‘True Detective’s’ Harrelson and McConaughey ... Butch and Sundance?

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey: Who would play Butch and who would play Sundance?
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

You loved them as bickering, brooding crime-solvers in “True Detective.” Could Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson transfer that palpable chemistry to the other side of the law in a remake of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”?

When we spoke recently to McConaughey for an Envelope cover story, it was being reported that the duo was in talks to update the classic 1969 buddy western that starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford. And there was even a wacky bonus rumor: McConaughey wanted Redford to direct!

“That would be fun,” McConaughey says, warming to the subject. “That’s great, man. I’d love Redford to direct.” Pause. “You don’t happen to have his number, do you?”

So, uh, no, a “Butch and Sundance” remake script is not being written as we speak -- or maybe it is (somebody, somewhere, is probably tapping out that piece of fan fiction right now, mixing “True Detective’s” Cohle and Hart with the fabled outlaws while dreaming of the Handsome Family covering “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”), but McConaughey has no knowledge of it.


But he loves the idea of it.

“I’m happy that, from people watching ‘True Detective,’ you get things like, ‘You guys should play Butch and Sundance,’” McConaughey says. “It always felt like two brothers, two partners, even though there was a lot of opposition at times between them.”

“And by the way,” he adds. “I’m taking Sundance. Gives me an excuse to grow the mustache back.”

“True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto understands the motivation behind the “Butch and Sundance” thing since he was inundated with messages from fans and friends begging him to bring McConaughey and Harrelson back for another season.

“I just wanted to tell people, ‘You need to write to Matthew and Woody about that!’ Pizzolatto says. “But, yeah, it’s probably more likely we’d revisit Cohle and Hart than tamper with those ghosts,” he added, referring to Newman and Redford’s roles.

“I can guarantee one thing: We’ll all work together again. I’m just not sure on what.”