It’s a spoiler alert that really doesn’t spoil anything: Producers of Fox’s 10-episode “event series” Wayward Pines say the “big reveal” comes in the middle of the series, rather than at the end. But they won’t say what it is.
“Good old Episode 5,” joked Matt Dillon, who portrays Special Agent Ethan Burke in the series. Because the series has announced a launch in 125 countries on the same day, producers are predicting an audience of 200 million.
Dillon joined executive producer/director M. Night Shyamalan, executive producer Chad Hodge and cast members Shannyn Sossamon, Carla Gugino, and Melissa Leo on today’s TCA panel. Shyamalan readily acknowledges that the eerie series, set in apparently-idyllic Wayward Pines, Idaho, takes a cue from Twin Peaks.
Shyamalan said that Blake Crouch, the author of the book series on which the TV project is based, has also acknowledged his admiration for Twin Peaks.
Moving from film to serialized TV feels good, says Shyamalan. Although his films are known for nifty “reveals” at the end, he said in some ways he regrets that today’s theatrical film climate demands cutting to the chase too quickly. He says he’d like to do a feature length film that ends at the first act, reflecting the pace of some films made in the ‘60s and ‘70s. “That is where my leaning is. (Today the pressure is) to get to the fricking boat sinking,” Shyamalan said. “I love to do the dinner table scene.”
Because the project went into production after the first book in the series, producers said there has been a lot of cross-pollination between the two efforts. Shyamalan joked that he got involved because when he read the pilot script in bed “I didn’t understand how any of this could make sense…as long as everybody isn’t dead, I’m in.”
The two producers seemed to differ a bit on whether a successful summer run would launch a second “event” series. “Bring it on,” said Hodge. Shyamalan said he wants to wait to see if more story feels organic before committing.
Earlier at TCA, Gary Newman and Dana Walden, chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group responded to questions about Terrence Howard, who appears in Wayward Pines and the new Fox series Empire. Off-screen, Howard has been accused of violence toward women.
After the session Hodge took the high road when asked his feelings about having Howard in the cast. Hodge said he did not know about the accusations during production but as a producer his job is “to really focus on the work. It’s not my job to find out what’s true and what’s not.”
Howard was not part of this panel but is slated to appear on the panel for Empire later today.