By Alan Krawitz
Queens’ native Marcos Siega is hoping that his latest TV directorial project, Fox Network’s “The Following,” develops just that: a loyal following.
“It will be the type of show where you have to stay tuned to see what happens next,” said Siega, 43, a graduate of Holy Cross High School in Bayside who also attended St. John’s University on a soccer scholarship.
Siega, born of Brazilian parents who settled in Jackson Heights, is the executive producer and director of the new psychological thriller which premiered on Jan. 21. It stars award-winning actor Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent tasked with catching a serial killer, played by James Purefoy, who has developed his own cult of serial killers.
The show has already been treated to generally positive reviews from critics and strong early ratings from its premiere.
Although Siega has directed music videos, commercials and three films, including one studio film for Miramax, he is much better known for his TV work on shows such as “Dexter” (Showtime), “True Blood” (HBO), “Vampire Diaries” (CW) and “Cold Case” (CBS).
“Working on the Dexter series has probably gotten me the most buzz as a director,” Siega said, recalling how he first met the writer/creator of “The Following,” Kevin Williamson.
Williamson, known for his “Scream” movies, was looking for a director for the “Vampire Diaries” project and became a fan of Siega’s work on Dexter.
“Doing that show [Dexter] opened up lots of doors,” Siega noted. “Not only because the show was critically acclaimed, but it was a show where directors had an opportunity to really shine.”
But, for those who think that Siega might have been tapped by Williamson just because of his seeming affinity for plots revolving around serial killers, think again.
“Being selected to direct ‘The Following’ came about as a result of my relationship with Kevin Williamson,” explained Siega, who had directed the pilot for “Vampire Diaries” and was a producer on the show with Williamson for a season where he cultivated a “great working relationship.”
Siega added that Williamson had told him about a script he’d written as movie but was going to turn into a TV show.
“‘The Following’ actually has very little to do with serial killers,” he said. “As people watch the series, they’ll get emotionally hooked.”
He added that the serial killer aspect to the show may be the hook, but there’s a lot more there.
“From a director’s standpoint,” he said, “I almost feel as if the serial killer action is the easy part but the challenging stuff is really getting people invested in the character and the drama of it all.”
The drama is not a “monster of the week” type show where everything is neatly wrapped by the epidsode’s conclusion, according to Siega.
Reflecting on his early career, Siega recalls the early ‘90s, when he directed mostly music videos for a variety of bands, including Blink 182, System of a Down and later on some for Anthrax.
“I moved to Los Angeles in 1997, primarily as a music video director who also did some commercials,” he said.
Since most of his work was out on the West Coast, Siega spent the last 15 years out in Los Angeles prior to moving back to New York and settling in Westchester earlier this year. He noted that staying in New York was always part of his endgame.
“I always wanted to get to the point where I could work from anywhere,” he said, explaining that for the last three years he was commuting from LA to Atlanta while directing “Vampire Diaries” and then LA to Miami for “Charlie’s Angels.”
“I just thought that it’s just as easy to commute to anywhere from New York…so why not?” asked Siega, who is married with three small children. “My wife and I are officially outnumbered.”
Asked about working with actor Kevin Bacon, Siega called him a real “good New Yorker.”
“Kevin is not only a great actor, he’s an amazing guy…he’s down to earth, funny and he loves music.” He said working with Bacon was like working with a good friend.
And, when Bacon recently made a guest appearance on the Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM radio, Siega, a fan himself, thought it was a great way to drum up support for “The Following.”
“I can remember growing-up and listening to Howard very often and I thought that Howard’s audience is also our audience.”
As for his aspirations for the show, Siega said he’s excited.
“I’m hoping that people talk about it on Tuesday mornings… one of the fun things in this type of show is you find ways of getting people invested in possibilities of the way the story is going to go.”
“He added, “Hopefully, people will watch it and be scared and get a little thrill ride.”
“The Following” airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. on Fox.
For more information on the show, visit fox.com.