A&E’s new supernatural drama The Returned—about a town where dead people return to the world of the living—will not be a note-for-note remake of the French series on which it is based, according to its producers.
“I think really the starting point is similar, and I think the same is true of The Office,” said Carlton Cuse, who appeared with fellow executive producer Raelle Tucker and members of the show’s cast in a panel at the TCA winter press tour Friday. “I think over time our show becomes quite different, particularly around episode six.”
Tucker spoke to why an adaptation of an existing series is a creatively appealing project.
“To adapt something, you really have to be a huge fan of it to begin with,” she said. “I think coming into this, obviously, we wouldn’t sign on to something that we weren’t particularly in love with as well.”
She added that the creative team didn’t feel compelled “to force changes” to the story of the original. “We felt by adding our own voices and our own experiences to this really incredible world and these wonderful characters, they would organically transform into something new.”
Other highlights from the panel included:
• Co-star Jeremy Sisto talked about the challenge of playing a scene in which a character encounters a loved one returned from the dead. “It’s difficult to say what a natural reaction would be,” he said. “I know at the end of many of these scenes, it’s hard to know if you’re doing a good job, because there is nothing to really compare it to in your own life.”
• The panel fielded several questions referencing Gracepoint, the low-rated Fox drama that was closely adapted from the U.K.’s Broadchurch. Cuse said that he is not worried about viewers who may have seen the French show not watching the A&E version. “Yes, there is a small, fervent audience that watched the original French show. But I do believe there is a larger 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, but a spin on it that over time becomes increasingly our own.”
• When the panelists were asked if there were shows or films about people returning from the dead that they particularly liked, Sisto answered, “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
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