During a recent conference call, Haven stars Emily Rose and Lucas Bryant along with co-creators/executive producers Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn shared their insights on this remarkable and mysterious new series coming to Syfy.
In describing how the show will work, producer Sam Ernst said that each week the audience will meet a supernaturally-afflicted person, which will allow new viewers to jump in at any point, and simultaneously the show will have an overall arcing mythology which will tie all the episodes together into a larger story. He explained that he and Jim Dunn had previously worked together on The Dead Zone and, when they were looking to develop a new show, they were introduced to Stephen King’s short story “The Colorado Kid.”
Right away they saw that there could be a television series based on a town filled with people cursed with supernatural afflictions. So, after jumping through a bunch of hoops, including getting Stephen King’s approval, the show was picked up by Syfy. Jim said that right away “it will be revealed why there are so many people with supernatural afflictions here in this one place, and the idea of naming it Haven was that this is a place where theoretically for long periods of time these people are able to be without having their afflictions kick in but now we’re in a time when they are beginning to kick up again — just when Audrey Parker [portrayed by Emily Rose] happens to come to town.” Sam chimed in to add in the second episode, “Nathan [portrayed by Lucas Bryant] actually reveals his perspective on what’s going on and how he knows what has happened in the past, but he has no idea what’s happening in the future.”
Describing how she came to be a part of the Haven world, Emily shared, “This was one of those [scripts] 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, and so I just got involved with auditioning right away and was really fortunate to be there when it all kind of – all the dust settled.” Lucas was similarly drawn to his part as Nathan and said that as soon as he read the pilot he too loved it from the start. He found it was addictive and he could not put it down wondering where the story was leading.
Emily sheepishly admitted that when she first read the Stephen King story “The Colorado Kid” that she threw the book across the room when it ended. She explained, “Colorado Kid is a mystery and it’s not tidy at the end [and] it’s that initial reaction of being like ‘what???’ — I want to know what happened!” So for her Haven is a chance to finally get a chance to find out what may have happened; where the Stephen King story ended, their story just begins.
In describing her character, Emily said that she thinks it is beneficial that the audience sees the town through Audrey’s eyes. As Audrey observes the town’s quirkiness, the audience watches how she copes with all the strange things thrown at her and can relate.
Also shedding a bit of light about what is going on with each of their characters, Emily and Lucas commented briefly about what the major blind-spot for each of their character is and how those blind-spots will trip them up as the story unfolds. Emily said that in the first episode, her character Audrey finds out that there is a link between her family and the town of Haven and as the extent of those ties are slowly uncovered, Audrey becomes a bit derailed by the personal entanglement. Emily explained, “she’s so used to sort of having this kind of defense and that she knows how to operate and she knows how to do her world and her day-to-day but the personal and the emotional sort of things that she has to face, she’d rather not. So I think that’s going to be her sort of blind side.”
Lucas Bryant said that his character Nathan Wuornos is afflicted by a nerve condition where he cannot feel pain and that alienates him from those around him and gets in the way of his personal relationships. Thus, when Audrey shows up, she kind of opens up his world and she will be instrumental in helping him overcome his emotional deficiencies.
On a personal note, for Emily, one of the challenges for her was that she and Lucas had worked on another project together, so she had a hard time shaking off their natural camaraderie and trying to work with him as if he were a stranger. But she also recognized that their natural chemistry and familiarity worked for the characters too. She is also intrigued by how Audrey just wants to emotionally disconnect and Lucas’ character Nathan feels physically disconnected, so the interplay between them is a fine balance and yet works beautifully.
As for the challenges of working on a show filmed in such a remote and isolated area, Lucas commented that while he was initially shocked being at the very edge of the world, he was also stunned by its beauty. It made him feel like they were “strangers in a strange land for a little while when we started shooting which was a perfect place to be.” It helped create the setting and vibe for the show. Emily, “I think that Haven, Maine of course is the central character in this show and all these really cool places surrounding this area, it’s just eye candy. It really sets a tone and a place for us to play and to make these discoveries and it adds a certain weight the minute I stepped out there I was like ‘okay, yep, I can’t shoot anywhere else, this is perfect.’”
Talking a bit about the show and why viewers should tune in, Emily said, “There’s a lot of paranormal weird stuff that people naturally are drawn to, but I just hope that they’ll tune in because they can identify and enjoy spending time with these characters. It’s always exciting when you’re really kind of like, ‘what is going on and what’s going to happen next?’ — then when you double that with a character that you enjoy hanging around and who’s intriguing. I think that’s a great draw to come back and watch it every week .”
Sam also added, “I would say maybe 90 pages are supernatural and the rest of it is just all the sideways stuff. So that’s what this show is about. This show is about people’s lives going sideways after something supernatural happens to them — and what we’re really excited about is tracking Audrey and Nathan and hanging out with them as they try to help these people deal with these things. Sometimes they help them deal with in very positive ways and sometimes things go horribly awry — and watching these two what we hope are very real characters deal with that is the journey that we want to go on with them.”
Jim further elaborated, “We’re trying to use the supernatural elements of the show to highlight the lives of the characters and get more emotional involvement [in the] interesting things in the lives of our characters.”
As a compliment to Jim and Sam, Emily shared, “We love Sam and Jim’s episodes, their writing is fantastic. The thing that we enjoy so much is the natural banter. We want more of that. We want more of the banter between these two oddities. It’s so nice to read a script and genuinely laugh out loud. They have a beautiful marriage of the absurd, mundane and human.”
Ultimately that is what Haven is about: the absurd combined with the mundane and yet very human fears and anxieties. It wants to explore the mysterious and discover its secrets. That is what will keep us all coming back to Haven.
Haven premieres on Friday, July 9 at 10/9c on Syfy. Watch previews, get to know the cast, and more at Syfy’s website.