Damon Lindelof returns to the world of television this summer with a novel concept — literally and figuratively. The Lost co-creator is adapting Tom Perrotta’s 2011 bestseller The Leftovers into an HBO drama series (starring Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, and Amy Brenneman, among others) that follows the residents of New York town three years after a rapture-like event whisked away 140 million people across the globe. Pick up a copy of EW’s 2014 Preview Issue to steal a glance at a script page from the first episode, which is directed by Peter Berg (who is also an executive producer on the show). Below, Lindelof reveals more to EW about this highly anticipated disappearing act.
On his decision to make another TV show and what attracted him to The Leftovers
“When Lost was ending, the two questions were: ‘What are your feelings about the ending of Lost?’ And ‘What’s next?’ The way I was answering the ‘What’s next?’ question was, ‘I don’t really want to think about it right now — I just want to enjoy this process,’ but the truth was ‘I don’t know if I can ever do another television show again because I’m so terrified that it’ll be just so much less than Lost,’ and I didn’t quite know any classy way of articulating that idea…. I went off into movie-ville with no real strong feelings about whether or not I was going to do TV again. I’m fairly monogamous when it comes to whatever project I’m working on, so I spent a year working on Prometheus and nothing else and then I spent a year working on Star Trek: Into Darkness. And then I was reading The New York Times Book Review – which is the way that I pretend to read books; I read the reviews of the books and then I can articulately pretend like I’ve read them — and Stephen King wrote a review of The Leftovers, which he described as the best episode of The Twilight Zone that had never been shot. I was a Perotta fan. I read Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher and just on the premise alone [of The Leftovers]. I was completely and totally engaged by this idea. I ran and got the book immediately and I got maybe 50 pages in before I decided: This should be a television show and I need to collaborate with Tom [Perrotta, who is an exec producer and co-wrote the pilot with Lindelof] on that show. It took a year for things to sort themselves out but there was never any doubt as to like, ‘Should this be my next project?’ It was love at first sight.”
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