If the ads for Fox's new drama The Following have been giving you chills, it's for good reason; creator Kevin Williamson came to the TCA today and promised lots of scares from the show, which follows a cult of people carrying out the orders of an imprisoned serial killer. The cast, including stars Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, were also on hand to address their roles on the show. Read on for the best bits from their TCA panel, including the Edgar Allan Poe inspiration and how this series compares to Williamson's other show, The Vampire Diaries.
- Kevin Bacon stars as detective Ryan Hardy, the man who put serial killer Joe Carroll away, and The Following marks Bacon's first time starring in his own TV series. He talked about why he chose this particular project, saying he had been looking for a series for three or four years, and admitted that he thought he would end up on cable. However, he read the script for The Following and "couldn't put it down," saying it was a page-turner that has a "fast-paced, heart-pounding nature," but "still had a heart."
- Williamson acknowledged how violent the show is, saying, "Yes, it's a horrific, scary show." How scary? "There are some moments that are squeamish. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's not the sum of the show." He also dismissed the idea that the writers "sit around and just think of ways to kill people," saying, "I'm thinking of the drama." Indeed, many of the murders are not committed by serial killer Carroll (played by James Purefoy), but by his band of "absolutely willing accomplices," Purefoy said. He added, "The acts of violence come out of people's story, people's background."
- Williamson was asked to compare The Following to his other current series, The Vampire Diaries. While people are killed regularly on both shows, Williamson seemed to see more differences than similarities. The supernatural CW series has a "sort of gothic romanticism hinged in vampire landscape, more of a Dark Shadows," he said, whereas The Following seems a bit more grown-up. The "characters are older," he said, with "several generations of characters I get to play with."
- Williamson talked about the show's pervasive Edgar Allan Poe inspiration (Carroll is also a literature professor obsessed with Poe, and characters wear Poe masks to commit violent acts). Williamson said that he went to a museum of Poe's home as a kid and "they had 'The Raven' written on the walls, [to] follow along and read it." Though it might sound creepy, Williamson said that it was "the most magical day of my life" and he's been fascinated by the poet ever since. "I love Edgar. He had a very fascinating life; he was a very damaged writer."
- If the detective/serial killer setup seems familiar, Williamson knows what you're talking about. "Clearly Silence of the Lambs inspired me," he admitted. "I was the guy who saw the movie, read that book, [then] read it the next day," he said, calling the film and book a "huge inspiration."