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Damon Lindelof Promises Open-Ended Questions in HBO's 'The Leftovers'

The former "Lost" showrunner addresses his Twitter departure: "Right around the time we started the writers' room up I just felt like it was a good opportunity to dive in and focus on the show," he says at TCA.

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Damon Lindelof

Damon Lindelof isn't promising concrete answers in HBO's new drama, The Leftovers.

Based on the Tom Perrotta novel, The Leftovers begins three years after 2 percent of the Earth's population disappear without explanation and  tells the story of the people who didn’t make the cut who live in a world that will never be the same. With a concept that poses broad questions about the what, the why, the where and the who, don't expect the series to actively focus on the mystery's minutiae.

"Hopefully what you're going to care about when you watch the show more and more is how these characters are dealing with this situation in terms of living in this world and interacting with each other and less about about what happened and where everybody went and why," Lindelof said. "Although there will be characters on this show who are concerned with those things."

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Lindelof cited the obstacles scripted shows with a mystery built into their premises -- including Lost -- often face.

"Other shows that are based on a massive genre premise, like a show like FlashForward or even Lost, where built into the DNA of the premise ... and you have characters who are actively engaged in determining why it happened and how, you're promising the audience that you're going to give them that answer," Lindelof said. "This show ... [is] not actively searching for what happened in the departure. They're actively searching for what they're supposed to do in their lives."

Lindelof also admitted that The Leftovers may not be for everybody though he believes "it has broad appeal." "But I myself have been born witness to a wide range of responses where a show is a bit of a Rorshach test in what you get out of it in very surprising ways," he said, possibly alluding to Lost.

"The show is a grower, not a shower -- not to compare it to an erect penis, but in many ways the metaphor is that," Lindelof added. He also promised that the future episodes will not be retreads of the pilot.

The typically outspoken Lindelof also fielded questions about his abrupt exit from Twitter in October.

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"Twitter was something that I enjoyed immensely, in particular in the three years in between the end of Lost and the beginning of Leftovers," he told reporters. "Right around the time we started the writers' room up I just felt like it was a good opportunity to dive in and focus on the show. Twitter is so entertaining but also massively distracting."

When it was suggested Lindelof's departure -- his last tweet was sent Oct. 14 -- was the date the mysterious disappearance takes place in the pilot, the writer-producer copped to the connection: "As far as promotion goes, I'm a whore that way. The date I left Twitter did correspond with the date of The Departure. That just felt appropriately pretentious."

In a light-hearted moment, Lindelof was asked about the similarities to CBS' Under the Dome, also based on a book focusing on a town's immediate reaction to a supernatural event. Joked Lindelof of the show developed by his friend Brian K. Vaughan: "But The Leftovers will answer what the Dome is. In episode two just to f--- them."

Production on the freshman season of the Justin Theroux-led drama begins in one month. The Leftovers will premiere this summer.

Email: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
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