Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stinson: The day Stephen King came to town

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In the science-fiction series Haven, Emily Rose plays FBI special agent Audrey Parker, who arrives in a small town on the eastern seaboard and has to learn how to do her job while dealing with her uncomfortable presence as an outsider. This proves to be easier than the part of her job that requires her to deal with residents with supernatural powers, but still, the outsider thing is tricky.
In its way, though, the fact that the fictional town of Haven is set in the real-life small town of Chester, N.S., made the role-playing a bit simpler.
Rose, speaking over the phone from Nova Scotia during the filming of the show’s second season, recalls last year when the crew arranged her car: a bright orange rental.
“I was like, ‘Really, an orange rental car? Honestly?’ So I changed it, and sure enough next week some people came up to me and said, ‘We didn’t see your car anymore, we thought you had left.’ You draw so much attention that it helps make me feel the reality of what it’s like for an outsider to come in.”
The folks of Chester, and nearby places such as Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, know there’s a series being shot in town, she says, but the relationship between small town Nova Scotia and the cast and crew is a pleasant one. “If we are still on set after nine o’clock, we are not getting food in the town,” she says. “But, if we call ahead and ask them to hold a table or hang on for us, they’ll help out. It’s great.”
Haven, loosely based on a Stephen King story called The Colorado Kid, is the story of a small town, an unsolved mystery, and how the people there deal with its secrets. But the brief, simple story at its root, Rose explains, is a jumping-off point.
“The Colorado Kid is mainly just a forum for conversation about what happens to a town when something does not receive closure,” she says. In the story, reporters are seated at a table discussing an unsolved murder. Another character listens in. Haven takes that concept and goes from there. “We still pay homage to the book, but it’s more a forum for having an unsolved murder that’s eating at the town.”
And what’s eating at the town? Plenty. Agent Parker wants to know what is up with all the people with special powers. Her friend, local cop Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), happens to have his own powers. And in the Season 1 finale, an FBI agent arrived in town and identified herself to Audrey Parker as, yep, Audrey Parker. So frustrating when that happens!
“We’re going a bit darker this year, tonally,” Rose says. “I think if we had done that right out of the gate, I don’t know if the likability would have been there. But now, you’re already in the boat with Audrey and Nathan, and we’re taking you down those rivers, so to speak.”


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