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Something Twisted: Joe Anderson Talks ‘The River’ With Screen Spy

By on February 7, 2012
Image © ABC

Image © ABC

ABC’s highly anticipated paranormal thriller The River makes its debut tonight with a two hour premiere starting at 9:00 p.m. ET.

When famous and beloved adventurer and television personality Dr. Emmet Cole goes missing in the Amazon, his grieving wife Tess and son Lincoln struggle to face the reality of his death. However six months later Emmet’s location beacon mysteriously begins to relay a signal and Tess persuades Lincoln to join her and Emmet’s film crew on a journey through the Amazon to find him – a journey on which horrifying and almost mythical events will push them to their limits. How horrifying? We sat down earlier today with Joe Anderson (Lincoln Cole) and asked him.

Well you can’t get away with showing too much gore,” observes Joe. “So it’s not necessarily horror, or thriller. We can’t use gore as titillation. We have to be more clever about it, and ultimately the writers have to be more clever about it. Nine times out of ten it is suspenseful. It is something very strange. It might be something disturbing. It might be something twisted. It might be all of the above but it’s not going to be a gory show by any means. A classic fully fledged horror movie? No, not quite in that way – but it will scare you even more,” he teases.

Lincoln makes a shocking discovery in the jungle in episode 1.02 ‘Marbeley’ Picture © ABC

Executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli (Peli has writing credits on the show also) The River is set to have a strong ‘found footage’ vibe.

I think it’s going to cement that genre,” says Joe. “We’ve seen it with Paranormal Activity. We’ve seen it with Blair Witch. And this is going to cement it on a regular basis for us. In a few weeks I think you’ll understand what we’re dealing with.

However the filming location alone looks set to give The River a distinctive flavor all of its own. “The River is filmed in Oahu which is in Hawaii,” Joe says. “It’s the island of Pearl Harbor. It’s an amazing volcanic island – jungles. Lost was shot there. Parts of Jurassic Park were shot there. It’s just absolutely stunning. We use the one river on Oahu. There is only one,” he confides with a laugh.

When we first meet Lincoln on the show, he seems to have certain issues with his father and is all too happy to move on with is life before his mother Tess persuades him to join the search. How is Lincoln going to reconcile his feelings towards his father given the enormity of the task at hand?

Lincoln grew up as part of the TV show that his father worked on and presented,” says Joe. “So he’s grown up in front of the cameras. Kids at school always knew when he was going to be on TV. I think he just had enough of it by the time he got to a certain age – sixteen or seventeen.  He decided to leave and become a doctor. And it’s only when his father goes missing that he suddenly realizes ‘I have to go. I’ve got to drop my life and go and save Dad or see if we can even find Dad.’

So I think there’s a loyalty there. There’s love there, but at the same time the television network is creating a reality TV show out of this situation. And I think that he doesn’t approve of that. He thinks that’s voyeuristic and there’s something cheap and nasty about it.

So he has a little chip on his shoulder. And there are a few more things that put a few more chips on his shoulder that I can’t say because that would give stuff away,” he laughs. “But Lincoln’s not just angry for no reason. He’s got some trouble to deal with.”



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  2. Spruebox

    February 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Great interview as always, Jennifer. You both make this show sound quite interesting, when I’d previously had no interest in it. I’ll have to check it out when it comes on Hulu or 🙂