M. Night Shyamalan, who had a surprise reveal in his film "The Sixth Sense," says he feels envious about the plot twist in his new TV series, "Wayward Pines."
Shyamalan told Blake Crouch - who wrote the book "Pines" on which the series is based - "that if people mistakenly think that I wrote it, I'm not going to dissuade them. I'm just going to go with it," he said with a laugh in a recent interview.
Shyamalan is the executive producer of the 10-episode miniseries that premiered Thursday on Fox.
Matt Dillon stars as a Secret Service agent who arrives in a tiny, picturesque Idaho town (that could be called Creepyville, USA) to investigate a case, but learns he can't leave. No one can. And breaking the rules and trying to escape or talking about the past can be deadly.
Cast members also include Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Toby Jones and Juliette Lewis. Shyamalan said that after casting Dillon, it was Leo's role that helped shape his vision of the series.
"There's a part of a nurse, kind of like Nurse Ratched (from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"), and I was unsure how to cast it. When I heard Melissa Leo's name I totally understood how to do the entire show.
"... Everybody said yes and it just snowballed into this incredible cast of world-class actors," he said.
Making the leap from the big screen to the small one wasn't easy. The pace is faster, which Shyamalan is candid about having difficulty with.
"There was a big moment where I asked Fox, 'Can we just stop? Can we just take a pause for a second?'" he said. "They were so gracious. It was all me with a sense of learning how to do this."
Shyamalan said he and the writers worked on the last half of the show for about six weeks. "Hopefully that will account for the fact that there wasn't a lull or a dip, but a real escalation in the series to the end," he said.
Dillon, whose films include "The Outsiders," "Beautiful Girls" and "There's Something About Mary," recalls a time when accepting a TV role seemed like a big gamble.
"Television for a long time, let's be honest, was very restrictive, both creatively and schedule-wise. It didn't make a lot of sense," he said. "If you're making a decision to go to work based on a three-month schedule (for a film), why would you say, `I'm going to commit for four years and I don't know what it is.' It felt somewhat compromised.
"But now that's not the case. It's actually kind of the opposite from television. All they care about (with film) is: Is a character likable? And that's not important. What's important is: Is the character engaging?"
Howard said TV roles are more financially rewarding.
"You realize the money is in TV," said Howard, who also stars in the Fox series "Empire." "The retirement is TV. Now I've got two shows and hopefully one of them will pay off and my kids will have the retirement because the parents never really get it. It's the kids who inherit the farm."