Wayward Pines: M. Night Shyamalan's Reason for Almost Not Signing on Is Amazing

Fox's newest mini-series airs Thursdays at 9 p.m., and we've got scoop from the director and star Matt Dillon!

By Lauren Piester May 14, 2015 9:00 PMTags
WAYWARD PINES, 2014 Fox New ShowsFrank Ockenfels/FOX

Are you ready for TV's twistiest new show?

Wayward Pines—Fox's newest people-stuck-in-weird-small-town mystery show—premieres tonight, and executive producer M. Night Shyamalan can promise us one thing: the characters are absolutely not dead. In fact, if they were, he wouldn't have even taken on the project.

"I called them and I said, as long as everyone isn't dead, I'll do it," the king of plot twists tells E!'s Kristin Dos Santos. "The answer was 'not dead.'"

Shyamalan is responsible for some of the biggest plot twists in film history, including, perhaps, the biggest one of all, when it was revealed that—spoiler alert!—Bruce Willis had been dead throughout all of The Sixth Sense.

While that twist worked great for that movie, it's nice to hear that the explanation for all the creepiness on Wayward Pines is all due to something totally different.

The show, which was adopted from a novel by Blake Crouch, follows Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) who winds up in a strange small town after a car accident while on the hunt for his missing colleagues, including his ex-partner/lover Kate (Carla Gugino), who had gone to Wayward Pines on assignment and then never came back. 

Watch: M. Night Shyamalan Talks Transition to TV

The nurse at the hospital (Melissa Leo) won't let him leave, and it turns out that the entire town is full of law-abiding weirdos. Terrence Howard plays a town sheriff who really loves ice cream (rum raisin, to be very specific), and Hope Davis plays a teacher who loves high-fives.

"When he arrives, to him, he saw her two weeks ago," Gugino reveals, "To her, she now is married, has been living there for twelve years, and she seems to be the perfect Wayward Pines society woman."

Whaaaat? Color us intrigued!

"It's not something like American Horror Story, which is obviously fantastic and super creepy," Gugino continues. "This is not horror, it's more of a mystery/thriller. It's incredibly character-driven, and sort of beautiful as well."

The cast is also impressively filled with actors who typically stick to movies (if you don't count Howard and Juliette Lewis' other well-received new shows, Empire and Secrets & Lies) which is mostly thanks to Shyamalan's involvement.

"I was very lucky," the director says of the cast led by Dillon. "There was a lot of world class actors that joined on. I basically just casted as if I was casting an independent film."  

Dillon definitely credits Shyamalan with getting him to sign on for the project.

"What he reassured me is that the characters would be grounded and the story would flow out of the characters, even though there is this big structure," Dillon says. "We get to learn this through the character's journey." 

The mini-series is currently set for ten episodes, and that's definitely all we're getting this season, though Shyamalan says he might be open to more.

"If I can go away and I can come up with something equally as strong for the second season, then we'll do it," he tells us. "We're not going to do it just because the opportunity is there."

However, regardless of a potential second season, we can rest assured that there won't be any frustrating cliffhangers here.

"It's a full story from beginning to end," Shyamalan says, although, "What you find out and what you're living with is so provocative that you're gonna want more."

Watch the videos above and below to hear more from Shyamalan, Dillon, and Gugino, and tune into Fox tonight at 9 p.m. to watch the premiere of Wayward Pines!

Watch: "Wayward Pines" Stars Set Up Thrilling New Mini-Series