Wayward Pines producer: "It's actually nothing like Twin Peaks"

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Apr 10, 2015, 6:12 PM EDT

Wayward Pines is an upcoming Fox event series that takes place in a remote small town where strange things happen. Sound familiar?

The show, which premieres on May 14 at 9 p.m., is based on a trilogy of novels written by Blake Crouch and stars Matt Dillon as a Secret Service agent who journeys to the picturesque title town in search of two missing fellow agents. On his way there, he's involved in a car accident and wakes up in the Wayward Pines hospital -- where he quickly comes to realize that this town is not what it seems at all.

The small-town setting, gorgeous scenery, surreal vibe and cast of odd characters (which includes Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Carla Gugino, Juliette Lewis and Toby Jones) have led to early comparisons with David Lynch's classic cult series Twin Peaks (now getting revived itself -- maybe). But Wayward Pines producer Donald De Line shakes those off.

"It's actually nothing like Twin Peaks in terms of the story -- it has nothing to do with Twin Peaks," said De Line last weekend at WonderCon. "What is similar in feeling is there's what appears to be this bucolic, idealized American town that looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, and then underneath the surface are very dark strange things that are lurking and start to reveal themselves. That's what's similar to Twin Peaks."

De Line added that Crouch, as a kid, was so enamored of Twin Peaks when it first aired that he wrote his own third season after the show was canceled -- and that turned out to be the inspiration for his books. "He took the tone and setting from that," acknowledged De Line. "(But) in terms of the story and the conceit of what this world is, this is completely original and way different from anything that was done in Twin Peaks."

Aside from the formidable cast, perhaps the biggest coup for the show was getting M. Night Shyamalan -- who had never worked in TV before -- to direct the pilot and serve as an executive producer. "We always knew this was perfect for M. Night Shyamalan -- the tone and the world of it, and the way it has these great twists and reveals, which he is obviously the master of," said De Line. "So we sent him the script. He read it and loved it, tried to guess where the story was going, couldn't guess -- which got him even more intrigued -- so we flew to Philadelphia to see him and told him what the ultimate reveal was. It blew his mind and was not anything he had surmised."

De Line added that Shyamalan, who's currently in post-production on his next feature film (The Visit), took his role as executive producer seriously even after he completed the pilot. "He did contribute a lot," said De Line. "He was very much a part of developing the bible for the show, running that experience with the writers and really crafting where the 10 episodes would go."

Apparently Wayward Pines goes in some very unexpected and mind-bending directions, but we'll have to wait until May 14 to find out. Are you going to tune in?