We drove out to somewhere near the Grey Gull, following signs for the Haven set. Arriving we saw cranes, trucks, crew members and lots of equipment. Around 125 cast and crew are involved in the day-to-day filming of Haven. The team were filming on a typically picturesque coastal road, with the sun beating down, as we were shown round by publicist Skana.

As we walked up a voice shouted ‘Hi guys’ and we turned to see Eric Balfour sitting in his director’s chair! After a brief exchange we were guided into a little tent – the director’s tent – to meet none other than Shawn Piller! He shockingly already knew who we were (Chester really is a small town!) and despite his busy job he took some time to chat and explain a few of the technical aspects of filming in-between takes. We also met Eric Cayla, the director of photography, and Joanne Hagen script supervisor. As we watched the monitors, they talked about how Haven is not shot on film but digital this season – as they simply can’t develop film anymore, and about the use of special effects, and different cameras to film the same scene. Joanne explained her role and how she uses various symbols to denote speech on her scripts. It was entertaining to hear her shouting out lines to the cast who were about 20 metres away whilst hidden in the directors booth!

We were handed headphones connected to the actors’ microphones to allow us to hear the scenes, and moved outside the tent to watch the actors live! No spoilers allowed I’m afraid, except to say we were there for shooting of episodes 513/514. It was an intense scene but needless to say we were already a little breathless with excitement!


Image: on location

As they yelled ‘cut’ we heard another ‘Hi guys’ as Lucas Bryant approached us. We congratulated him on the scene – and on giving great hugs – and soon got chatting about the Bronco. Lucas told us how it always breaks down, earning its own chauffeur – a flat-bed truck! Sometimes they even have to push it into shot. He recounted a scene where he only had to drive it about 20 feet and heard a clunk as he pulled up; later it turned out a 2×4 piece of wood had fallen off the bottom of the truck – “What was it even doing there?” he asked. No idea, but hilarious! Lucas shared his snack of apple slices and almond butter with us – which was new to us Brits – and mentioned how he tries to eat healthily, before being called back to work.

In the next break Emily Rose came up to us followed by Eric Balfour! We gave Emily her collage and she was very sweet receiving it, asking us about the other Haven fans. I was pleasantly surprised that she remembered our meeting in London. She said she was enjoying filming S5 but it was a new experience as Mara, and with a small child to look after. She asked us where we had visited so far and recommended eating at the ‘Seaside Shanty’ – a favourite with the Haven crew. Eric asked me to take his pulse, and told us a story about his uncle who’s a surgeon. Then Eric started messing about – offering us sweets in a loosely disguised attempt to put chocolate sauce on Emily’s face – though she wasn’t buying it!

We met other crew members on set from the hair, sound and transportation departments. Everyone was so friendly and relaxed though Lucas had said it had been an intense day, which made us even more appreciative of our visit. Sadly we had to leave soon after, but not before grabbing a quick photo op. And as a cherry on the cake we received our own signed S4 posters!

IMG_2228haven presents

Images: on location, Haven presents

That evening, as the Seaside Shanty was closed, we headed to the Rope Loft then Fo’c’sle for dinner and drinks with Jayne Eastwood and met some of the sailors participating in Chester Race Week. We soon found out why Emily and Co. refer to Chester as ‘a drinking town with a sailing problem’!


Images: Jayne and the sailors


Before our set visit we headed out to Hubbards, a small town 20 minutes east of Chester, to visit some more Haven locations.

First stop: Fire station VIDEO:

Second stop: The Rev’s Church VIDEO:

Third stop: Hubbards beach VIDEO: 


Images: Poster pics in Hubbards

Arriving at Chester Curling Club, the home of Haven‘s main/ standing sets, the first thing we noticed was the car park, full of trailers and some of the show’s non-human stars …


Images: Haven Car Park 

As we entered extras were standing around in Haven PD uniforms and it really felt like we were entering Haven! We were taken round by Stefanie Deoul, supervising producer, who explained how she’d been involved in finding this unusual location.

