• Matt Dillion and Melissa Leo star in 10-episode FOX thriller
• Only rule Shyamalan had was the characters couldn’t be all dead
• Series will debut in 125 countries
M. Night Shyamalan✔ makes his television mini-series debut as producer of the “Twin Peaks”-like “ Wayward Pines.” He’s also directed one of the 10 episodes in the summer series based on Blake Crouch's international best-selling series of books.
Matt Dillon plays a Secret Service agent trying to find two missing federal agents that leads him to a strange location. The 10-episode FOX thriller also features Melissa Leo, Toby Jones, Juliette Lewis and Terrence Howard.
Shyamalan is best known as the director of “The Sixth Sense,” “Signs” and “After Earth.” Here’s what he has to say about the TV production.
Question: Your movies are known for their twist endings. Should one be expected here?
Answer: One of the first things we talked about is if there are books out there and would that change anything. Would there be the people that went and read it and would know what’s going on, and would that be a bad thing or a good thing? It’s something, I think, that’s going to be a real asset for us, because as you watch the show, and if you love the show, you’ll go back and read the books, and there are differences in the book and the show.
How hard is it to do TV when your projects are usually two hours and then a surprise ending?
It was daunting and challenging and intimidating. I have so much respect for people who do TV shows. It’s incredible the amount of long-form thinking and the amount of immediate storytelling that you need to get out, and churn out at a high level, and constantly be thinking about where it’s going. It’s an incredible art form, one that I was just learning and had to train new muscles.
Why was his the project to bring you to TV?
When they sent me the script, and I finished the pilot. I was in bed. I remember exactly when I was reading. I was reading in bed, and my wife was coming to bed, and I had the little lamp on and I finished it. It was 60 some pages and I finished it and I didn’t understand how any of this could make sense, all of these things. But I had one question in mind, so I got on the phone, called everyone, and I said, “All right, I just finished it. As long as everybody isn’t dead, I’m in, so just tell me.”
How different was it than making a film?
When you’re doing TV, you don’t know the end right? So you’re vamping to some extent. Then you’re coming up with wonderfully creative ideas, but they may actually corner you and you don’t have an end anymore. In this thing, there was a real definitive place it was going, and so all the puzzle pieces fit perfectly.
Is the structure different from the way you make films other than it’s 10 hours long?
The thing for me about the show is that halfway through the season, it becomes an entirely different genre, and I find that awesome. For me in particular, the thing that draws me to making movies and the ones I write is like slamming two genres together that shouldn’t be together and kind of how they can be complementary. In this one, it literally is you think you’re watching one genre and then it flips to the other genre. It has equal muscles in both genres, so you’re referencing muscles from one genre and we have other muscles yet to be shown.”
Any concern this is launching as a summer show rather than in the fall?
I felt from them this incredible confidence in this show that made them want to swing for the fences. And I have always had a sense of feeling honored by that and a sense of feeling intimidated by that. They are going to release it in the biggest biggest way ever for any TV show in 125 countries on the same day. They are expecting 200 million people to see it.