Matt Dillon’s new series Wayward Pines is set in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, but it’s actually filmed among the glorious scenery of British Columbia. Surrounded by sea and mountains, the city of Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast, makes a dramatic backdrop and is loved by the film and television industry so much that it’s been dubbed “Hollywood North”.
“It’s a beautiful part of the world,” says Dillon, who spent several months in the city and the province of British Columbia filming the psychological thriller set in a fictional Idaho town. “It’s the right setting for this story because it mimics the Northwest of the United States well enough, with the same kinds of mountains and pine trees.”
The drama is based on Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy of novels that were in turn inspired by another place in the Pacific Northwest with a similar eerie, claustrophobic feel – Twin Peaks, the setting for David Lynch’s ground-breaking 1990s TV drama.
In Wayward Pines, Dillon plays Ethan Burke, a secret service agent who is searching for two missing colleagues, one of whom is his partner and former lover, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino). The first episode is directed by M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), who is also an executive producer on the show and a proponent of unsettling mystery and plot twists. Wayward Pines is his first shot at TV – and Dillon’s, too.
“Night was one of the reasons I said, ‘OK I’m gonna do this,’” reveals Dillon. “He set the tone and that’s a tricky one. On one hand it appears to be a moody crime drama set in this small town in the Northwest. Then it gets into this realm of surrealism…”