SABS Exclusive – HAVEN’s Jim Dunn Pre-Season 3

Posted: May 14, 2012

When you settle in each week to watch your favourite show – it's natural to get caught up in the story, lose yourself in the adventure and the mystery...enjoy every minute and look forward to the next episode.

Rarer are the times that you imagine what it took to bring that show to life – the cold late night shoots, the lighting just right, the wardrobe perfectly suited, the music that kept you on the edge, the script revisions, the editing, the props, the craft service, etc. etc. etc. It's amazing to delight in the finished product, but every once in a while it's cool to give credit where credit is do – it takes a village to keep the troubled town of HAVEN humming...

So thanks to all and thanks most especially to the two men whose idea it was it the first place.

Jim Dunn and Sam Ernst – the creators of HAVEN. Thanks to them there's an Audrey Parker to puzzle over and a whole heap of troubles to sort through. The pair are also Executive Producers of the Syfy/Showcase hit series and as is their practice each season they are in Nova Scotia during the filming of a couple of episodes.

I took advantage of their current proximity to conduct a little Q&A with Mr. Jim Dunn - so here goes...

SABS: Before we start – let me just say – THANKS!!! I love HAVEN and I'm not gonna kid ya - you've changed the way I look and feel about my own hometown especially after dark. So how did you find the South Shore of Nova Scotia?

HAVEN Nova Scotia locationsJIM DUNN: Working with Entertainment One Television, our studio, we knew from the outset that the show would be a Canadian production.  The question was where, right?

There are always a multitude of factors that go into decisions like that, and we looked at several options.  But at the end of the day, the sheer beauty and look of Nova Scotia was impossible to walk away from.

We were always going to be in Stephen King’s Maine, and of course Nova Scotia is literally as close to Maine as you can get.  But beyond that, the South Shore is simply breathtaking.

A lot of shows struggle to manufacture a sense of place, to find beautiful exterior elements to work into their show.  But we tell people all the time – up here, you just point the camera at anything – and it’s beautiful.  It’s truly the perfect location for this show.

SABS: I can imagine when you create a show – you have a vision for what it will look like when it hits the screen, but now as you're shooting Season 3 – I'm wondering how much of what we're seeing is how you originally mapped it out and how much has evolved creatively with the HAVEN writing team?

JIM DUNN: I hear all the time about shows that get ordered to series – shows that incorporate in their very concept big mysteries or complicated back stories – and then the writers have to scramble to figure out what, exactly, those big stories are.  Astounds me.  I don’t know how to write like that.

Sam and I didn’t even begin trying to sell the idea for the show, years ago, until we had a very clear idea of what was going on in Haven and why.

Details of the story have shifted over time – you have to be flexible, you want to get the benefits of collaboration as you grow a project like this.  But we’ve always had a series of milestones for the show, a set of story points that would propel the big story toward it’s conclusion over the long run.

We really do know where we’re going.


SABS: What makes HAVEN so wonderful is that it really does have every element of great story -  drama, suspense, comedy, mystery, a smidge of romance... the series has it all – but it takes a really great cast to deliver all those elements effectively...how hard was it to find just the right Audrey, Nathan and Duke?

HAVEN Emily Rose - AudreyJIM DUNN: Casting was crazy.

Funny thing is, Emily (Rose) was the third actress to audition and Sam and I fell in love with her for the role on the spot.

We then watched another 120 auditions, all the while with Emily in mind.

HAVEN Lucas Bryant - NathanLucas (Bryant) too – it’s very hard to be a quiet, stoic Mainer and still convey all the emotion his character has bottled up inside.  There weren’t many men able to come close to what we were hoping for from the role, but Lucas has so much joy and energy in him – he can be a total goofball in real life – that he was able to let that energy shine through Nathan's stoic facade.

HAVEN Eric Balfour - DukeAnd casting Eric (Balfour) as Duke was a godsend.  We went through a hundred actors for that role, too, and had wound up with no choices we liked.

And then Eric heard we were looking to cast the part – he’s an old friend of Shawn Piller, one of our producers.  As soon as he read the lines, we were done. It was a home run.  He was perfect.

