Forget ‘idyllic,’ ‘charming,’ and ‘pastoral.’ Forget Norman Rockwell-esque depictions of kindly postmen and cherubic kids playing softball. Everyone knows that small towns are really a hotbed of secret supernatural shenanigans. Conveniently, the notion of stereotypical small-town eccentricity absorbs all manner of erratic behavior, and when denied daily doses of Starbucks and reliable iPhone reception, plenty of city dwellers can be relied upon to display behavior that smacks of demonic possession.
Based (very) loosely on Stephen King’s 2005 novella, The Colorado Kid, Syfy’s new series ‘Haven‘ happily fuels the notion that nothing will pop a small-town housing bubble faster than telekinesis and gravity manipulation. In a recent conference call, ‘Haven’ stars Emily Rose and Lucas Bryant, and the show’s executive producers/co-creators/writers, Jim Dunn and Sam Ernst, discussed what viewers can expect from this upcoming series about small-town strangeness.
“We have two elements to the show,” explained Ernst. “One is we are going to meet in each episode a supernaturally afflicted person like we did in the pilot and so we’ll tell that story, every week there will be a new person. So we’re doing this as a standalone show, each episode as a standalone episode so the people can jump in Episode 6 or Episode 16 or wherever they come in and they’ll be able to enjoy it. However, there is a mythology to the show, and Jim and I being sci fi/supernatural geeks, we actually know the last scene of the series, whether that’s Episode 25 or 75. We know that scene, so we know exactly where we’re going. They will be stringing along to sort of talk about the story of Audrey and Nathan and the town of Haven and where it’s going.”
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Translating Stephen King’s written words into a successful cinematic experience has challenged many a hopeful Hollywood filmmaker. Dunn admitted that simply obtaining King’s approval was the most daunting step of all in bringing this latest adaptation to the small screen. “We jumped through a variety of hoops, the biggest one being Stephen King liking the idea, liking what we were doing with the basic core of his book,” said Dunn. But King did indeed give the go-ahead, and the creators assure us that this project is far more than a rubberstamp branding opportunity. King “has seen the pilot, he’s been involved in everything,” said Ernst. And will viewers be rewarded with one of those classic on-screen cameos by the author himself? “We’re trying, man,” Ernst added. “We are so trying.”
Emily Rose admitted that she found herself far less fond of the novel than the script. The book was “not tidy at the end,” she explains. “It’s not tied up in a bow. It’s not, “And this is what has happened, exactly, to a T.” She added, “When I read the Colorado Kid [the novel], initially I had a very strong reaction to it. I sort of threw it across the room and was like “What?!? What the heck??!?” And then I picked it back up, and Stephen King so wonderfully in his afterword sort of nurses you through it, and kind of helps you digest it.” In contrast, it was love at first reading when the pilot script made its way to her doorstep. Rose said: “Sometimes you read pilots, and you’re kind of like, “I guess I could grow to love it.” But this was one of those that was really special from the get-go, where I really fell in love with the character. It was really exciting to me, and I was turning each page, looking forward to what was happening.”
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Co-star Lucas Bryant jokingly relayed that his subsequent involvement in the project was primarily a benevolent and selfless gesture of damage control. “I too, I read the pilot, loved it from the start,” Bryant says. “And then………I found out that Emily was attached to it. I had the pleasure of working with Miss Emily Rose before. And so I told them, you know, that she is a total nightmare, and if they were going to be able to deal with her, they needed me. And they bought it. Then I also bribed them with Canadian chocolate bars, which went down really well.”
As is always the case when you plop a pair of law enforcement types into a supernaturally-focused TV series, Mulder and Scully comparisons have inevitably followed. Bryant welcomes the challenge of trying to fill those shoes, albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek. “They’re great,” he says. “They’re like a beautiful classic couple, and I think we’re probably the next beautiful classic couple.” He adds, “I really fought to get Gillian Anderson’s hairstyle and color, but no luck yet…..”
Haven premieres Friday, July 9 on Syfy.