Atmospheric Stephen King Tale Is In Good Creative Hands In New Syfy Series

“The ability to show up in different places all around the world without the jetlag … that would be my power! Just to be able to think about L.A. and go back, or think about [my home state of] Washington and go back, and then come back here [to Nova Scotia] to work!”

Actress Emily Rose (Jericho) laughs as she imagines what supernatural power she would like to have if she really lived in a town like the one her character visits in the new Syfy series Haven. For the people in Haven, Maine, are quite accustomed to such powers — the small enclave is a refuge for people afflicted by supernatural abilities. And it is here that FBI agent Audrey Parker (Rose) comes to investigate a murder, along the way partnering with a local cop (Lucas Bryant) and meeting a mysterious and charming man played by Eric Balfour. Haven, to the orphaned and family-less Audrey’s amazement, also turns out to hold some pieces to the puzzle of her own lost past.

“[Haven] is a small, sleepy sort of Stephen King town,” Rose says. Which makes sense, since the series is based on a King novella called The Colorado Kid. Loosely based, by the sound of it. Intriguingly, it sounds like mainly the book’s atmosphere was adapted. And considering that the book’s mystery is never fully solved, that atmosphere may be just what King had wanted the story’s takeaway to be.

“I read it,” says Rose. “It’s not like The Green Mile or something where everybody knows about it. It’s kind of more obscure. … But the great thing that Stephen King built in there for us was the character of this place. … People who read the book should not expect for it to be that story. We’ve gotten to take liberty with these characters. We took just the feeling of the [book’s] main woman Stephanie.”

But before you fear that too much liberty has been taken with King’s work, know that among the creative forces behind Haven are some people who helped reimagine King’s The Dead Zone and adapt it into a successful series. Dead Zone co-creator Shawn Piller is an executive producer, as are Dead Zone writers Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn, both of whom also wrote Haven‘s pilot episode.

“Sam and Jim totally latched onto the mystery surrounding this area,” Rose says, “and we kind of live there, live in those feelings, live in that eeriness.”

King himself seems to approve, according to Rose.

“He’s not here with us [on a day-to-day basis], and we’re not in direct talks with him, but Sam and Jim are more in contact with him and running their ideas by him to make sure that we’re not going outside of anything that would be within the realms of this town. The last I heard from him, he was like, ‘This sounds like so much fun, this sounds great.’ He’s definitely aware of our world and what we’re creating and a part of the approval on it.”

The world they are creating is being filmed in Nova Scotia, which enhances the illusion that the characters are actually in Maine and adds to the eerie beauty of the story.

“When I arrived,” says Rose, “I got out of the car in Lunenburg, which is one of the towns we’re filming in, and I was like, ‘Yeah, we cannot film anywhere else. It has to be here.’ It’s eye candy; it’s picturesque and intriguing. … It adds to the eeriness of the show. It’s absolutely beautiful.

“It does have a very small-town feel out here. Everybody sort of knows each other, and it’s kind of fun. I think we as a production sort of feel that way, coming into these places and everybody is asking, ‘Oh, what’s this Stephen King project you’re working on?’ And everybody talks about it, and it’s a big deal in the local papers. So it really helps out with feeling you’re an outsider and coming in, and building that into my character, and also being like, ‘I’ve never been here before; what is this place about?'”

Rose is also interested in exploring what her character is all about.

“The fact that she’s an orphan is a huge detail,” Rose explains. “It’s not like she has a home base, or a sound family — or even a dysfunctional family — that she’s running from. She has no pieces of the puzzle to kind of put together her own life, which I think is what’s caused her to go into investigation and detective work, and become this workaholic that’s always searching things out. For the first time, she ends up stumbling upon a photograph which looks like, and is linked very much to, who she is. It’s kind of the first hiccup in her life where she’s like, ‘Oh, my word, I’ve got a clue. I need to see what’s going on here.’ We kind of come to discover whether or not what’s going on in this town and what’s her — is that linked or not?”

Audrey’s partnership with Bryant’s character Nathan is also a theme in the series, according to Rose.

“His link with the town and these paranormal, weird things that happen to the people there,” she says, “they’re not really super powers, but they’re not really phenomenon. They’re definitely things that the people in this town are trying to deal with and don’t understand. So in their partnership, [Audrey and Nathan] are drawn into the troubles that are going on in this town and trying to figure out what’s behind it.”

If the idea of a small town filled with people with amazing abilities sounds like another Syfy series called Eureka, Rose can see the comparison — but also notes the thematic differences.

“There’s definitely comparisons, only in the aspect of it being like a small town and an outsider. But [Eureka] is more like the science type of things going wrong. This is very much these human experiences. It’s not so much paranormal oddities of a small town. It’s more about the emotional reaction and the emotional journeys of these people. [Haven] definitely has a dark underbelly that I’m not sure is in Eureka. It’s like the Stephen King Green Mile, Stand By Me vibe that you get. That’s different from Eureka, [which is] lighter. It’s like comparing Stand By Me and The Sandlot. They’re both fantastic and follow this band of boys, but Sandlot is a lighter thing, and Stand By Me is triggered by this missing kid and the eeriness and the depths of development in the journey of these boys and the dark side of that. I feel that Haven is more about that. It’s a little weightier and a bit darker. Yet it will catch you off guard with some of the humor.”

Rose was also on a fairly dark, cult series called Jericho, which certainly had loyal fans that she hopes will check out Haven, along with the fans who have loved her voiceover work in the Uncharted video game series.

“I hope that the fans of Jericho follow me over! There’s some pretty diehard fans that you don’t want to lose. I cannot express the quality that we’re getting from the writing and the filmmaking process of [creating Haven], and matched with the visual effects. It will not only draw in Jericho fans, but also the Uncharted video game group, and there’s a big following from that kind of adventure of the tough girl that’s going on these treasure hunts with Nathan Drake, and her tenacity. Audrey Parker is definitely not Elena Fisher [Rose’s Uncharted character] but has similar gumption. I’m excited that I have both of those worlds to pull from, because I think that those fans will feel really excited to have a place to channel their love of the genre.”

And Uncharted fans will have another chance to channel their love of Rose as Elena, as Rose says a third game is in the works.

“I’m hoping to do Uncharted 3,” she says. “Because that’s definitely coming out and we’re trying to work that around all this Haven stuff. So that would be the next thing, but that would be hopefully after I’m done filming here.”

Haven airs Fridays on Syfy beginning July 9.