'The River': Joe Anderson is happy to be out in the jungle
"I wanted some diversity. I was looking for something...[with] some oomph and some balls to it," he says. "I wanted something that was not going to be procedural where I was going to be standing around a hospital bed or a crime scene or a desk in an office."
The program centers around a crew that's being filmed as they search for missing explorer/TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), Lincoln's father. This takes them in to the deepest, darkest part of the Amazon River where they encounter mystery that none of them could've expected.
The series, which comes from the minds behind the "Paranormal Activity" franchise and Steven Spielberg, delivers the "Paranormal" production style, complete with gyrating camera work, confessionals and spy cameras. Anderson, who is probably best known from his work in the "Twilight" films, enjoys the approach.
"It's freeing. It keeps you on your game," Anderson says. "It's been really interesting to let go...There's multiple cameras everywhere. There's not just one camera that is supposedly an invisible fourth wall."
Despite the scary themes of the show, Anderson says he doesn't get frightened much during filming. Ok, maybe a little.
"It does get a little treacherous," he says. "It's jungle...And if you get turned around, if you can't see base camp, you get lost pretty quick."
As for the series, Anderson promises twists and turns comparable to the Amazon itself.
"Whatever you think about any of the characters on the show is not going to be the case," he says. "By the end of the season, if you're not completely shocked and surprised because something has flipped on its head, then I don't know how else to shock you or surprise you. Nothing is what it seems."
"The River" debuts Tuesday (Feb. 7) in a two-hour special on ABC at 9 p.m. ET.