The River Producers Shed a Bit More Light on the Series; Info on an Austin, Texas Screening

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Over the past several days you’ve probably noticed an increase in television coverage in the media, and that’s because the TCA (Television Critics Association) is currently holding its Winter 2012 Press Tour. As a result, we have some news out of ABC with regard to its upcoming series “The River” along with information on how you can attend a special advance screening of the pilot in Austin, Texas.

We suspect there will be a few other special screenings around the country as well in the coming weeks (“The River”‘s 8-episode Season 1 debuts February 7th, 2012), and as we learn more, we’ll be sure to pass on the info. For now, though, here’s what you need to know about the Austin event:

WHEN: Thursday, January 19th @ 9PM

WHERE: Alamo Drafthouse (South Lamar Location), 1120 S. Lamar Blvd.

WHAT/WHO: FREE giveaways and a Q&A with writer/executive producer Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity)

Click here for more info and to register to attend.

Now, back to the show itself. Per, Oren Peli shared with television critics at ABC’s TCA panel in Los Angeles that the idea for “The River” was initially a simple film about a missing documentary crew in the rain forest and the team that heads down to find them. It was always intended to be “found footage” style, utilizing certain characters as cameraman to see their reactions and provide an “in the thick of the action” vibe for the audience. But it wasn’t until an off-the-cuff discussion with his director on Paranormal Activity 2 that it became a television series. With a standing offer from Steven Spielberg to “do a show together,” Peli pitched it to Dreamworks, ABC picked it up last May, and the rest is history.

As for limiting it to just 8 episodes out of the gate, the producers want to ensure fans can easily follow the overall mythology arc for the characters while also believing the series holds up as an “individual horror movie every week”. As an example, Michael Green feels the show is more similar to the tone of a show like “The X-Files” than “Lost”.

What makes the difference between a great horror movie and a great horror television show is actually caring about the people,” Green offered, adding that although characters will come into peril often and some may not make it out alive, their mentality is not that any are “expendable.” “My philosophy in television is ‘Treat every script like your last because you never know when it might be.’ We don’t leave a lot of cards on the table,” Green admitted, regarding deaths in the series.

Zack Estrin added that “The River” is pulling from real legends and lore from the Amazon jungle. Everything from ghosts and supernatural elements to the scariness of the individuals on the rescue team and how they may respond when fear sets in. “They are all themselves as mysterious as the jungle,” Estrin teased. “They all have some secret gifts that will come out.

“The River” stars Bruce Greenwood, Leslie Hope, and Joe Anderson. Jeff Galfer and Thomas Kretschmann co-star in the ABC Studios television project produced by Oren Peli and his Paranormal Activity franchise collaborators Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. The pilot episode was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Orphan, House of Wax).

Famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Greenwood) went looking for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon and never returned. The shocking truth about his disappearance is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. To the millions of kids who grew up watching his nature show, Dr. Cole was a hero. To his own son, Lincoln (Anderson), he was more of an enigma. Now, six months after he vanished, Lincoln is finally ready to bury the past when Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon suddenly goes off. At the urging of his mother, Tess (Hope), Lincoln reluctantly joins her on a search for his father. To fund the rescue, they agree to let Dr. Cole’s cagey ex-producer, Clark (Paul Blackthorne), film the mission documentary-style. The mixed crew of old friends and new acquaintances includes the sexy and resourceful Lena (Eloise Mumford), loyal mechanic Emilio (Daniel Zacapa), and lethal bodyguard Captain Kurt Brynildson (Kretschmann).

ABC's The River

Official One-Sheet for ABC's The River

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