THE HEALER Happenings – July 9, 2015


click here for more on THE HEALERPosted: July 9, 2015

THE HEALER is a new feature film starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen (NBC’s DRACULA), Camilla Luddington (GREY'S ANATOMY), Jorge Garcia (HAWAII FIVE-O) and Jonathan Pryce (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN).

Each week, Sea And Be Scene brings you an exclusive and intriguing glimpse into this exciting production, shooting this summer in Nova Scotia.


THE HEALER Happenings - Posted July 9, 2015
By Skana Gee, Unit Publicist

It’s an unusual challenge for a production designer in Nova Scotia – making Lunenburg look like … well, Lunenburg.

Many times, films and television shows choose to shoot here because our province’s landscape, scenery and architecture can easily double for the places their stories are set. These have included Maine (HAVEN, DELORES CLAIBORNE, CLOUDBURST), New Hampshire (THE WEIGHT OF WATER), Massachusetts (the JESSE STONE movies, JUMPING THE BROOM, VIRGINIA'S RUN), New York (LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND) and even Viking-era Norway (OUTLANDER).

Healer-Savvy Sailor

But in the case of THE HEALER, production designer Angela Murphy was charged with creating a world that is Lunenburg (production designers are responsible for the visual concept of a film, including sets, locations, graphics, props, lighting, camera angles and costumes, in concert with the director and producer).

The film tells the story of bad-boy Alec Bailey, who escapes his gambling debts with the help of a mysterious uncle who sends him from London to Lunenburg on an unexplained mission.

“I think it’s the first time we’ve shot a town as the actual town. From an art department standpoint, that’s a bonus,” says John Hencher, who as art director helps execute Murphy’s vision.

THE HEALER double decker bus

The unique situation meant that instead of creating new signs for local businesses, the original signs were allowed to stand, which provides built-in promotion for places like the Savvy Sailor café, a focal point in the film. There was no need to swap Canadian signs, licence plates and flags for American versions, as is often the case on film and television productions shooting here. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of work for Murphy and Hencher, as well as 1st assistant art director Luke Merdsoy and art department trainee Cat Maltais.

Certain businesses in Lunenburg had to be altered because they are part of international chains. The intent was to showcase Lunenburg and its culture, meaning best to ‘keep it local.’ The Savvy Sailor, although licensed in real life, becomes a non-licensed restaurant / café in the film.

THE HEALER also filmed at a property on the Aspotogan peninsula, which doubled as Alec’s house and where the design team had to craft what look like windows under the deck, in order to facilitate a drone shoot meant to capture a particular light pattern.


They also built a very cool basement set in the studio space at Dartmouth’s Tour Tech, and made the Halifax Club into a swanky London restaurant.

The production continues filming this week in Halifax, which is ably filling in for the UK. Locations include the historic Bank of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, NSCC Waterfront Campus as the Halifax airport, The Press Gang as a British pub, the interior of St. Patrick's Church, an apartment at Dartmouth’s King's Wharf, and along Granville Street, where we’ll soon see an entrance to the underground train.

THE HEALER customer built truck

Another interesting design feature in the film is the truck presented to Alec when he lands in Lunenburg. Custom-built by John Nizman of Last Chance Auto Restore in Ontario, it features parts from a 1962 Dodge pick-up truck, street signs, a mounted bass, paddles, and paint-can headlamps, among other unique attributes.

“It’s really colourful and a mishmash of so many things,” says Hencher. “Everybody who goes by smiles at it or takes a picture. It’s a child’s dream.” SG

the healer blog CENTRAL end small

THE HEALER Unit Publicist Skana GeeSkana Gee is unit publicist on THE HEALER. She’s been a communications consultant – specializing in film and television publicity – for the past seven years. Before that she was a long-time newspaper reporter and editor, covering everything from municipal politics to crime to entertainment. She lives in Halifax with her partner and two mostly wonderful children. She likes reading, running and a good vanilla latte.

While you're here check out previously posted articles on THE HEALER - Blog Post July 3/15, Blog Post June 23/15Blog Post June 17/15, Blog Post June 10/15Cameras Roll on THE HEALER, Blog Post June 2/15, Blog Post May 28/15, Blog Post May 21/15, Blog Post May 16/15 The Healer Heads to Halifax & the South Shore

THE HEALER twitter picSABS On-Line Hook-Ups for THE HEALER


Twitter: @healermovie

Facebook: Healer Movie

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1 Comment »

  1. As someone who worked in the film business for 25 years in Alberta mostly, and was a Picture Car Guy amongst many jobs, I ❤️ Love The Truck ! Fantastic , well done ! Love the Film too

    Comment by Rodger — April 9, 2020 @ 10:25 pm

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