Straight From Hollywood
Film star Matt Dillon tackles mystery and conspiracy theories in his first TV series lead role in Wayward Pines.
Wayward Pines is a once-off, limited-edition series – only 10 episodes are planned and there
will be no season 2.
Season 1 Thursdays FOX 21:00
There’s something very weird going on in Wayward Pines (2015- current) – Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) can’t seem to escape the small town where it’s not clear who’s an enemy and who’s an ally. As the mystery unfolds, Ethan’s got his instincts and a few simple instructions to go on: don’t talk about your past, don’t try to leave and always answer if you cellphone rings… What fascinated you about Wayward Pines? I think that good mystery writers are a little paranoid. They go right to the dungeon and I have a tendency to do just that. I like really dark, interesting stories. I thought that this had the potential because, when I read the first two episodes, that’s all I knew. I was really interested in the guy’s background, his history, his trauma and how he ended up here. How much of this was something in his mind and how much was real. I felt like it was a really good yarn, like a good book.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were afraid of losing your mind and
how did you figure it out? I try not to think about it too much because then I realise that I am losing my mind [Laughs]. The beauty of acting is that we get to play these characters and live in temporary worlds.
Did you ask to read the entire season
before committing? No. It’s a tricky balance. For the beginning of the show, it’s very subjective from Ethan’s standpoint. I didn’t need to get too far ahead of what was going to happen because I was learning stuff about my character as my character was discovering stuff himself. I was involved in conversations with the creators and writers of the show and you have to know that things will be revealed to you as the season progresses. Creatively, you have to let the characters speak to you. I know the trajectory but only the first couple of shows have been written.
You can tell that this is a weird town immediately, so did shooting in a little
town in Canada help that? It’s great that we did. It was the right atmosphere. The town doesn’t have any weirdness of Wayward Pines, but it has an atmosphere being surrounded by the mountains and this “feeling”. I’ve never lived in a small town. Wayward Pines is a town where nothing is quite real, which is interesting – there’s the question of what is real and what is truthful. The word that kept coming up was “verisimilitude”, which is the appearance of truth. The town is not designed by God’s hand.
Most towns aren’t. Yes, but there is something about Wayward Pines. The process of how it came to be was not necessarily an organic one.
What about the weather? There was a lot of mist and rain and sometimes the director would say, “I think this scene needs rain,” and he’d bring in rain towers and we were looking at each other going, “Why do we need rain towers? It’s raining enough.” We had plenty of the real stuff!
You look great for a 51-year-old. How do
you maintain your good looks? I hope my father doesn’t take this the wrong way, but I got my mother’s genes because she looks great and has aged well. My father, on the other hand, isn’t vain so it doesn’t matter [Laughs]. But right now I hurt my back so I’m not going to sit and complain about it, but my back feels like it’s about 96 years old. But overall I try to stay in shape, although that’s not on the table right now. I try to keep youthful mentally. I don’t try to do anything but stay young at heart. It’s good to have playfulness.
Matt with his co-star Juliette Lewis, who plays the mysterious Beverly.