Friday, September 21, 2012

Big troubles in little 'Haven': Emily Rose, Eric Balfour, Lucas Bryant on season three

From left: Balfour, Rose, Bryant. Courtesy Syfy

After nearly a year since new episodes aired, it's time to return to Haven. But don't let the name of the fictional town from the Syfy supernatural series fool you, there are more troubles than ever in store for season three, which begins tonight, Sept. 21 at 10 p.m.

Based loosely on Stephen King's novella, The Colorado Kid, the series focuses on FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) as she discovers the idyllic small town she's stumbled into is plagued by "troubles," various super-powered afflictions with often deadly, or at the very least, dangerous effects. Adding to the mystery, Audrey finds that this may not be the first time - or even the first lifetime - she's visited Haven. Aiding Audrey's investigation, for the most part, are Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), the chief of police, and Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour), an ethically-challenged boatrunner.

After debuting July 2010, the show saw a five percent rise in viewership over the second season and became a hit for the network. Both seasons are now available on DVD/Blu-ray, and the third season of the mythology-driven show marks a new chapter of Haven as the summer series moves to the fall schedule. Although that ups the pressure on the show, cast and crew feel a sense of validation and say the move signals confidence from Syfy.

Rose, Bryant and Balfour and executive producer Lloyd Segan joined us for an interview to discuss the show's movie, as well as a third season that they promise will answer long-standing questions (including last season's cliffhanger "Where is Audrey Parker") as well as offering new mysteries to unravel, new faces, romance, haunted houses - and time travel? As if that's not enough, the cast even opens up about ghosts, and throws a challenge down to Kris Williams of Ghost Hunters International.

Q: I’ve been seeing the Escape to Haven hash tag promotion and the video and it makes me wonder if the troubles become more organized this season like they tried to do at the end of last season and how that might affect your characters?

Eric Balfour: I think the coolest thing about what we’re trying to do with the, you know, Twitter stories and the online, you know, sort of interactions and storylines is really to enhance the experience of the show for everybody. It’s not necessarily, you know, something that nobody else is doing at this point.

But we’re really trying to, I think, do it in the unique way that makes it exciting for the viewers and makes it exciting for the fans to feel like they get a little bit extra and a little bit more than just from watching the episodes on television. And then hopefully, also enhance the experience of watching the episodes.

Lloyd Segan: Yes - well, that’s - I couldn’t have said it more eloquently than Eric did. I think what’s neat what this initiative is and it is unique in that we were the first people to really take social media and take it to another level last year with Vince and Dave’s experience and interaction with our audience.

This year we’re going way beyond that and integrating these opportunities for our audience to interact and sharing with them gems that are going to be happening over the season. And also helping people who have never seen the show before and getting them excited about possibly joining our community.

Q: One of the big things on the show is obviously kind of the love interest and everything going on and Nathan’s now starting to open up and kind of tell Duke what’s going on and everything. Can you talk about how all that’s going to kind of develop throughout the season?

Lucas Bryant: Yes, I guess. Nathan is now in a place where - in the second season we saw him sort of uncomfortably thrust into the position of police chief. And in the third season he’s kind of manned up a bit and he’s accepted his position and taken more - I think, taken more initiative. And our - Duke - and my relationship with Duke this season takes a number of turns, doesn’t it? I guess it comes - it goes - we fall in love and then we break up again.

But, you know, the cool thing about - I guess it shows many sort of love stories and Nathan and Duke are sort of arch enemies or each other’s nemesis in many ways. But, what really is under that is a great affection for each other and I think both of them really care about each other and rely on each other.

So when they get to occasionally team up, we have a blast doing that and we get - we did get an opportunity to do more of that in season three and I think they do - they work better together than against each other.

Eric Balfour: I like to think of Nathan and my character’s relationship as sort of like When Harry Met Sally. And I think now we’re sort of in the second act of When Harry Met Sally when I think they’ve probably, you know, slept together at this point but it was a little awkward and they’re going to have to now realize how much they actually mean to each other.

No, I think, you know, the show obviously has this really exciting element of the troubles and every week you have these, you know, fantastic, you know, scares and mysteries. But, at the core of this show, it really is about this love story and this triangle between these three characters and about the different relationships that Emily’s character, Audrey, has to these two men. And they sort of represent different components of her own personality, if it’s okay for me to say that.

And, I think what the writers even told us at the beginning of the season and what was most exciting for me and I think is going to be incredibly exciting for the viewers who turn in this - tune in this year is that this love triangle is really going to just be like a rubber band. And it’s going to expand and contract and move and grow and cause riffs and strifes and it really is dynamic this season.

And I think that’s what’s going to be ultimately I just think the most exciting part for the fans of this show because we really do get to take the audience on a ride this year with the love story that goes on between these characters. As friends, as lovers and it’s my favorite part of the show this season.

Courtesy Syfy
Q: What did you guys each learn about your characters this year as - without, of course, spoiling too much?

