shifting power dynamic that ensues after teenage girls suddenly develop the power to electrocute people at will — an ability that later emerges in older women, too.

An initial run of 10 episodes, which will feature characters and locations around the world, was greenlit in February 2019, and for its first season, the series boasted an all-female writers' room.

Casting-wise, the globe-spanning project didn't have much trouble attracting some familiar faces, with Mann being one of the first to board the series in October 2019. In what would have been her first live-action TV role as a series regular since 1994's "Birdland," Mann had been cast as Margot Cleary-Lopez, a mother of three and the mayor of Seattle.

John Leguizamo ("Encanto," 2021) was tapped to star as Margot's husband, while Rainn Wilson ("The Office") was set to play the role of Daniel Dandon, the governor, who is always at odds with Mann's character.

Production was delayed early on when a planned shoot in Georgia was dropped over the "heartbeat" bill. Just as the casting was being finalized, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything came to a standstill.

By the start of 2021, Wilson, who has several films currently in post-production (including "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story"), became unavailable, and Robbins took over the role, which was scaled back from a series regular to a recurring guest star.

Now, both Robbins and Mann have departed the series, so the two lead roles will have to be recast and reshot.