'The River' Star Bruce Greenwood Brings A Horror Story To The Jungle

02/14/2012 01:07 pm ET

What do you get when you set a paranormal horror story in the middle of the rainforest? ABC's "The River," which has the perfect elements for an enjoyably eerie series.

Co-created by "Paranormal Activity" writer Oren Peli, "The River" centers on a group of people who band together in search of a missing doctor, played by Bruce Greenwood. The affable Canadian actor chatted with The Huffington Post about his new show, the reason he signed on for Guy Ritchie's critically panned "Swept Away" and the perils of hard liquor.

So, "The River" is pretty scary.
It's pretty spooky. I play a doctor who's had a TV show for many years and thinks he's seen a glimmer of something, a very large truth and something that may change the way we see the world. And he goes bounding after it. When he gets closer, he discovers that nothing is what it appears.

So is it a combination of "Lost" and ...
It's not "Lost." It's more "Paranormal Activity" meets "Apocalypse Now."

Are you a "scaredy cat" in real life?
I am a pathetic, quivering mass of Jell-O when it comes to horror movies. I don't like to feel uneasy. Horror [films] wig me out. I think that one of the things that draws people to horror and suspense is the unspoken contract they make with the filmmaker, which is "I can figure this out before you can trick me."

You've had a long career.
Yeah, I've been around.

It made me laugh out loud that you did "Swept Away" with Madonna.
That has made a lot of people laugh out loud.

Was that the highlight of your career?
I think that was the absolute zenith.

Were you putting in a pool and in need of some extra cash?
Oh no, not at all. I met Guy Ritchie and he asked me to do it. He's an interesting guy and the script, on the face of it, seemed like it might be really interesting. Madonna's a fascinating character, so there were all kinds of reasons to try it. I have to say, I had a really good time doing it.

And you're in one of my favorite movies. I don't want to say it...
You've already said it.

"Double Jeopardy." I watch it every time it's on.
People love that movie. They just eat it up, God knows why.

You said that, not me!
Well, God knows why it's lasted so long. I still get recognized from it a lot.

You're also in the new "Star Trek" movie.
Yeah, I play the original captain of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike, who's now Admiral Christopher Pike. I've been moved up.

Were you a Trekkie?
I was not. The "Star Trek" bible is fascinating. I completely get why people get wrapped up in it. That's the one thing with Trekkies; you can't pretend to know anything. If you don't know, you better say you don't know.

Back to "The River." What stands in for the rainforest?
I'm very lucky. Hawaii! It's awesome.

Did you have lots of cocktails in big coconuts with little parasols?
A few mai tais in the first week we got there, but hard alcohol hits me the same way horror hits me, which is to say it clubs me over the head and doesn't forgive me. So, I mellowed out on that pretty quickly.

"The River" airs on ABC Tuesdays at 9 p.m.


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