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#SDCC16: Falling Water Producers Explain How the Dream-Centric Show Came to Be

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At San Diego Comic-Con this past July, there were many shows present that enchanted the minds of modern television viewers. “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is getting a second season, “American Gods” will soon grace our TV screens, and the popular “Mr. Robot” has already started airing its second season. Brought to us by the same network as the latter (USA), “Falling Water” promises to be the next biggest (and possibly weirdest) thing on the small screen.

“Falling Water” is a series about three unrelated people slowly realizing they’re dreaming separate parts of the same dream. All are on a journey that can only be completed with the help of their subconscious through their dreams. A full synopsis of the show can be found at the end of this article, but for now, let’s move on to what we found out at Comic-Con.

We got the chance to talk to executive producers Blake Masters and Gale Anne Hurd to find out more about this mysterious new series.

First was Masters, who also co-wrote the pilot episode with the late Henry Bromell. Blake had more to say about his experiences with Henry.

Falling WaterBlake Masters: Henry Bromell and I were doing “Brotherhood” in 2006. And both our mothers were actually Jungian therapists, so the idea of
collective unconscious was sort of kicking around in both our heads. And Henry once pitched me the idea of, “You know, what if our dreams were actually an expression of a Jungian collective unconscious?” I thought that was really cool. And then at my bachelor dinner when I was getting married, I was really drunk. Henry was sitting next to a friend of mine, and I said, “Tell him about that idea!” And he said, “Well, what if our dreams are really all connected?” And I said (excitedly), “Henry, that’s a show! We should make that a show!”

And in 2008 during the writers’ strike, we were bored. So we wrote the pilot that you just saw [at the “Falling Water” panel], and it was bonkers, and we didn’t know what to do with it. So we worked on other things; we worked on that last season of “Brotherhood.” He went off and did “Rubicon” and then “Homeland.” I went off and shot 2 Guns and “Law & Order: LA.” And we had this script that we loved!

He continued to explain further how “Falling Water” came to fruition.

Blake: Then I had a meeting with Gale Anne Hurd, and she said, “What do you have?” I said, “Well, I’ve got this crazy script.” She read it, and she fell in love with it and said, “I want to be  involved in this project.” She came on board, and she had a couple of small notes for us. Henry and I sat down on a Wednesday and had lunch to figure out how to do all the notes in about three minutes because that’s the way we worked. And we were going to wait until Monday to divvy up the work.

Falling WaterHis wife emailed me and said Henry was under the weather and he couldn’t do the call. I got a call later that night; he had passed away from an aortic rupture. I didn’t touch the script for a year.

A year later I had to do it; I had to finish it. I finished it, went back to Gale, and said, “I want to do this show.” Gale said, “This is terrific; let’s get a director on board.” And the first person we really went to was Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, whose work on Intacto I just thought was spectacular. He and I sat down and talked about the show a little bit, and he said, “Hey, let me send you some images,” and he sent me a pdf of about 60 images. He said, “I think this is what the show is. What are your notes?” I wrote back and said I have one note: “Yes!”

Juan instinctively understood what the show should look like, what it should feel like; he was a tremendous collaborator. And then we went out and sold it to USA, who was looking to move more in that sort of direction of different and weird and new and special, and here we are.

When asked to explain the concept of “Falling Water” further, Blake had a unique metaphor to explain the basis of the show.

Blake: The premise [of “Falling Water”] is really simple. The premise is: What if all of our individual dreams are like tiles in one grand mosaic we’re all dreaming together? Only most of us can’t see beyond the boundaries of our little tile. Well, what if there were some people who could wander out of their tile into your tile? Think of a time you had a bad dream, and you woke up in a bad mood. Or you had a good dream and woke up in a good mood. Well, what if you could wander into somebody else’s dream and make it good or bad?

So within that premise, which is really inspired a lot by Haruki Murakami, a Japanese novelist I love, and also by, well, all the surrealists ever, the vibe of the show is people on a quest in a world where their dreams are where half of the drama takes place. In our world, a scene that happens in a dream is just as dramatically important as a waking scene. The idea is the landscape of dreaming and waking are like a Venn diagram. The problem for our characters is they begin to cross over and get confusing in the middle. So the vibe is this slow immersion into a world that we really want to be a part of.

