Interview

Interview

Exclusive: 'Paranormal Activity' Creator Oren Peli on Bringing Horror to TV with 'The River'

Oren Peli's been batting four for four with three hit Paranormal Activity movies and Insidious to his credit so it makes perfect sense that ABC greenlit the writer-director-producer's first ever television series The River. Premiering on February 7, The River is the tale of explorer/TV personaility Emmet Cole, played by Bruce Greenwood (pictured above), who goes missing while traveling deep in the Amazon, and whose family goes in search of him, with a documentary crew in tow. What should interest horror fans is that the area of the Amazon they're searching is the Bermuda Triangle of the Amazon... I recently had the chance to chat briefly with Peli, and I asked him a few questions about what promises to be one of 2012's most exciting new shows. Find out what Peli had to say about The River after the jump.

I asked Peli whether each episode of The River will be self-contained or a chapter in the show's ongoing story. "It's a little of both," he explained. "Each episode has its own story that has some sort of a beginning a middle and an end. But at the same time it propels the main arc of the season, which is the search for the missing nature show host, and trying to uncover what's going on in this mysterious part of the Amazon."

"We're trying to have both interesting characters and very compelling stories that develop throughout the season, but also we want to give the audience very scary episodes every week. It definitely presents some challenges, but we're very happy with the way things have been turning out so far."

Regarding the show's genesis and how he went about developing a horror series for television, Peli remarked, "The development process with [co-creator] Michael Perry was very long, and Dreamworks was involved during the process. It was just a lot of bouncing ideas back and forth. It was a combination of what makes sense, because when you're dealing with the issue of the supernatural and the paranormal, it's a very fine line between keeping things scary and keeping things campy. So we were all just very careful that things stay very scary. Any time we go to places of wonder, we don't try and go overboard. The other really fun thing was to make sure that everything is grounded in the characters and the relationships that are developed on the boat during the search. They're going through this very intimate, personal ordeal of a family that's being torn apart... The one thing I should also mention is that we brought on board Michael Green, who co-wrote the teleplay and has become the show-runner. He has been instrumental in writing the pilot and overseeing the episodes for the rest of the season. He's another important member of the writing process."

"I never really believed it was going to happen," said the still surprised Peli, "and we just kept going one step at a time, and with every step we said, 'Oh, this is as far as we're gonna go.' Then we had a deal with Dreamworks and a deal with ABC; and then they were ordering the pilot and then they were ordering the season. It was one step after the other."

Peli remained silent, however, on exactly what role his Paranormal Activity star Katie Featherston will have on The River...

"I'll just say that it's really, really awesome to have her involved in another project. But I don't want to get into any details about her character, because that's something that happens further down the season. So let's keep it a surprise."

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