Emily Rose: Well, it’s interesting. I think Audrey, the first season she just kind of is curious when she finds a connection with the place of Haven, that there’s something there about herself. And then by season three, she’s facing some really, really dark, dark, dark, questions regarding who she is and there’s a - sort of a clock in play. So, it’s really, really hard and I think she’s in a really, really hard place all season. It’s not a fun place for her to be in mentally.

And I think - it was interesting, we filmed the second to the last day yesterday when we were finishing up the season and there’s this one scene at the very, very end of the season where Audrey is able to kind of ask all of those questions that she sort of dealt with and it’s just neat. It’s neat to have posed a lot of questions to the audience for so long and then finally have a season where some of those things are addressed or directly asked and to see what kind of answers are given is really, really interesting.

Eric Balfour: Yes, and, I mean, for Duke this season, Duke is going to have really decide who he wants to be in this world and he’s going to get pushed to limit and has to make some really tough choices about who he wants to be in this town and in this world and to these two people in life.

Lucas Bryant: And for Nathan, I learned that Nathan has a lot more ability to find his private parts and strap them on then he might’ve necessarily known. That’s maybe a crude way to say it but, it’s the truth.

Q: Haven has generally been a summer series but this year it’s moving to a fall premiere. What was the motivation for this and do you think it will help or hurt the show?

Lloyd Segan: Well, I can give you what is the total honest answer without posturing whatsoever. I think it shows the strength of the show and the franchise to the network and that the network sees great growth potential in the fall. And they are very excited about the two-hour block that now has been created with our marriage to WWE and obviously our connection to that is even deeper now with the role of Dwight played by Adam Copeland aka Edge.

And so, I believe, as they believe that there is greater opportunity for us now to reach an even more diverse audience. And so that is the goal and aspiration and I think it’s a pretty wonderful vote of confidence for the show.

Eric Balfour: Yes, and I think from a - just from the standpoint of the cast, you know, we were both excited and nervous about the prospect of this. I think on the one hand what Lloyd just expressed, we all felt. I mean, it felt like we’d been sort of, you know, really, you know, been validated that they believed in us enough to put us on the fall schedule.

The challenge of that, obviously, is, you know, in the fall there are more shows, there is more options for people to tune in to, there’s more competition. And so, you know, there is - with great risk there is great reward and I think that’s what we’re facing right now.

So, you know, I think the one thing I would just like to express is that that’s why it is so important - given the hiatus that we’ve had, you know, whereas normally we would be on in the summer a few more extra months, we really, really need, you know, journalists like yourself, fans of the show, everyone who loves the show and wants to see it continue to really get out there.

Q: What in the new season are you most excited for fans to see?

Lucas Bryant: Well I think season just feels like the show’s really got its game on. Everything, you know, the scripts this year are hugely ambitious and I think succeeded in producing hugely ambitious storylines. The stakes are that much higher. Like, everything’s just kind of juiced up a bit.

So, for, you know, for people that enjoyed following the first two seasons felt like it’s been a sort of steady increase on intrigue and it - and it’s like the lid gets blown off a lot of it this year. And so I’m excited to see how people react to that. A lot of big questions and big mysteries are answered in a way that they haven’t been up until now. And, you know, and I think just each show is bigger and better than ever before.

Eric Balfour: Yes, I’m most excited about the fans getting to see just how deep down the rabbit hole this show goes this year. It really goes - it really just sort of opened Pandora’s box and it kind of lets everything out of the bag, it’s pretty cool.

Emily Rose: Yes, I think that’s the neat thing about the genre of sci-fi is that a lot of things are possible and this season with the methodology of this show, we actually go into a lot of those questions and see some of those answers sort of face to face. I’m really excited about the finale, we just shot that. And I think that by the end, people are going to be like what the heck, you know.

So that’s exciting to me to have shot the finale and to feel like it’s a strong, strong season. You know, looking back and going oh, that was a cool episode.

Then that was that episode. Oh, and that was that episode. You know, it’s like it’s really neat to feel like you have a - like a very large, large amount of very strong episodes. That’s exciting for a cast, to look at their season to see that.

Q: What sort of troubles are you expecting in this season too?

Emily Rose: There’s actually really - there’s actually a very funny trouble this season. It’s a side note one but it’s pretty funny.

Eric Balfour: Like, right off the bat, there’s some huge ones. There are some dark - well, right. Okay, if you’ve seen the first - you’ve seen the first few episodes. Then you see, in like episode two, is pretty freaking weird and then episode three is probably one of the darkest episodes we’ve ever done. It’s like super weird. That’s the farmer.

Lucas Bryant: Yes, I mean, well in this season we get into like, you know, organ stealing trouble and mind control troubles and we get into all kinds of, like...

Eric Balfour: Time travel.

Lucas Bryant: Yes. Electrocution troubles this season. There’s - I mean, I thought we kind of - I always wondered after a couple seasons how we would, you know, keep doing this and I was like, what else could you possibly do. And believe me, the writers figured out ways to do it because the troubles this year are out there but in the best way possible.

Bryant, Balfour, Rose make a discovery. Courtesy Syfy
Q: Each of you have gotten much more of your backstories as the show has progressed, coming into the show and as time has gone on, how much have each of you known about your character’s history? Have you found it out when we found it out or did you come in kind of getting a bible on your character to know what was going to be filled in?

