Joe Anderson on ‘The River’

The star of ABC's horror/found footage series opens up about the show and his worries about Twilight.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

The cast of “The River” is so big I had to chase as many of them as I could into the hallway after their Television Critics Association panel. I found Joe Anderson, who plays Lincoln Cole, son of the lost wildlife host Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood.)

In "The River," Cole embarks on an expedition to find his dad, filmed by a documentary crew who are characters on the show as well. On his way to film some promotional interviews for the show, Anderson spoke with me about “The River” and Twilight.


CraveOnline: How much does your character waver back and forth on whether they should continue looking for Emmet?

Joe Anderson: I think at the beginning he’s hesitant because it’s been six months. He’s basically had six months to deal with the fact that his father’s gone missing and he’s probably dead. So by the time we get to the end of the pilot, the bait is already there. Lincoln realizes that there is a strong possibility that his father may be alive and I think once that possibility is realized and it comes out, he can see how it is possible that his father can be alive, the logical scientist doctor in him says okay, it’s logical and we’re going to pursue.

I think where the resistance comes in is with the television crew. He doesn’t much like the TV crew following him around. He doesn’t like the idea of it. He grew up with a TV crew filming him the whole time.

CraveOnline: Does that give you a different way to play the documentary aspect? Maybe you even try to avoid the camera?

Joe Anderson: Absolutely. I mean, right in the beginning of the pilot, I think maybe I don't know, second commercial break, I’m already sticking my hand in the camera and moving it out of the way. I think at one point, there’s a lot of talk about put the camera down and help us.

There’s an interesting scene with Shaun Parkes and myself where I need his help but his duty as a cameraman is to shoot. It’s that old wartime documentary cameraman, the guy that says, “Do I help the guy that’s bleeding or do I still do my job and shoot?” So there’s interesting little moments between the characters and the camera operators.

CraveOnline: Were there issues between Lincoln and his father before he went missing?

Joe Anderson: I think that his father was such a larger than life character, such a big guy, the TV show made him famous, made them all famous. I think Lincoln since he can remember has sort of lived this back and forth life between being in the states and being in the Amazon. So he’s always been displaced. I don't think it’s because he has an issue with his father per set, but because of what his father does, it has affected Lincoln’s life as a child.

So the first chance he gets to leave, go to med school or do whatever it is, he takes that chance and goes. So I think it’s more an estranged thing, lack of decent communication between them, and I think that’ll change and grow. We’ll see many different sides of that.

CraveOnline: Do you like the action hero stuff on the show?

Joe Anderson: That was one of the things that drew me to it. The guy can be quite thoughtful and quite intelligent in the way that he thinks, but at the same time I love getting physical and doing physical stuff.

Just the sheer setting of being in the jungle, on a boat, on the river, there’s going to be physical things to do and I relish it and love it, absolutely love it. But it’s not actiony in kind of a “da dun da dun” action hero way.

CraveOnline: Between the river and the jungle, what are those atmospheres like?

Joe Anderson: It changes quite a lot. The more I do it the more a film set is home. So you go all over the world but when you get on a set it’s nice because you’re back in your environment and you know where you are.

So it doesn’t really matter where we are or who it’s with. It’s a film family so to speak, although the family of shooting stuff comes together immediately so you feel chilled wherever you are.

CraveOnline: Are you in Breaking Dawn Part II?

Joe Anderson: Yeah, yeah, Alistair.

CraveOnline: How has the Twilight phenomenon affected you?

Joe Anderson: It was a brief experience for me.

CraveOnline: But fans of the book, even if you’re on one page, they’re obsessed with you.

Joe Anderson: Yeah, and that was one of the things that worried me at first. I had to certainly do my research before I got on with it. Also I was shooting two films at the same time so I was having to dart from one to the other. So it was tricky but it was fun.