In the synopsis for “Falling Water,” it is mentioned that the characters’ lives may all be at stake near the end. Someone asked if that meant a world-ending event taking place. Blake’s answer was very definitive.

Blake: We’re not having them save the world, no, no, no. But I do think the stakes will be high. I think you’ll get a sense that there are larger forces at play. The danger with these kinds of shows is if you make the first season about saving the world, then what do you do in the second season? I think the show always needed to be grounded in the emotional truth of these people. My idea is that we’ve seen the best “Breaking Bad” there will ever be, we’ve seen the best “Mad Men,” but that premium cable, character-driven idea is still there; it just needs a new evolution. And the evolution is to take it to a place that, for lack of a better word, has a little bit of magic in it. That’s why I think “Game of Thrones” has resonated. That’s why we’re taking something that feels very grounded and character-driven and very cinematic also. That’s the understated thing about all these shows; they’re incredibly cinematic. So we’re creating the next evolution of that family of shows and adding in a little bit of surrealism and magic, whatever you want to call it. It’s real, grounded people having a surreal experience.

Falling Water

Someone asked how “Falling Water” plans to navigate the fine line between surreal and confusing. Blake was quick to explain.

Blake: In Episodes 2 and 3 we have to make the audience trust us. We have to establish a clear grammar for the audience. These are the shots and style of shots we use when someone is dreaming—this is what we use when they’re awake. It’s so that they understand the style of the dreaming and waking. That way we can blur them more in later episodes because the audience is fluent in the grammar of the show. After the cold bath of the pilot, we’re going to slowly immerse the audience into the idea of: watch the person fall asleep, the person having a dream experience, that dream resonating in their waking life. And slowly, step by step, we do that. So then you go to the next step when things get a little weirder and things start crossing over between dreams. The line between dreaming and waking can get a little fuzzy next. But you have to do this organically, slowly, in a way that the audience doesn’t get confused. We don’t want to trick audiences in this show. There’s never going to be a scene where someone walks down a hall, gets shot in the chest, bang, bang, bang, they fall over, and then wake up from a dream. That’s not our show; we’re never going to play that trick on audiences. We don’t do that; that’s not our grammar. We want you to know what’s a dream and what’s awake.

When asked what further seasons could bring for “Falling Water,” Blake referenced the small amount of lead characters in Season 1.

Blake: In a second/third season, by necessity our focus would expand; we’d build out a world. For this first season, ten episodes wasn’t a lot of episodes; that’s not a lot of road. So we decided to focus on these three people and how this journey of discovery is affecting them. The people around them are also affected by it, so we created a landscape, and in Season 2 we can add those people to the landscape. Because it’s not a show about, “The world’s going to blow up on Saturday the 14th!,” it’s easy to say, “This person’s story is really interesting so let’s make them part of it.” I think eventually we will expand the number of people in our universe. But with only ten episodes to do this season, the important thing is to hang with our three leads, and each of them are really compelling on screen.

The next question was how the actors were chosen for the show. Blake had an entertaining answer.

Blake: They’re all dreamers. It’s actually one of the funnier things that happened in auditions. We sat through audition after audition after audition, and we could tell after five seconds. There were some people we liked, and some people we didn’t. We realized there are certain people who are dreamers, and some people who aren’t. There’s this weird natural vibe that people give off. There were great actors who came in, whose work that I loved, and it was like, “No, they’re not a dreamer.”

All the people we chose had that ability to make you feel that their dreams would be compelling and that they were connecting to their dreams. In the case of Lizzie [Brocheré], who plays Tess, her audition consisted of her self-taping on vacation in a yurt somewhere; I don’t even know where. She self-taped one time, did one take on each of the two scenes, sent it to me, and I cast her off of that. I’d never met her, never called her back in, I just took that tape and said I want to cast this person. She was just that character.

Falling Water

Next up to chat at our table was Gale Anne Hurd, who is well-known for her experience executive producing for major titles like Terminator and “The Walking Dead.” She was asked why USA seemed like the right fit for “Falling Water.” Her response referenced another of USA’s series.