Emily Rose: No, I think I said this before in interviews, so I hate to say it again but it is true. I’ve never in my life ever played a character where I didn’t know the backstory on her where that was the story, was filling in the blanks. Like, I have very, very basic things and then at the end of season one, I was told all of those things weren’t real. So I’ve never - in every acting class you ever go to, your questions that you’re asked is who are you, where do you come from, what were your parents like, what kind of social status do you have, all these things. And a lot of those questions were unanswered mysteries for Audrey and then she finds out she may not even really be Audrey.

So it’s - it wasn’t anything that - I mean, we had some discussions about, you know her training as an FBI agent, those things that were kind of inherent to who she was and to - for the day to day of the show to work. But when all that gets thrown out, it’s mainly just been a discovery of who she is and just living in the unknown and discovering that on a daily basis. Did you guys have a bible?

Lucas Bryant: No bibles allowed. I mean, nothing, you know, not like that. Bibles are welcomed but show bibles for this show, I don’t think they exist and if they do, they don’t tell us. I know that the writers have, you know, plans about where they’re going and where we’re going and where we’ve come from and what we’ll learn as we move forward. But, initially, I was like, you know, tell me what’s going on and then they said no. And then I said, please and then they said no. And then I realized that I liked that situation because I am, you know, as clueless as my character, just discovering what’s going on as he does. So that’s all I get.

Eric Balfour: Yes, that’s actually really interesting because they told me everything about my character. They said Duke lives on a boat and that was all I needed. And I’ve been pretty much going off that for three years now and it’s worked out, I mean, pretty well in my opinion.

Q: What can you tell us about your Halloween episode coming up.

Emily Rose: It’s very scary and we were actually warned before we filmed in the location that it was a haunted location. Nothing really happened to us while we were there...

Eric Balfour: That’s not true ... I got knocked on my ass at that house and had a bruise the size of my face on my left butt cheek.

Emily Rose: That is true and you took me out in the process.

Eric Balfour: Yes. The ground underneath that house literally sucked my leg out from underneath me, threw me on the ground and then took out Emily with it. That wasn’t my fault.

Emily Rose: It was really cool because we opened up a closet and in the back of this closet were all of these really old - what were they called ... piano scrolls. And our art department had to put them in there, so it was a really eerie, weird house. Jason Priestley came back and directed that episode, which is always fun to see him again and have him working with us. But we were really happy to get out of that house.

Lucas Bryant: Yes, it was claustrophobic.

Emily Rose: Yes, it was creepy.

Eric Balfour: And also the Halloween episode is amazing because we have the amazing Iain Glenn from Game of Thrones in the episode ... And this location was a ol I think it was like a old brick - like an old railway hotel and...

Lucas Bryant: It was a brothel.

Eric Balfour: Yes, perhaps maybe a brothel.

Lucas Bryant: It was a whorehouse ... this place was in Nova Scotia’s most famous whorehouse.

Eric Balfour: There was a mass murder that actually took place in the house ... I don’t know.

Lucas Bryant: We don’t know about that.

Eric Balfour: I’m making this up as I go.

Lucas Bryant: But I - but you could - you know, it was definitely a creepy joint and we did get a visit from the paranormal society that tried to warn us off shooting there but we don’t take any advice from anyone. And we risked life and limb to bring you this...

Eric Balfour: Yes, apparently, the cast of Ghost Hunters International, another Syfy show, wouldn’t even come to this house, they were too afraid. So, I’m just throwing it out right now, I challenge you guys. Bring it ... Bring it Kris [Williams] ... I know Kris is on that show.

Q: What was your most memorable moment filming this year?

Eric Balfour: My most memorable moment was there is an episode where a woman is trapped in a car that is sinking under water and it was a huge stunt. And it was, you know, the first time where our show felt really big and we have the car over this cliff, in the ocean waves crashing on it, paramedics and stunt guys and cranes. And that to me was probably the most memorable moment was this. I mean, I felt like we were making a movie. It was really cool.

Emily Rose: I felt that way too about episode - I’ll say this all the time - but episode 309. We - it’s a time travel episode and watching our entire - every single department show out like completely to the nines, like this era. I mean, it felt like a film. I mean, I felt - you walked on set and Haven was still Haven because it feels classic and sort of timeless, but yet it was getting to see it like it all of it’s like shine and glory from that '50s era. And it was fan-freaking-tastic.

Eric Balfour: Yes, it’s true. That was - that’s probably my - one of my highlights from this year too is that whole episode was - it was like doing a, you know, period film. The production value was just amazing. Hair and makeup and wardrobe and the art department was really - did a phenomenal job and we had such cool locations and scenes. It was really exciting to be a part of.

Lucas Bryant: Yes, I think it’s one of the funnest parts about this element of this season is, you know, the moments where we got to see Haven at the turn of the century and other centuries and in other decades this, you know. And, you know, we’ve always sort of known these different incarnations of Audrey exist but to kind of go and see some of them in different versions is going to be - it’s going to be really fun for the fans.