The Returned - Jack Winship (Mark Pellegrino) ©2015 A&E, photo by Joseph Lederer

Based on the popular French series of the same name, The Returned is bringing executive producer Carlton Cuse and actor Mark Pellegrino together again after their collaboration on the successful series, Lost.

The Returned focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and negative consequences.

The series premieres on the A & E network on March 9th.

How similar is The Returned to the original?

The Returned – Executive Producer Carlton Cuse ©2015 A&E

Carlton Cuse: Over time, our show becomes quite different, particularly around Episode 6. The French show becomes very genre-incident-heavy at the end of the eight episodes, and we kind of take a different turn at that point.

We start in a similar place, but the show is fairly distinctively different by the end of its first season.

There is a small, fervent audience that watched the original French show, but I do believe that there is also a large audience that did not see the French show that will really enjoy seeing this story told in English with a new set of actors and, again, with a spin on it that becomes increasingly its own.

Obviously, you both have a working relationship from the past with Lost. Can you speak about bringing Mark onto this show?

Carlton: I love Mark from Lost. It was just a question of matching the actor to the part.

It’s a very tough role because the character has really been destroyed by the dearth of his daughter, and there’s a real arc over the course of the season of evolution for this character.

We had heard that Mark was available early on, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. Mark is great. We had such a good experience working together on Lost.’

It was the right mix of the role and the actor. And, fortunately, Mark was available and decided he wanted to do it. It was almost a visceral, emotional thing that he was the right guy.

Do you feel this series is similar to Lost?

The Returned – Jack Winship (Mark Pellegrino) ©2015 A&E, photo by Joseph Lederer

Mark Pellegrino: No. Even though there are elements to this that are really mysterious and can be very eerie, it’s a really great drama about human beings and human emotions.

Some of the characters don’t act in a terribly shocked way when they are reunited with their loved ones.

Mark: I think each character has their own unique way of dealing with the people that are coming back. Some indeed are hysterical, and some are in a state of shock.

It’s kind of variable to each person. Everybody experiences shock in a different way. And I think the great thing about this show is that it allows for the uniqueness of those experiences.

Every person has their own signature and their own sense. I think this show unmasks a lot of people in a way, and their emotional lives develop and change, too, as the show goes on.

Were there things that you learned in doing Lost that you are consciously applying to this?

Carlton: I think a lot. One of the things that really informed Lost was we tried to say, ‘Okay, here’s the story we want to tell. What’s the best way to tell it?’

And if that involved telling it with flash-forwards or flashbacks, or in a non-narrative [way], we chose to [do that]. And I think that is very much a part of this show.

This show is a mosaic in the same way Lost is. We are learning about these characters, filling in tiles, but we are not filling them in in a straight order.

I think part of the interesting mystery and the weave of the story is how all of these characters are interconnected.

Is there anyone you would like to bring back?

Mark: Who would I like to bring back? It’s kind of linked dramatically to the show. You can feel and think that you want somebody to return, but then the reality of it is quite different.

You can think and feel how you are going to react to the miraculous, but the reality of it is quite a different thing, that we really have no standard to measure it by.

That said, I’d definitely like to see my mom back. That would be nice maybe, maybe not!

The Returned (2015 tv) – Additional images

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.