Strange is the new normal on "Haven."
Random residents of the small town of Haven, Maine, have become inflicted with "troubles," or in layman's terms, supernatural conditions that are more of a curse than a blessing. So when the mysterious William enters the picture with knowledge about "troubles," Audrey's (Emily Rose) current memory loss and her shrouded past, his presence is bound to raise suspicions.
"Haven" kicks off Season 4 on November 8, with actor Colin Ferguson making the first of eight guest appearances in his recurring role as William. Ferguson spoke to HuffPost Canada TV about joining the cult hit, navigating William's intentions and going to the dark side.
HuffPost TV: It only seems like yesterday that "Eureka" was on the air. Were you eager to jump back into the sci-fi universe? How did this role on "Haven" come about?
Colin Ferguson: I feel like at this point, I have a bit of knowledge about shooting sci-fi. I definitely did not come out of "Eureka" going, "I'll never do this again!" I came out of it going, "Wow, I really know how to do this genre. Hopefully I'm considered a bit of an asset in that way because I know what I'm doing."
"Haven" came about in two ways. One, I could get the role because of my presence in sci-fi. Two, because of Shawn Piller, one of the director/executive producers on the show. I've known Shawn for 15 years. For years, he was like, "We'd love to have you on the show." I was like, "Great, I'd love to be on the show." Then you go talk about something else. This time, he said, "We actually have a role this year. A big role, for eight episodes or so. Are you interested?" "Yeah, of course." And the two of us were so excited it was going to work out. That stuff is something you say, but rarely do you get to capitalize on it. We were like, "It's really happening. We're going to be in Chester [Nova Scotia] together."
Let's talk William. What won you over about the character?
That's the funny thing. In the same conversation, I would ask, "Who is this guy? What's the arc?" Shawn would say, "I can't tell you, but..." "Oh, what does that mean? What kind of trap is this? Who is this guy?" He said to come to the writers' room to hear all about William. So I did, and they told me this huge mythology for the character that unfolds and unfolds. From the very first meeting with the writers, they said, "You're going to have to thread a needle. You're going to have to play it as if, 'Is he good or is he bad?'" We're so happy that's exactly what's coming across.
As you mentioned, it's unclear whether William is one of the good guys. What's fun about working that ambiguous angle?
What is great is you always have something to play. Even in the most mundane scene or a filler moment, you can lean into being a good guy and supporting everybody, or, when no one expects it, you can lean into maybe not rooting for people. It gives you a flexible subtext for any scene. And they did a good job with the dialogue. He didn't go from devil to angel. He snakes in between, and not in a creepy way.
But William delivers a pretty cryptic message to Audrey.
What I liked is that tone carries through a lot of different episodes. And it's a great example of what the character is. Is that a threat or a warning to help people?
William could indeed have the best of intentions. Does it still feel like he's the wrong guy to mess with?
I hope so. That's why they brought in a fight, to show he can handle himself. As the series goes along, you can see he can handle himself even more in a way that establishes, "Wow, if he's not good, this is going to suck for them." It just adds a variety of stuff I get to play.
What are viewers going to learn about William's back story and motivations over his arc?
You're going to learn everything over the course of the season. Then, at the end of the year, you're still going to have questions. That's awesome because it means the arc is really full. I can't remember what episode it all starts to come out, but when it does, it's a game changer. It's a great turn for the story.
This is "Haven's" fourth season and by now, it's a tight-knit, well-oiled machine. How was it coming on set and filming those introductory scenes?
Behind-the-scenes, Emily had a baby only six weeks before. They are a month into the season. We're shooting four episodes' worth of stuff in five days. They were really crunching it in so they could give her the maximum rest time. There was all this stuff in addition to introducing a new character. That scene, where there's supposed to be some chemistry, was one of the first things we shot. There's all this going on behind-the-scenes, you only have these three or four lines and the note is, "Have chemistry." I hope we do.
Inevitably, viewers are going to compare your time on "Haven" with "Eureka." How different or similar would you say the tones and storytelling are?
I would say they couldn't be more opposite. The storytelling is way darker on "Haven." They told me when I went in, "Oh, this season is going to be even darker than last season." I was like, "You had someone wearing someone else's skin last season. It doesn't get much darker than that." In "Eureka," we couldn't have stuff like that. Ours was a far more family-friendly show. It might get a little bit scary, but it was definitely light. We had a lot more humour in our show. It was considered a comedy at times. Certain episodes were definitely funny. "Haven" is obviously more of that Stephen King world, where it's unapologetically dark in areas.
Do you get to stretch different creative chops visiting those dark corners?
That's one of the things I really enjoyed about the last season of "Eureka." We had some of the funniest episodes that we'd ever done, as well as some of the darkest stuff. I got to play evil Carter, who is running around the forest looking for the cast to hurt them. I love being able to exercise acting muscles. So, do I like going there? Yeah. Would I want to live there forever? No, I don't think so.
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