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Colin Ferguson Previews Haven’s “Just Passing Through” [Exclusive] 

Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy
Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Here at TV Goodness, our affection for Colin Ferguson predates the blog. We loved Eureka, and were thrilled when Ferguson found his way to Haven last season as sh-t disturber William. This summer, another set of fans discovered him when he moved into Cedar Cove as Paul, the new DA who developed a particularly strong bond with Olivia. In recent years, he’s also done a stint on the fifth season of The Vampire Diaries. Thursday night, he returns to Haven as the director of the extraordinarily mythology-heavy (and fantastic) “Just Passing Through,” and then [SPOILER ALERT] he’s back onscreen next week as William. I jumped on the phone with Ferguson yesterday to chat about taking the reins of such a VIP episode and jumping back into William’s shoes, as well as his work on the aforementioned trifecta of shows.

Ferguson says directing Haven was part of the deal when he came aboard last year, but he never expected to get an episode like this one, which marked the return of series creators Jim Dunn and Sam Ernst. “[When I was cast], I said I’d love to come up, and [asked if it] would it be possible to direct one. Of course, they wanted to make sure we were a good fit [first],” he says. “They throw you where they can fit you when it comes to directing. I’m sure a consideration was that I was already up there, because I could go right into the next one.”

“I really liked the one that I got, but I was surprised. I figured they would give me a standalone. I appreciated the faith. The fact that Jim and Sam came back to write the script was huge. I was a bit confused [when I got the script with their names on it]. I kept thinking they were going to pull it. They just let me do it. They were amazing. Their stuff was so solid [that it was ready to shoot].”  Working with a familiar, well-oiled crew was a bonus. “What a family they’ve built up there. The crew is amazing,” he says. “They have all known each other forever. It’s a beautiful environment.”

Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy
Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy

Longtime viewers of the show know how important The Colorado Kid story is, and the still photos of the crime scene surrounding his mysterious death have been used on a recurring basis since the pilot was shot back in 2010. Recreating it all on film several years later was a challenge that Ferguson embraced. “It was crazy. The behind the scenes was insane. I went back and looked at footage. I only had six days of prep so I didn’t watch whole episodes. You have to economize where you can,” he explains. “A lot of it was seeing if we could get the same clothes, and see if the actors where available. Plus, everyone is six years older.”

“That iconic shot of Lucy standing there in front of The Colorado Kid was never intended to be an iconic shot. It just ended up being an iconic shot, [so] there wasn’t the logging of information [as happens when scenes are filmed]. Everybody was trying to recreate a photo, which was Herculean at times. On those beach scenes, when the guy got the [original] still photo, the tide was out, so he ran out and got up on a ladder and took the photo. [For us to match it on film] commits us to using a crane and shooting at the right time of day with the sun out, and that was the day it rained all day long.”

Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy
Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy

Another challenge was working around an injury Emily Rose suffered during  the filming of last week’s episode. “Emily had blown her knee out, badly,” he says. “Along with everything we were shooting, I had to clear her for MRIs, and [in two key scenes, she physically leans on her scene partners]. We all decided that it [fit] the character for her to do that.”

One thing you’ll notice watching the episode, which is primarily set in 1983, is a shift in colors to represent the past. It was an intentional juxtaposition to set the tone. “I got together with [DP] Eric [Cayla] and decided what we were going to do ahead of time,” Ferguson points out. “We have to shoot one day in the sheriff’s station in the current time, and one day in 1983. We have six days prep and then shoot six days. It limits what you can do. Light gives us an easy, iconographic way to [establish] a different time.”

The late Jonathan Crombie, who many fans know and love from Anne of Green Gables, guest stars as the 1983 version of Dave. Ferguson was shocked at his passing less than six months after the episode filmed. “He was such a fun guy to work with. He came in with this giant task of replicating somebody else’s character,” he recalls. “He asked me how far we wanted to go. He really found it, and he was so directable. What a joy to work with. We’re less of a community without him.”

Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States, LLC
Photo Credit: Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States, LLC

As timing sometimes goes on these things, Ferguson followed his Haven work (done last fall) with a season-long arc on Cedar Cove, which filmed this past spring and summer and aired into September. It was a refreshing change of pace for the actor, who’s spent years doing genre work. He hopes to return if the series returns–all of the details on the core cast are still being hammered out, so he’s waiting to see what happens.

“They’ve told me that they’ve absolutely, desperately want me to come back. I loved it. What a change,” he marvels. “I’ve come from the sci-fi world, which is grueling. It’s 14-hour days and stunts and gags and green screen and visual effects and all that stuff. To go to a show that’s 11 and a half hours [without all that was amazing]. You just walk into a scene [and act]. It’s so easy. I had a fantastic time.”

He hasn’t been asked yet, but he’d love to join the Hallmark networks’ farm team and work on their films, too. For now, he’s sticking close to home with his young son and enjoying family time. “I found out shooting Haven that directing is really hard right now,” he says. “I’d leave at 5 am and he’s asleep and I’d get home at 9 pm and he’s asleep, and I’d only see him 10 hours on the weekend.” While he’s in LA, he’s keeping his acting muscles limber by doing a series of standup comedy performance around town. You can find out when and where to catch him on his Twitter feed.

He also recently made time for a charity skydive in support of the human rights organization, 18for18. “I’ve done that particular charity three or four years. A friend called me up and asked me to do this to combat human trafficking,” he says. “The fact that that’s still one of the most profitable criminal enterprises on the planet is mindboggling to me.” Although he’s afraid of heights, he says skydiving didn’t phase him. “Ironically this [wasn’t terrifying] because I had a parachute.”

Check back next week for part two of our chat, where we discuss William’s return, Eureka, and The Vampire Diaries.

Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy
Photo Credit: Mike Tompkins/Syfy

Here’s what to expect from “Just Passing Through”–Nathan and Vince return to a historically significant time in Haven’s history, with strict instructions not to interfere (two guesses how that goes), and encounter past versions of modern-day characters that have an impact on each of them. Last week’s last-minute reveal that Dave was possessed by Croatoan is also explained, and a conversation with Nathan sets the entire episode in motion. Outside Haven, Duke starts to work his way toward home. Look for the long-awaited return of Bitten‘s Steve Lund as The Colorado Kid.

The creators and cast have gone above and beyond with this episode to deliver a massive Valentine to the day-one fans like me. It’s been a very long time since I’ve rewatched season one, but this episode made me want to dig out the DVDs. Click here for a sneak peek.

Haven airs at 10/9c Thursdays on Syfy.

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