WonderCon 2015: Courtney K talks WAYWARD PINES with Reed Diamond and EP Donald De Line

In anticipation of the premiere for Wayward Pines, tonight at 9/8c on FOX but still weeks away at the time, I was able to speak to cast member Reed Diamond and Executive Producer Donald De Line about the new event-series thriller during WonderCon 2015.

Donald De Line2Q: Could you explain why you’ve chosen to use Wayward Pines as an event series?
Donald De Line: When I read the book I was originally thinking of it as a movie property and I couldn’t put it down! It’s complex in a great way and deserves to be told in a longer period of time than 2 hours! (An event series) It seemed to be a right fit to keep it authentic to the story. We were lucky that model was becoming popular. I think it comes from the European form and when that came cable and people were getting used to watching them all in sequence at some point if they want to in whatever version they want to, and it’s just a nice thing that dovetailed.

Q: What is the creative process of grabbing the audiences’ attention with a project like this?
DDL: It’s very interesting, something that Night (M. Night Shyamalan directed the pilot) coming from the movie side, and I considered. And it’s very much a slow burn. The big reveal comes 5 hours into the 10. But there’s enough crazy, shocking incidents and twists and turns throughout each episode, but we also thought the audience is used to a different method of story telling now so we’re not going to be an average episodic show with a closed story. We’re serialized and they know it’s a 10 hour and it’s designed that way and I think that people are used to having a little more patience now to ride with things.

Donald De Line1CourtneyK: You do come from “the movie world”, why are you transitioning to television?
DDL: For me it was all about where you can tell stories. The form is so exciting right now, there’s no division in terms of creative talent. Everyone wants to work in both! You can come make a 10 hour series, it doesn’t tie you up for 5-7 years, you can get all kinds of brilliant actors like we did, all kinds of directors who will come work with you. It’s really a creative whole new opportunity, as the movie business shrunk and became more pinnacle movies, branded stuff – comic book stuff, anything really; television became more and more character driven in a really rich way! That’s what it’s all about; where you can do the best work for the material. The first 5 episodes are really all drawn from the first book in the trilogy; the back 5 take from what would become the second book, which didn’t exist yet. The author, Blake Crouch was always having dialogue with our creative team, so it was almost a cross collaboration. He had his own ideas that we would use for that second half of the season, and then our creative team would have ideas that he would put in his second book!

Q: There’s been talk that it’s a lot like or inspired by Twin Peaks?
DDL: (chuckles) well, it’s nothing like Twin Peaks in terms of the story, but what is similar in feeling is there’s what appears to be this bucolic, idealized American town that looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. But what’s underneath the surface are very dark, strange things that are lurking that start to reveal themselves. That’s what’s similar. When Blake Crouch was a kid he watched Twin Peaks and was in love with it, and when they canceled it, he wrote is own season! So it’s literally been a huge inspiration to him, he took the tone and the setting of that and in terms of the story and conceit of what this world is? This is completely original and way different than anything that was every done in Twin Peaks.

Reed Diamond1Q: What was the appeal of the limited series style for you?
Reed Diamond: For me, at the time, that it was limited was definitely appealing; but what was more appealing was that the script was so strong and the cast! I had the pilot script and when I got to the end and just had to know what was going to happen next! I thought, “Well, I’ll find out when I get cast….but what if I don’t get cast???” and I immediately downloaded the first book (which was all that was available at the time) and devoured that thing in 3 hours, I was just sold! The really cool thing is: the mystery is explained early on, but that doesn’t take the air out! It actually just gets the show going! We also had more variety in talented directors than is normal with a situation like this, it’s really incredible!

Reed Diamond2Q: Why should people spend their summer with Wayward Pines?
RD: I tell ya, for network television; this is a cut above. I think it’s accessible to a lot of people. I come from the old days, where I did a show called Homicide back when we used to make cable shows on network, and I think it was one of last ones of that was The West Wing. I think the reason you want to tune in, is to see Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, Terrence Howard, Toby Jones and Carla Gugino all acting together in this really cool world. It’s shot beautifully, the story is really cool and I don’t think you’ll see anything coming! Just watching the trailers, I said, “I’m in that???

Q: You’re playing a very throwback role, a toymaker, what’s he about?
RD: I play Harold Balinger, a mild mannered toymaker who’s married to Kate Hewson, played by Carla Gugino. Yes, it’s a very quaint throwback, and that’s what’s sort of arresting to Matt Dillon who plays an FBI agent, Ethan Burke, when he shows up. We, the town, seem to be another time. We don’t seem to be in 2015, almost like we’ve gone backwards. There’s more woodworking, there’s no television anywhere and what’s going on? So yeah, I’m a toymaker by day and perhaps something else by night (wiggles eyebrows).

WELL! I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to this mysterious Wayward Pines! Will you be watching too?