First we saw the hospital set – room 4012 of course, and Gloria’s autopsy room including a cold drawer where, instead of a body, she hides a bottle of tequila – and herself! There are some new sets for S5. Shawn Piller really wanted an elevator, and finally got his wish. I loved the attention to details on set – it still looks ‘vintage’ e.g with old defibrillator equipment, papers with ‘Haven Medical Center’ etc strewn about. It looked like Lucas had been doodling on one!

We met some members of the art dept who are legends to me. One explained how he drew the map of Haven – seen e.g. in episodes 201 and 407- and actually did 6 or 7 drafts, trying to think geographically how Haven would be laid out. Of course in reality Haven is filmed in several separate towns so merging it into one town takes some creative thinking. We passed through a room with some props laying about including an old typewriter – again vintage in its appeal. The props master showed us a crow bar and explained how they make 3 identical bars of different weights/ hardness for different scenes (soft one to hit with, hard real one for close-ups)

Stephanie then opened the doors into Audrey’s apartment set. I was gutted to see it had already been stripped in preparation for the move to Halifax but could still make out where Audrey’s furniture had been positioned, and imagine all the famous scenes filmed in there.

Then we entered the Haven police station where filming was that day, and immediately Glenn (Lefchak) came over and gave us a big hug, followed by Lucas who suggested we take some photos…


Image: Group shot Haven PD

I finally met Adam Copeland and fangirled a little. Lots of people were on set that day including Officers Rafferty and Collins. We got to talk to some of the extras too – everyone seemed to be having fun.

We went back to watch the monitors with Shawn Piller. We talked about how 513 and 514 are being shot together, and S4 finale two-parter. They are treating 513 as a season finale. We discussed how in season 5 they’re doing more double episodes. I accidentally hit a guy with my poster who was standing behind me also watching the monitors. He introduced himself as Jay and told me he was there hanging out but had also had a small part on the show. Only later did I realise this was EDGE’S WWE wrestling partner Jay Reso a.k.a Christian (@christian4peeps) – oops! I’m lucky he didn’t pull a move on me, but he was very gracious and polite. I’m excited to see him on the show.

During filming we took a chance to nip into the Haven PD jail set and take pics…


Images: Haven Jail 

In a filming break we went into the Chief’s office to find the Teagues Richard Donat and John Dunsworth sitting there on the sofa! We exchanged a brief hello before they had to leave. I checked out the Chief’s room with Adam and Lucas, who took some silly photos. Lucas is good photographer don’t you think?


Images: the Chief’s Office 

I asked AdamHow do you get into the role of Dwight?‘ – he said he tries to remember Dwight’s precise, with no time to mess about, so speaks quicker and more succinctly than normal.

I also asked ‘How did you justify going from cleaner to chief?’ It’s something he has thought about too. “He is an army ranger so if everyone leaves Dwight is the next best thing as a law enforcer, plus he has Vince’s help and owes Vince. Dwight always wants to protect the town.”

The guys were messing about a little as scenes were being ‘blocked’ and they were reading through their parts but not being filmed – essentially Lucas and Adam jokingly getting in each other’s way – entertaining the extras.

Outside we spent time chatting to Shawn about his father Michael Piller of Star Trek fame, and attending comic cons (with some light pleading that they make it to a British one!). He talked about the fans on Twitter and how his mum (@sandrapiller) seems to forget that when she messages him on social media, everyone else can read it 🙂 As we presented him with his collage Stephanie suggested he record a video message to Jinan and he obliged! Then he recorded a message for Kate Kelton at Laurence’s request aww. He is truly an amazing man.

VIDEO: Shawn’s message to Jinan

VIDEO: Shawn’s message to Kate


Image: Poster pic with Shawn Piller (and Jay Reso)

That evening whilst having dinner at Nicki’s Inn we met Melanie Rush (@MelanieMadrush) and her family, who were also visiting Haven as fans and following our Twitter tour. It was a great end to an exceptional day


Image: Meeting the  Rush family

If you liked that then check out more in Part 4 next week and tweet me your thoughts @tanavip !

This entry was posted in General, Set Visit and tagged Tagged: , , on Monday, December 29th, 2014 .

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