Falling Water producers

USA Network premiered the pilot episode of their upcoming series Falling Water, from producers Gale Anne Hurd, Blake Masters and the late Henry Bromell, at Comic-Con this year. The show deals with the world of dreams, and select characters who have the power to enter other people’s dreams. In creating a unique vision of dreams, there are at least two cliches of portraying dreams on film that Masters promises never to do on Falling Water

“We never want to do a dream where the audience goes, ‘Oh, they’re playing the gag where you pretend it’s reality and then a guy wakes up and it was just a dream,’” Masters said. “We will never ever do that. We will never ever do the thing where the person jolts out of the dream and goes [screaming]. I’ve never done that in my life. I know people who have night terrors who don’t do that. We want to credit the audience with something that is original and different and has its own weird vibe. As a result, while all the dreams will always be different, we also wanted a unified sense of the language of cinema.”

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo directed the pilot and therefore laid out the show’s vision of dreams. “Every dream is individual but there’s a visual grammar to our dreams,” Masters said. “We liked the idea that dreams are usually subjective, that we want to travel with the dreamer. We want to feel that they’re ongoing. We want to feel that they move through space the way our dreams did. Now, what happens in those dreams is very particular and different things will happen in different ways. As our dreamers start running into each other in the dreams occasionally as the season goes on, weird things will happen. But we also wanted the dreams to have that unified cinematic grammar so that the audience was never really confused about is it a dream, is it not?”

The premise that dreams impact real life may not be so far fetched. Hurd shared how her dreams actually helped her make some of her classic movies. “Back in the day, I dreamt about work things,” Hurd said. “When I did Terminator, I would dream about what could happen on set tomorrow and three possible solutions. The strange thing was, almost invariably, one of those things would happen and I would have a solution. You could not find someone who believes in the power of dreams more.”

The three characters at the center of Falling Water are Tess (Lizzie Brochere), Taka (Will Yun Lee) and Burton (David Ajala). Hurd introduced us to them.

“We have the character of Tess who is convinced she’s had a child and is seeking to find that child and prove that she had a baby, when everyone tells her it’s impossible,” Hurd said. “There is no proof that she did. It’s about that sense of loss and connection. The character of Taka, his mother has been catatonic for years and years and years. He’s seeking a reconnection with her. He’ll try anything to bring her back because she’s a piece of the puzzle of his life that is missing. Then the character of Burton, he’s madly in love with a woman and yet does she exist or is she just someone that he’s connected with in his dreams? So there’s that sense of longing and loss and need to connect with a woman that he doesn’t even know is real.”

Having fun with the adventure of dreams also takes on greater metaphysical significance. “One of the central conceits is that we are all dreaming separate tiles in a universal dream,” Hurd said. “We only see our tile but maybe there are people who can see other people’s tiles. If we bring separate tiles, maybe we can come together and be united because those walls come down or maybe it can continue to instill the fear that we see in the world and divide us. It really depends on who those people are who can potentially affect our dreams.”

If that sounds a bit mysterious, don’t worry. Masters promises to answer every question Falling Waters raises shortly. “We’re not a show that intends to string out secrets forever,” Masters said. “I think by the end of the first season, you will understand the entire mythology that we need you to understand to be able to enjoy the show. There will be future mysteries but we’re not going to be one of those shows that strings you along with question after question not giving you answers. I don’t watch those shows so I believe that the characters we’ve created and the world we’ve created and this fundamental idea of what if somebody could wander into your dreams is compelling enough that I don’t need secrets.”

Masters and the late Bromell worked together on such classic shows as Homicide, Brotherhood and Homeland. Since they nailed gritty drama, they felt audiences were ready to embrace something more magical.

“What Henry and I really believed is that it’s time for a next evolution in premium drama,” Masters said. “We’ve done gritty, grounded realism. I’ve done it. Audience want a taste of magic now. They want that slightly heightened reality. So the idea was to take all those storytelling elements of those great shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men and infuse them with a little David Lynch, a little Haruki Murakami, a little of that other. You can still tell stories that were very character based and we do, yet still have that ongoing stretch and still have that character evolution and have a compelling mythology that creates a world that the audience not only watches, but they want to be a part of.”

Falling Water premieres this fall on USA.

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