Interview with M. Night Shyamalan – Wayward Pines – Part 2

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This is part 2 of my interview with M. Night Shyamalan. Wayward Pines is currently airing on Fox on Thursdays. Tomorrow’s episode, (EP 5) will show us The Truth! Don’t miss it!


Q: I was curious if you could tell us a little bit about what you feel will resonate the most with viewers. I think it’s much more terrifying that this is based in reality. What are a few reasons that you feel the series will resonate well with the viewers?

Night: Okay, just one of a few reasons… I do believe that it has, hopefully, a cinematic quality to it. I hope. And by that I mean maybe an attention to the camera work and a pacing that might be more akin to what you might see in film. Certainly the cast in general was a cast that you might see more in film. It’s a giant, giant idea. It’s a big idea. It’s like one of those Jurassic Park kind of ideas and I can’t take any credit for that. That’s all Blake. And I’m super lucky to be able to be the one to shepherd it to the audiences. You’re lucky to come across big ideas like that that are both human and gigantic at the same time.

I think our format is really unusual. It excited me in making it. I wasn’t once like oh, we’re making this show still? The thing that I think is really amazing for audiences in that the show changes genres halfway through the season. I don’t even tell you what genre you’re watching for a long time and that’s exciting. And the kind of storytelling I love. Which is you can sense the hand of the filmmakers and so you trust them and you’re going to go somewhere but you don’t necessarily know where you’re going but you know you’re confidently being held.

I also think that finding out all the answers halfway through the series is an amazing thing I think for audience members. Then to change genres and realize what genre you’re in for the second half, and I can almost argue that it changes into a third genre in the last couple episodes.

Q: I saw the first five episodes and the fifth one is a real mindblower. You’re right; it seems like it’s going in one direction and then when you see the fifth it’s like holy cow, I did not see that coming at all. So it’s really good seeing. It really makes me look forward to seeing the last five episodes. My question for you is the show is filmed in I think in 2013, and it was supposed to air in 2014. What was the reason for the delay? Was it a timing thing where Fox wanted to present it at particular time period? Was there a change in the story?

Night: You know what, it was—you know this is my first time in television, so I didn’t really have the kind of opinion that I would have about a movie saying hey this should be June, this should be September, this should be—it feels like an April thing. It’s newish to me. The way it was expressed to me was because it’s an event series that this slot which they did 24 in is the big slot—it’s like to some extent counter programming in a wonderful way.With all the reality television out there and the summer and all, this would be the big real scripted thing to go and really cause a ruckus. So it was a feeling like this was a homerun swing, to go for it. And then the way they wanted to launch it all on the same day all around the world I’m sure had something to do with it as well. They’ve treated us very special, the show very special and with great confidence. So that’s a good answer. I didn’t really have any other information other than that and we took full advantage of it too. Of course, they gave me time to fiddle and they sent me the queue, and do this, and how about this, and then of course I’m like can I go pick this shot up? Is it okay if I get this little line from this person? So it benefited everybody and also it gave us a chance to show it to you guys early. So it feels really good timing-wise now. It wasn’t like we were twiddling our thumbs. It really felt like we finished it and then we started promoting it very beautifully and, hopefully, we’ll find a place where we can find our audience.

Q: I was wondering if you could talk about your movie. You have a movie coming out right, at the end of this year?

Night: Yes. It’s called The Visit for Universal. Super, super excited. It was a wonderful thing. I made a small movie that I went and did—I do all my movies here in Philadelphia—but went and made it myself quietly and my number one choice is Universal and showed it to them and they wanted it and they loved it and then we finished it together. It has been such a fun and wonderful time. I’m really excited for audiences to see that movie. My producer is Jason Blum, a super smart guy, and just had such a great time. I’m really excited about it. I feel super proud about the TV show and the movie. So a fun year, a fun year coming up.

Q: I am so happy to welcome you to TV. You’re pretty well known for your symbolism in a lot of your films. Would you say that there’s symbolism in Wayward Pines and what is it?

Night: Thank you.  If I told you it would no longer be symbolism. It would be literal. But there’s definitely a lot of hopes in there in terms of the colors and themes. I hired directors to do each of the subsequent episodes. We have a little, kind of like a guide book that we put together as saying this is what the filmic language is, at least the way I was thinking of it. I wasn’t stringent at all with them. I really implored them to make their episodes their own because I hired them for their particular muscles. Some of them are more muscular than me. Some of them are more kinetic or can handle a particular type of storytelling much better than I can and that’s why I hired them. I didn’t want them to copy me. But I did have kind of a guide book like hey if you used artificial light in this capacity it has this connotation, so that’s one. The way we use light is indicative of what’s going on in the plot. I’m trying to dance around the answer there. Sorry about that. But I didn’t impose as much as I would do like say on one of my thrillers where I would say the color purple means this. It represents the woman that passed away in Signs for example or something like that, a very specific thing.  But maybe after the show is done, one day you and I will talk and I can tell you more specific this meant this and this meant that. Some I did. I didn’t want to be too suffocating to the filmmakers coming in in terms of hey you’ve got to use this wardrobe or that or this color only. But there were suggestions in the guidebook. It was definitely an honor for me to enter television with this cast and crew and with this network and studio. I’m a very, very lucky guy, so I hope you guys enjoy it.

I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Night! It was an honor to be able to do it and keep watching Wayward Pines.


Here is a Trailer for Night’s Newest Film: The Visit

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Donna Cohrs