This one sort of goes hand in hand with Jim Jarmush as Dream Director; Tom Waits has appeared multiple Jarmush films, including Down By Law, Mystery Train, and Coffee and Cigarettes. Waits’ acting roles tend to come in the form of show-stealing cameo appearances rather than lead lead performances, and his characters are often societal misfits of some sort. A series like True Detective screams for a presence that only Tom Waits can bring — a serious role with hints of the surreal.
For examples, we could simply start and stop as his role as the deranged Renfield in the 1992 adaptation of Dracula. Under the control of Dracula himself, Waits’ Renfield is in turns comedic, tragic, and marvelously unhinged. It’s a role that helped to, at least temporarily, force him back into popular consciousness and is worth seeing even if you’re not a fan of some of Coppola’s adaptation choices.
Or the tragically miscast Keanu Reeves, for that matter. Just terrible.
Apart from acting on screen, Waits has carefully crafted a stage persona that is in parts drunk doomsday poet and macabre circus ringleader. With or without Jarmush at the helm, Waits would be a perfect fit for True Detective.
Although he’s not young enough to lead things, even a cameo could bring a sort of delicious madness to season two. Waits is still an active actor, so it’s not entirely out of the question for him to make an appearance this season or in future seasons if the stars align.
Frankly, if you’re even a little familiar with Tom Waits — and if you’re not, you are hereby instructed to remedy that — there’s simply no way that you could disagree.