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Persons Unknown - Remi Aubuchon Collider interview

Interview After the Cut


Just how difficult was it to write this show and plot out exactly where you were going with it, from start to finish?
Remi: It was tough to write. We had the shadow of “Lost” hanging around and I just kept saying, “Guys, we need to take a really wide birth around ‘Lost.’ We’re going to get lots of comparisons anyway, but we need to prove, within a couple episodes, that it’s not ‘Lost.’” I’m a huge fan of “Lost” and I loved it. I’m a little disappointed in the ending, but I believe I’m part of a large legion on that. But, we needed to make sure that we knew exactly what was going on, and how to tell the story and find those really bizarre left turns into alleys that make people go, “What the fuck!” I feel confident that it will always keep everybody guessing, and yet not in that weird, maddening way where it’s like, “Oh, come on, guys!” I think you will be freaked out by the end. I really do. I don’t think you’ll see it coming at all.

Question: How did you get involved with “Persons Unknown”?
Remi: Chris McQuarrie had actually written this pilot awhile ago, and everybody thought it was a really fascinating idea. It’s got a lot of that great Chris McQuarrie, “What the hell is going on?,” kind of stuff, but no one could actually get a grasp on how to make it into a series. I’m not saying that I’m the grand genius that came in on a float and made it happen, but they liked my pitch. I was on my way to a camping trip with my daughter when my agent called and said, “This thing came up and it’s really wild and crazy, do you want to read it?” And, I said, “Yeah, why don’t you just send it to me? But, I’m going on this camping trip, so I probably won’t be able to read it until I get back.” Only in Southern California do camping grounds actually have wifi, so I was sitting in my tent and I started reading it on my computer, and I couldn’t put it down. More importantly, I kept getting up in the middle of the night going, “Oh, this is cool,” so I pitched them an idea that they seemed to like.

It was pretty clear, from the beginning, that Chris, because he’s very busy, wasn’t going to be really involved in it, so it was just like, “Can someone come in and stay true to Chris’ vision and also, at the same time, make it into a 13-episode series?” Even after all of that, after I’d gotten it, it was like, “Oh, my god, what have I agreed to?” Suddenly, I realized how tough trying to structure a story like this is. It was a lot of work. The one big advantage that we had was that we had eight scripts written before we started shooting, or even started casting. We had a really good opportunity to look at it and figure out where we were going to go and how to do it. Once we got a cast, which I love, then we started doing some revisions to make sure that they fit into it.

Just how difficult was it to write this show and plot out exactly where you were going with it, from start to finish?
Remi: It was tough to write. We had the shadow of “Lost” hanging around and I just kept saying, “Guys, we need to take a really wide birth around ‘Lost.’ We’re going to get lots of comparisons anyway, but we need to prove, within a couple episodes, that it’s not ‘Lost.’” I’m a huge fan of “Lost” and I loved it. I’m a little disappointed in the ending, but I believe I’m part of a large legion on that. But, we needed to make sure that we knew exactly what was going on, and how to tell the story and find those really bizarre left turns into alleys that make people go, “What the fuck!” I feel confident that it will always keep everybody guessing, and yet not in that weird, maddening way where it’s like, “Oh, come on, guys!” I think you will be freaked out by the end. I really do. I don’t think you’ll see it coming at all.

FULL INTERVIEW: Collider