Gale: It’s much easier telling people, “Why now?” because of “Mr. Robot.” We didn’t know that USA was going to be the home of a show as compelling, interesting, and timely as “Mr. Robot.” But they knew where they wanted to go, and “Falling Water” fit into that framework. If we got the pilot right, there was a good shot that they would feel the audience that enjoyed “Mr. Robot” would find this story compelling, yet very different.

When asked what drew her to “Falling Water,” Gale referenced the script co-written by Blake Masters and Henry Bromell.

Gale: I was lucky because there was already a set script. It’s really a producer’s dream to have a full script already made. I was able to read it and say, “This is a journey I want to go on, but at the end of the day, I’m too old. I’ve done too many things. It’s got to be the right people.” There’s Blake, who knows where the series is going and who can tell me. He knows how to bring it to life. Everyone was on the same page; that’s when I knew it was going to be okay.

Falling Water“Falling Water” is a brand new series to the world. So of course there had to be different anxieties and assurances that come with a new series. Gale explained further what those were.

Gale: [“Falling Water”] was very different. Obviously with “The Walking Dead” there was already an existing comic book and a huge fan base. The concern when we brought “The Walking Dead” to Comic-Con for the first time was the fear that we’d screw it up. We were concerned that the fans would think that we didn’t appreciate the canon and that we wouldn’t get it right, bringing it to life. But then when we showed the promo, it was like, great. So with something original there’s good news and bad news. There’s no awareness so we have to build the awareness. But you also have the ability to have no preconceived notions among viewers as to what it’s going to look like, who’s going to be in it, and where it’s going to go.

The series title is very interesting, so someone asked Gale to explain further what the meaning behind the choice was.

Gale: “Falling Water,” to us, represents the barrier between the dreaming world and the waking world. It’s a permeable barrier that you can pass back and forth through. And there’s a lot of watery imagery in the show.

Gale herself had mentioned earlier that she wasn’t getting any younger, so the question remained, how does she decide what projects are worth her time? Gale had a lot to say in response.

Gale: I don’t want to repeat myself unless I’ve realized I haven’t done something quite right the first time; then maybe I can reinvent it. I want to do things that are my way of sort of exorcising demons and exploring new worlds. I’ve used dreams myself. Going back to Terminator when we were in pre-production and going into production, in my dreams I would kind of prophesize what we would shoot the next day. I swear to god, at least once a week if not more, one of those situations would happen, and I’d already dreamt it in my dreams. It was incredibly helpful. However, I was never escaping. I was never escaping from my work. My dreams were becoming my work. I went to a Jungian dream therapist. I don’t think Blake knows this [at this point Blake Masters had come back to our table]. The therapist wouldn’t say who his clients were, but he would say, “So! Do you have the dream of the week this week?!” So I felt this pressure to have the most compelling, the most interesting, the most complicated, the weirdest dreams. And Jungian iconography in my dreams. I realized it was really unhealthy [the people around the table laugh] ‘cause I’m a competitive person so I would just be despondent if I didn’t have the dream of the week.

It was at this point that Blake felt the need to chime in.

Blake: Well, I have boring dreams. Everyone thinks I have really weird dreams, but I just have really boring ones.

If there’s anything that promises to be the opposite of boring, it’s “Falling Water.” The show is premiering October 13, 2016. So be sure to catch it on USA when it comes out!

Synopsis:
A mind-bending thriller intersecting reality and unconscious thoughts, “FALLING WATER” is the story of three unrelated people, who slowly realize that they are dreaming separate parts of a single common dream. Each is on a quest for something that can only be found in their subconscious — a missing girlfriend, a son, a way to communicate with a catatonic mother. However, the more they begin to use the dream world as a tool to advance their hidden agendas, they realize that their visions are trying to tell them something and that their very real lives are at stake.

“FALLING WATER” hails from executive producers Gale Anne Hurd (“The Walking Dead”) of Valhalla Entertainment, Blake Masters (2 Guns), and the late Emmy Award-winner Henry Bromell (“Homeland”). The pilot was written and co-created by Masters and Bromell and is from Universal Cable Productions (UCP).

