‘True Detective’ Season 4 Stars on Leah & Kayla’s ‘Connection’: ‘They’re Both a Little Lonely’ (Exclusive)

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In the midst of the ongoing murder mystery in True Detective: Night Country, Detective Liz Danvers and rookie cop Peter Prior have a lot going on at home. Liz is juggling the case and her stepdaughter Leah, while Peter has wife Kayla and their son at home. Hollywood Life spoke exclusively with Isabella Star LeBlanc and Anna Lambe about the complicated dynamics at play in Leah and Kayla’s lives.

“Just from the first episode, Leah and Liz’s relationship is just so painful because they’re just not able to see each other, and they’re not able to be there for each other,” Isabella said. “And they both desperately need it. It’s kind of crazy for me as an actor to see the whole series as opposed to just the little snippets of it that I’m in. It’s really painful to see how much Liz does talk about Leah and how much Leah weighs heavy on her. Because I think from Leah’s perspective, Liz doesn’t care, that Leah is a burden, that she’s this thing that’s been offloaded onto Liz because of this tragedy. To Leah, she thinks that Liz would be happier and would prefer if she wasn’t raising this kid. But when you watch the show, you see that’s not necessarily the case, and you just so badly want for them to hug each other and just look each other in the eyes and say, I love you. We love each other. But it’s tough for them.”

From the get-go, Peter wants to make a good impression at work. He’s constantly being torn between Danvers and his dad Hank Prior. His work-life balance is a struggle, and Kayla’s not afraid to call him out on it.

Anna Lambe with Finn Bennett in ‘True Detective’ season 4. (HBO)

“I think Kayla personally already has kind of a whole feeling around Prior being a cop,” Anna admitted. “We both committed to a life together and to a child, and I wanted a life outside of Ennis as well. And now I’m just been completely abandoned by my husband as he tries to make his boss and his dad happy. It is quite a feeling of you’re screaming and nobody hears you. It was a really interesting dynamic to play and to go through all of it and sit down and really kind of talk about where all the tensions in the relationship come from before we started filming because it was a lot of completely different perspectives and then collaborating to make it something cohesive.”

Anna noted that Kayla is “trying to be supportive” of her husband’s “commitment” to his job “because that’s how you provide for your family. When you don’t have many other options in a small town, you kind of have to deal with what you have. There’s a lot of compassion and like, I’m trying to understand, but I need you to meet me halfway.”

In the second episode of season 4, Leah spends time at Kayla and Peter’s place. When Liz arrives to pick her up, she is furious to find Leah with kakiniit markings on her face. Isabella admitted that Leah is yearning to learn more about her culture, and Kayla wants to give her that opportunity. In the ongoing absence of key figures in their life, Leah and Kayla’s “connection” will grow stronger.

“They’re both a little lonely, and they’re both needing more connection and wanting more connection,” Isabella told Hollywood Life. “So it does make me grateful that they at least have each other, especially for Leah. I think Kayla and her family are just this invaluable resource and this invaluable source of connection. I think that if Leah was just being raised by Liz Danvers, she would be so lost, and she desperately needs that cultural grounding and to have that knowledge shared with her. I think there’s so much power just in that little scene of that’s kind of the most connection you see Leah get, and it’s at Kayla’s house.”

Anna added, “Kayla being raised by her grandmother and grounded and rooted in culture and identity, she’s wanting to protect the younger generation and give them a safe place to reclaim and reconnect. Given the reality of reconnection within our communities because of how colonialism has taken us away from our identities, you want every generation to have a more comfortable and more supportive experience. I feel like Kayla definitely has this sort of motherly figure in terms of culture and identity that she knows Danvers can’t give to Leah. So it’s that protective, don’t mess with her. There are things you’ll never understand.”

Isabella Star LaBlanc in ‘True Detective’ season 4. (HBO)

Initially, it seemed like Leah was a bit of a troublemaker, but Isabella doesn’t think that’s true. “I think Leah is kind of the most emotionally stable one of these characters,” the actress said. “I actually think that for a teenager, she’s got some pretty amazing emotional regulation. She’s had a lot of trauma in her life, so I think there’s part of her that knows how to detach and knows how to compartmentalize and kind of knows where her priorities are, and it’s not this weird, crazy case that her stepmom is working on.”

True Detective: Night Country is putting Indigenous women center stage. For Anna, a Canadian Inuk actress, this is an “incredibly beautiful” moment. “It’s so incredible and so meaningful and something that I look back on with so much pride,” Anna said. “The first season of True Detective is very male-dominated, and to be part of this new season and have women lead behind the camera and in front of the camera, and every female character in the story is somebody who stands in their power and is a force in some way in the story, is incredibly beautiful. I know when I worked with Issa [López] for some of my scenes, I was approaching Kayla a little bit more soft and tenderly. I was thinking, oh, she’s just a bit sad because her husband is always gone. Issa was like, ‘No, Kayla’s strong. Kayla’s protective of her family. She knows what she wants.’ The point of this story is that the women are powerful. The women hold the power and the women are the pushers of the story, and it feels like that translates in so many ways. It makes me really excited for how this show will impact the industry and Indigenous representation and meaningful representation going forward.” New episodes of True Detective: Night Country air Sundays on HBO and Max.

Sourse: hollywoodlife.com

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