First Look at Wyatt Russell's Modern-Day Fable, AMC's 'Lodge 49' (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Wyatt Russell is searching for the meaning of life.
AMC's new summer drama, Lodge 49, from the mind of creator Jim Gavin (author of Middle Men) and showrunner Peter Ocko (Pushing Daisies), tells the story of a disarmingly optimistic ex-surfer, Sean "Dud" Dudley (Russell), who begins to drift after the death of his father and collapse of his family business in Long Beach, California. Through a serendipitous confluence of events, Dud joins a fraternal lodge that may or may not put him on the path to recovering the idyllic life he once had.
"I don't know which way is up and which way is down," Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, tells ET of his character's mindset at the start of the series. Once Dud enters the world within the lodge, that's when things start to click. "You meet characters inside the lodge and you start to see how each person looks at life through a humorous lens, but everything is grounded in this real place that's about life and death and [the question], 'What are we doing here? How do I make the best of it?'"
Lodge 49 is unlike anything that's out there on television, Russell says ("It wasn't a regurgitation of anything I had seen"), and because of its unique tone and vibe, he confessed he had doubts at first about the realistic chance it had of making it to the small screen. "When I read the script, I thought, 'There is no way this is going to get made,'" he admitted. "This is tonally very, very different from anything on television, and it had a unique voice, which was Jim. The one thing I can say with total assuredness is that there is nothing tonally like it on TV."
The way the 10-episode season is laid out feels more novelistic than following a traditional TV formula, with hints of Coen brothers and early Robert Zemeckis films sprinkled in. "It watches like a book," the 31-year-old actor said. "Who knows if it really succeeds -- the people will tell us that -- but I like it for that reason."
As for what viewers can expect when the show launches this August, Russell offered this illuminating preview.
"It is a slow burn and it gets you on board pretty quick in understanding what the tone [is going to be]. It's a little 'Come along with me for a ride and I'm going to tell you a little tale,'" he said. "I don't think these people are trying to tell me something about my life. I don't think they're trying to tell me something about myself or an opinion they have on the world. It's a show that says, 'I don't know.' We're going to go on the ride together and sort of figure it out, but I'm not going to tell you anything. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'I think you should do it this way.' The message to me is, at the end of the day, who really understands what it's all about? It's the journey that matters, and it really, really is."
"This is about living life in the middle. I'm going to give this to the people who are workers, people who feel like they might be looked over because there is not a lot of magic seen in the middle," Russell mused. "It's a philosophical component to the show that I enjoy -- that's what I hope people get out of it. I hope we've succeeded at it."
Joining Russell in the cast is Brent Jennings, Sonya Cassidy, Linda Emond, David Pasquesi and Eric Allan Kramer.
See the surreal exclusive poster for Lodge 49, exclusive to ET, below.
See ET's exclusive first look photos from the series below.
Lodge 49 premieres Monday, Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.