leftovers season 3 pic

Some of the characters have changed and evolved at the start of the season, like John Murphy. Was there a lot of discussion over what happened in the three-year time jump?

Doing time jumps is not only not anything new, but it’s becoming somewhat of a cliché or something that people expect from the narratives. It’s a good way to basically fast-forward through all the boring stuff as it were. But we wanted to make sure that the things that happened in the space of our time jump did exactly what you described, which is kind of push the characters forwards.

But in a sense that they didn’t require a lot of explanation, so you just see Laurie and John aren’t together now. It doesn’t need to be explained to me how that happened. So I think for Nora, it was like, “Let’s rejoin these characters in a moment where it feels like everybody has found peace, but the closer you look you realize they’re all still deeply fucked up.”

All the characters are basically struggling with the same thing that they were when we first met them, which is “How do I form a belief system that makes it okay to live in a world where the people that I love most can disappear in an instant?” They’re all moving forwards as opposed to stagnating, which is what they were doing when we first met them.

I think that there’s just an energy in season three, particularly because we’re ending the show, of the characters moving towards something. They’re saying “I know what I want, and I’m going to go and get it, no matter how ridiculous it sounds.” Even if it’s “I want to die'” or ‘I want to write a book about a new Messiah.” These are all completely and totally absurdist notions, but the characters don’t view them as such.

I imagine after getting to take these sort chances, the experience would maybe influence what you want to do next. Has The Leftovers influenced where you want to go as a storyteller? 

The short answer is ‘I don’t know.’ I feel like I set out to do something that felt like it was really different than Lost, but at the same time, dealing with the same things that interest me as a writer, in terms of the way that I like to tell stories and what I want to tell stories about. But if you put the two shows side-to-side, they would feel very unique.

I look at a show like Fargo and a show like Legion, and they’re both obviously made by Noah Hawley, but I’m like, “Oh my God, these are very different shows.” They’re different shows tonally, but they’re written by … Obviously, there are many talented writers involved in a show, but they’re overseen by the same individual.

I guess my feeling is whatever I do next, I want to try the same thing again, which is I want it to feel different so that I’m uncomfortable. That I feel like I’m in uncharted territory and I don’t quite know what I’m doing so that I can feel like it’s a learning experience. Then I want to surround myself by incredibly talented storytellers because that’s what I was able to do on The Leftovers, which was like, “Oh, that’s why this is going to feel different because I made the show with entirely different people. They’re all really super talented, and they have stories to tell and different life experiences than I do.”

I should stop trying to think of myself as an author, and start thinking of myself more as a curator, a coauthor, who basically knows a good idea when he hears it and is able to stick all these disparate parts together into some kind of glorious Frankenstein monster. I do feel like whatever I do next, I’ve evolved in terms of I’m a better listener.

I want it to feel different. This is such an incredible time to be making television. What always jumps out at me is the stuff that I feel like I haven’t seen before. So I feel like the better television gets, the more of a challenge I feel to be up there at the pinnacle of what everybody else is doing, because when you see someone do something amazing, there’s a part of me that’s like, “Oh, I want to try that too.”

But the amazing thing they’re doing is being unique. I don’t want my voice to feel like it’s old or stale, and the only way to assure that it doesn’t become so is to continue to take risks.


You can read part one of our interview with Damon Lindelof here

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