EXCL: OREN PELI ON “THE RIVER”: PART 2
The DLB recently sat down with Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli to discuss his TV show The River, amongst other things. This is part two of our discussion:
Have you had any problems with censors yet?
You always deal with the standards & practices, and you have to negotiate with them, how many times can you use a bleeped version of seven word, but it important for us to create a sense of realism so we wanted the characters to be able to curse as they naturally would just the way the intended so we would bleep it out.
And we never really meant to go for too much gore anyways, so that was never our intention so we didn’t experience too many problems with that.
I know the pilot was shot in Puerto Rico but production was then moved to Hawaii. What were the challenges of filming The River in a place where there are no rivers?
That was one of our big concerns and we were lucky enough that we found a little ocean inlet that a little bit of area that looked like a river so we managed to use that.
Why was Bruce Greenwood your top choice to play Emmet Cole?
We just started off: ‘Who could play Emmet Cole?’ And someone mentioned Bruce Greenwood, and it just seemed ‘naturally, yeah. He’s the guy.’ He has that kind of charming look that you can believe that he’s the guy people around the world love to see. But also he’s the kind of really, really talented actor who could play the nuances of someone who had a secret, someone who may know more… He’s not necessarily evil, but he’s got some darkness to him perhaps. And we were just such fans of his work that we knew he could totally pull it off.
And he was very smart in all the discussions we had with him in the beginning. He wasn’t just like ‘oh, I’m getting an offer for a show. Of course I’m going to take it.’ He for weeks was grilling us about the character and the direction of the season. He wanted to know that we know what we’re doing before he commits to it, because he’s taking his work very seriously.
What do you look for directors that you work with?
Well, you want to work with someone who’s kind of a visionary, and the main thing is are they going to be able to create an awesome movie? In both cases, both with James Wan and Rob Zombie, they came to us with their own idea already. So it was not only that we want to work with them, it’s also that we wanted to work on their particular project because we thought ‘wow, this is really cool.’ We loved Insidious, we loved Lords of Salem, and we knew that both James Wan and Rob Zombie can direct it, can get the job done so it became a very easy decision.
What do you like about working on TV?
I think the great thing about this TV show – this is the only thing I’ve ever done on TV – is you’re part of something big. You’re working with a great team that is very supportive with the network and the studio, between Dreamworks and everyone that’s involved. So there’s a sense of you’re accomplishing something that you couldn’t ever do on your own. It’s kind of like very grand scales.
And there’s something about the fact that it gets to people in their own homes. There’s something really cool about that.