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Exclusive: Rocky Gray Talks Halloween Horror Anthology 10/31

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The last time we gave you guys word on the upcoming Halloween horror anthology 10/31 was to bring you the knock-out exclusive official poster, which you can peep to your left (click for a higher-res version).

The new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S and Creepshow joins an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

The film’s stories are directed by the likes of Justin M. Seaman (The Barn), Zane Hershberger (Devilution), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles) and Rocky Gray making his directing debut.

This past weekend we were able to catch up with producer-director Rocky Gray and ask him a few choice questions about the anticipated upcoming anthology film.

You can check out our quick interview below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are to check out 10/31 in the comments below!

Dread Central: How is the film coming along?

Rocky Gray: The film is now completed and we are getting the perks out to our Indiegogo backers. The backers and Death By Festival got to see the first cut of the film in October and they loved it so we’re very excited to get the film out to everyone else very soon.

DC: What can expect from this anthology?

RG: Expect to have a lot of Halloween themed fun. Each segment has its own flavor so the pacing and the look change throughout the film. With masked killers, vampires, scarecrows, tricksters and old hags there’s something for everyone.

DC: Will there be a sequel?

RG: If there was a demand for it we would make it happen!

Sounds good to us. Thanks for chatting with us, Rocky!

You can become a fan of the film on Facebook HERE.

SYNOPSIS:
A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches, and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre from the creators of The Barn and Volumes of Blood.

Red Letter Entertainment, Inc. brings you the directorial debut from Rocky Gray (composer of The Barn, Killing Floor 2), two-time Grammy-winning musician and former drummer for Evanescence. A new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S/ and Creepshow brings an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is Executive Produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

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The Duffer Brothers Have Begun Working on Stranger Things 3

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I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things” to tell you the truth. That said, I absolutely loved the second season (read our reviews HERE).

It is with this in mind that we are all looking forward to “Stranger Things 3”.

Recently Deadline reported that at Vulture Festival LA the Duffer Brothers, producer Shawn Levy, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Reiser, and Linnea Berthelsen talked about season two and teased season three.

“We are [in] very early days on season three, and we’re still figuring it out,” Ross Duffer said, before taking a beat, then adding: “I probably wasn’t supposed to say that. That’s not official; that wasn’t an official announcement — we’re just working on it, just for our own amusement… for fun!”

Whatever.

We all know at this point that there is going to be a “Stranger Things 3” and that The Duffer Brothers will one day begin working on it. Don’t worry so much, Ross Duffer.

After all, your brother already let us know that season three will begin after a time jump:

“Even if we wanted to hop into the action faster, we couldn’t,” says Matt Duffer. “Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They’re going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can’t start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. It’s a long way of saying that yeah, we’re going to do a time jump.”

What did you think of “Stranger Things 2”? Did you dig it more (or less) than season one? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

“Stranger Things 2” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Synopsis:
It’s 1984, and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, are still reeling from the horrors of the Demogorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down, but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.

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James Cameron’s Terminator Reboot/Sequel Hires Screenwriter

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The last word we brought you guys on producer James Cameron and Deadpool-director Tim Miller’s new Terminator film was when we let you know that Paramount had set the film’s release date for July 26, 2019.

Today we have news via The Wrap that the studio is bringing in screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to pen the movie’s script based on a story crafted by Cameron.

You may remember that Cameron and Miller created a writers room a while back to plan out an all-new trilogy of films, but while that writer’s room included David Goyer, Charles Eglee, and Josh Friedman, it seems like Ray will be the first film’s sole writer. For now.

Story details are, of course, being kept under wraps, but Cameron and Miller are treating the new movie as a direct sequel to Cameron’s T2: Judgment Day.

“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2.’ And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron told THR. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.”

We also know that Cameron plans to center the new film/trilogy around a new group of younger characters, who will eventually carry on the baton as it were.

“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” Cameron said. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it.”

How excited are you for James Cameron’s new Terminator flick? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social mdeia!

The new Terminator film is produced by James Cameron and will be directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

Terminator 2.5 is expected to hit July 26, 2019.

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