Aaron Guzikowski is probably used to critics wondering “what kind of sick, twisted mind” (LAT) could dream up his dark, psychological thrillers, like Prisoners and Sundance’s new drama series The Red Road.
“You’re an affable guy” one TV critic noted with surprise this morning Guzikowski came to Winter TV Press Tour 2014 to talk about the Sundance project debuting February 27. The critic wondered how such an affable guy could “relish your darker side” and asked him to speak about this “passion.”
“For darkness? I came from a pretty happy upbringing, but my mother was obsessed with horror novels and my father with science fiction,” he responded, affably. “Horror and darkness always felt comfortable to me — an escape from the banalities of things that drag me down. There’s something kind of beautiful about it.”
Expanding on his theme, Guzikowski said, “I like darkness — but I also like happy endings. I like putting characters through the wringer but, at the end of the day, I like my characters and like to see them do right by themselves after putting them through hell — that’s the key.”
The Red Road — a six episode order — is Sundance’s second original scripted series. The thriller centers around local sheriff (Martin Henderson) as he struggles to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up just outside of New York City, and the neighboring mountains — home of a federally unrecognized Native American tribe. After a tragedy and cover-up, an uneasy alliance is forged between the officer and a dangerous member of the tribe, and the lives of both unravel, leading to terrible consequences.
This morning, New Zealander Henderson got asked about playing an American in this particular series, given its subject matter. Henderson said it wasn’t such a stretch, explaining to the journalist New Zealand’s ongoing struggle between its indigenous Maori population and the colonizers. Besides, he said, “most of the leading men on Hollywood are from New Zealand and Australia these days.”