SABS: In a recent interview, Nora and Lilla Zuckerman talked about how Dave and Vince are going to play a bigger role in this third season – and as we learned more and more towards the end of Season 2 – the Teagues know WAY more than they've been letting let on. In the novella they're co-workers with a 25 year age difference – in the series they're brothers.... between you and me – I love Vince but I've never trusted Dave....give me something where those guys are concerned.

JIM DUNN: Vince and Dave are tremendous fun.

Richard (Donat) and John (Dunsworth) do great work with their roles, they can do anything we ask, they’re so easy to write for.

There are many secrets yet to be revealed about the two of them.

Vince (Richard Donat) & Dave (John Dunsworth)We’ll learn a lot more over the course of this season – I can’t say a lot without giving away spoilers.

In the book they’re sort of into mysterious occurrences.  On our show, they cover them up, and they’ve been doing it for a long time.  They know an awful lot… and yet this season, they get blindsided by events.

Fun stuff to come 😉

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SABS: There are SOOOOO many aspiring writers out there who dream of having their shows get the 'green light'. So I've gotta ask - Is there a part of you that sits backs watching the show each week and says - “how cool is this?”

JIM DUNN: You know, success in TV is a crazy mixture of talent, luck, and a wide array of elements all coming together at the same place and time.  And a lot of hard, not-so-glamorous work.

Sam and Jim go to...HOLLYWOODIt’s a struggle to do good work – that’s true in any field, I think – but when your work is specifically made to seen by millions of people (and live on for who knows how long after the series ends…) it makes for a very high-pressure environment.  It’s easy to get lost in the intensity of the work sometimes, especially once production begins and the deadlines begin coming faster and faster …  But Sam and I both take time to sit back and enjoy what Haven has become.

Long ago, just out of college, we started a restaurant company from scratch and spent many years building that business.  Then we chucked it aside and moved to California to pursue our real dream, writing for film and TV.  And that took many more years.

Foc's'le Tavern, Chester, Nova ScotiaWe have very, very patient wives, I still marvel that they went along with our pursuit of this crazy dream.  So now that we’ve finally achieved some success in our second career, we take time to be grateful.  It’s been a long, strange trip that landed us at The Fo'c'sle  😉

SABS: I love the suspense of it all - so NOT looking for spoilers, but give us your best tag line for this third season of HAVEN.

JIM DUNN: That’s tricky.  The logline might be a paraphrase of a quote I heard once:  “You’d better be interested in the past, because the past is interested in you ... especially in Haven.”  Hmm, maybe not perfect, but it’s something like that.

Follow Jim Dunn on Twitter @HavenJim

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Follow Sam Ernst on Twitter @havensam

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SABS HAVEN Related Stuff:

Bree Williamson tweeted pic from set of HAVEN with Emily Rose @breewilliamsonBREE WILLIAMSON to 'Shrink' HAVEN Troubles, HAVEN Season 3 Week 2,Production Begins on Season 3, Take a Tour of HAVEN, HAVEN Getting Set for Season 3, HAVEN Star Lucas Bryant in "The Vow", It's Official: Season 3 for HAVEN!!!, HAVEN's Season Finale Sneak Peek, We're All For Eric Balfour, Jason Priestley Puts HAVEN on Lockdown, Vinessa Antoine: Evidence of a HAVEN Hit, HAVEN's Ho Ho Ho Show, HAVEN Great Out of the Gate, VINESSA ANTOINE - #FFF Friday Favourite Four, HAVEN Happenings: It’s Episode 209 for 90210 Star Priestley, HAVEN Star Lucas Bryant – “Past, Present, Future & Fate”, HAVEN Happenings: Cristian de la Fuente Coming to Town, HAVEN Day 2 on set and we're all together! Haven S3Happenings - Sightings, Sites & Sounds, HAVEN Happenings - Series Taking on an Edge , HAVEN Happenings April 10, 2011 , HAVEN's Havin' Jason Priestley, HAVEN: Getting Set for Season 2 , HAVEN: Hit's the Beach Then Hit's the Road, On the Set with HAVEN - Season 1

For everything else visit www.showcase.ca/haven

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