Eli Roth On Hemlock Grove’s Twin Peaks Feel, Made For Serialized Consumption


Hemlock Grove executive producer Eli Roth is braving relatively uncharted territory with his Netflix original series, which he compares to Twin Peaks. While author Brian McGreevy reiterates that the gothic mystery is designed specifically with serialized viewing in mind.

Hemlock is based on a Brian McGreevy novel about the murder of a young girl in the shadow of the disused Godfrey steel mill. This sets forth a chain of theories with fingers pointed at the White Tower, a biotech facility owned by the wealthy, mysterious Godfrey family.

Here are some highlights from Roth and McGreevy’s interesting chat with KCRW for an episode of “The Business”.

It’s Netflix, not TV:

Roth: “We saw Netflix as a new medium. If people want to watch the whole thing straight through they can. And to us that was so exciting because modern people watch things on their iPad, they’re watching things at home. They’re not sitting waiting for 9 o’clock Thursday night, they’re DVRing everything and watching when they have time.”

McGreavy: “The idea here is that this is a 13-hour independent movie. The tradition in the network model is the procedural, something where you can shuffle the deck, pull out any individual episode and watch it out of sequence, because their profits are coming primarily from syndication. With Netflix, they see that in this century that’s not actually how people prefer to consume content. They ‘binge watch.’ That completely changes how you’re approaching the architecture of the season, because you’re designing the entire run to work as a coherent unit.”

Twin Peaks Comparisons, Monster Mythology:

Roth: “When I [read the book] it gave me the feeling that this was a sort of Twin Peaks, mysterious, dark novel set in a former steel town in Pennsylvania where biotech has risen from the ashes and this strange facility has taken over the town. [It’s also] rooted in monster mythology, the very, very roots of all the modern day tales we know about werewolves and vampires and Frankenstein, he went right to the source of it.”

The Netflix Model:

Roth: “They have exact data on everything. They know exactly how many people have rented my films, how many people watch horror movies, how many people watch murder television show mysteries… I had a very high rating for Netflix, so they were really happy to have me on board. It really feels like Twitter, except with movies. It’s incredible.”

Three Seasons Mapped Out:

Roth: “Netflix was like, that’s Season 1, that’s Season 2, that’s Season 3 — go. They were listening, it’s all or nothing. Whereas the other networks they do a pilot, then if the pilot works they go to series.

[We have] three novels mapped out, we [know] where the major macro arc of the story [is] going. Where sometimes when you get into a series and Season 1 is the most amazing thing ever, and then Season 2 you get half way through and you feel that they’ve kind of wrapped up the big idea and now needed to start a second one [and it doesn’t quite work]. [Brian] knows exactly what the macro ideas are from season to season to season.”

You can listen to the full audio in the player below or at KCRW — definitely worth a listen:

Hemlock Grove is slated for 2013 on Netlfix. All 13 episodes will be released at the same time.

HT: Indie Wire | Jay

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