A+E Network’s new drama series The Returned follows a small town whose lives are rocked when their deceased loved ones begin reappearing. The whole notion of the dead, coming back alive, and being thrusted back into people’s day-to-day lives was a challenge for The Returned cast to grasp. Said star Jeremy Sisto, who plays a grief-support therapist on the show, “(As an actor) How do you react to something that is not possible? It’s difficult to say what a natural reaction would be. It’s hard to know if you did a good job after shooting a scene, because there’s nothing to compare it to in your own life.” The show is based on the International Emmy-winning French suspense series which was adapted by Fabrice Gobert and inspired by the film Les Revenants.
When Sisto was asked what he would do if a loved one came back from the dead, he quipped, “I would call the police.”
He further added, “I’d call somebody, maybe a good novelist or the Guinness Book of World Records. Emotionally, it would be an upheaval. When you lose somebody, it rocks your world in such a way that the ground you stand on becomes uncertain. Anything revolving around death is such a mystery, entangling it with people coming back to life would only further complicate it.”
Said actor Mark Pellegrino who plays a rugged father that loses his twin daughters on the series, “Each character experiences a unique way in which the people in their lives come back. Everyone deals with shock in different ways.”
Said actress India Ennenga who plays a twin to Pellegrino’s father who comes back from the dead, “What complicates the idea of people coming back from the dead is you don’t know how they’re going to act. It’s nice to wish that my grandparents were back, but if they don’t react warmly, it can lead to a lot of issues.”
The Returned‘s executive producers Carlton Cuse and Raelle Tucker emphasized that they weren’t out to fix or amend the French version of the show. “The starting point is similar, but our show becomes quite different around episode 6 where in the French version it becomes quite genre and incident heavy at episode 8,” said Cuse. He further mentioned that the FremantleMedia French series is “working independently on season two currently. Our show going forward will be wholly original.”
When asked about The Returned‘s similarity to Lost in its mysterious intrigue, Cuse said, “The show is a mosaic like Lost. We’re filling in tiles but not in a straight order. The weave of the characters is how the projects are similar.”
Also appearing at the panel Friday morning were stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Sandrine Holt as well as EP Raelle Tucker. The Returned is produced by A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America in association with Haut et Court TV SAS, the producer of the French series. EPs in addition to Cuse and Tucker are Thom Beers, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk for FremantleMedia North America.