EMILY ROSE Brings Stephen King's HAVEN to Life on Syfy

The Syfy channel's hit show Haven has been quite a success, especially considering that it can be a daunting task to put a Stephen King-based property on the small screen. We recently got to chat with Haven star Emily Rose, who plays Audrey Parker during a conference call. Rose spoke about working in a genre show, the evolution of her character and kissing Jason Priestly. Oh, there was no way to avoid asking about that! 

 

Newsarama
: I remember you from the Jericho series on CBS and I wanted to know, that was a little bit sci-fi too. Did that help you in any way with the Haven series at all, you know, in terms of getting acclimated to that genre?

Emily Rose: I think it was kind of just a prep for how great the fans are but my part on Jericho didn’t really deal with any kind of crazy supernatural stuff that was going on, not like there is on Haven. My part on Jericho really was more of a part that was based more in reality and I think my video game background with Uncharted has been probably the most help in terms of really having to imagine some things that you aren’t seeing on the day and what not. But yes, it just mainly prepared me for how great the fans are really.

Nrama: I have to ask you this, without revealing any spoilers, are we going to find out why Emily is so immune to some of the - or yourself is so immune, Audrey, is so immune to some of the forces in Haven that she just is not effected by it like some of the other people or most of the other people?

Rose: I don’t know if we're really going to find out why that is as much as we're going to find Audrey searching for her identity and clinging onto that as being something that’s really unique to who she is. I think that’s more in the long term mystery of the mythology of the show but it’s definitely something that we really cling to as part of her identity for sure.

Nrama: Okay and I really feel sad about Nathan this year because it looks like he's pining for you and he doesn’t know exactly what to do now that Chris Brody's in the picture and it's sort of like, you know, he's just waiting in the wings for you and I hope that while your romance with Chris is developing that Nathan isn't sad the entire season. 

 

Rose
: Well, I think that’s what's been great about Episode 6. What's so great about last year is we're able to establish the world in which we want to live and so in order to do that, we need to serve up those relationships and Season 2 is about vending that stuff and stretching it and creating tensions and the great thing to me about this next episode that’s coming is it tests our boundaries on all of those fronts relationally.

And she's jumping into this relationship with Chris I think out of a dysfunctional sort of feeling like who is she and if this other Audrey could have a relationship, why can't she and what is that like. And I think you sort of test those boundaries out on people maybe that you don’t necessarily - that you feel safe to kind of be testers if that’s like not in a cruel way to say it and I think her and Nathan have something really special and I feel like maybe that’s not the proper testing grounds, if that makes any sense.

Nrama: Do you think that the newbie storyline was brought in too close, you know, with Chris and Evi?

Rose: You mean bringing in new people?

Nrama: Yes. 

 

Rose
: No, not really because I feel like we don’t have the luxury of having 24 episodes. We have 12 to 13 episodes to really kind of get across all the different arcs and things that we want to do in the second season. I think it's really exciting to me personally to have everybody so effected by new people coming in because it really goes to show how much they really value the relationships that have been set up between the characters and it's exciting because with change comes new possibilities and I think it shows the different colors of each relationship.

It makes you want to fight for Audrey and Nathan or Audrey and Duke so much more and fight for these things and want to stick around to see if they actually flesh themselves out and I think that if we kind of served up immediately the dessert of what people wanted to see in the first couple, two or three episodes, I think that it's kind of like where do you go from there? So no, I think the timing of it's pretty right on.

Nrama: So let me ask you, what do you enjoy most about working on Haven?

Rose: I think for me this year I enjoy the depth of where we go with the relationships of the characters. I don’t get my, what's the word, creative energy or batteries are recharging from the sort of trouble of the week thing. That to me is kind of what keeps people - well, it's kind of like the laundry line on which everything else hangs. For me, what's enjoyable is the mythology and the characters and the deeper mystery behind this town and so when we get to do really like - when we get to scenes to me that have a subtext and we're not having to explain things exactly on the nose or that involve relationships and history and what's not being said, that to me is my favorite part of working on Haven.

Thank goodness I get along with my cast mates and enjoy the people and think that the place is beautiful. So I enjoy all those things but to me the real reward is working really hard on a scene with the director in the limited time that we have and then watching it really effect people and then watching the fan videos later.

Nrama: So how do you think your character has evolved this season from the last and where do you think that it's going? 

 

Rose
: I think I've said this before so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself but I think last season was really about why should I stay in Haven and what's my connection to the place and why have I been brought here and this season's been more about who am I. Sometimes I get side barred because we have to focus in on the trouble of the week and it's always a challenge to try to portray the duality of that but you know anytime that I can find Audrey being effected by the trouble in a personal way then that’s sort of my way in.

And what I think this year is different for her is there's a bit more of a comfort. Last year she was circling all of her other characters to kind of get an idea of who they are and this year she's at home with them and is circling them and is thrown off by them when there might be a situation that occurs that she's not really familiar that they would handle it in a certain way or you know what she knows about Nathan and he reacts in a way she's not expecting, things like that....that to me is the different side of it and just what's exciting about being able to stick with the series and I'm so excited that our ratings are holding strong every week and that we have an audience that’s returning and coming back because they're getting to know the characters just as well and maybe will have the same reactions as Audrey does when those different situations come about.

Nrama: What was it like for you to make out with Jason Priestly?

Rose: It was weird. I was like is this my life right now? What's happening? Especially because I'd worked with Luke Perry before for a long episode on John From Cincinnati so it was just bizarre that I was like what's happening with 90210 intersecting my life.

 

But really it was great. It's always really great to work with really seasoned professional, creative, talented people because you learn a lot from working with them and there's always the mystery surrounding his name and who he is and then we meet him in person and realize that he's super down to earth and really loves his family and is just really talented and super hardworking and is not a diva at all. It's just great because you learn a lot from working alongside of someone like that that’s very eager to work and make a good story, and so obviously it's always a little weird but then you get over it and you move on.

Nrama: Well, for the upcoming episode, since actors have to do so many takes on a scene, was it easier to relate to Audrey repeating the same day over and over?

Rose: No and that’s a great question. It was just really a challenge for me. I remember going through the script and writing the timeline out of what was occurring. Through the day I would because based on a production schedule I would have to do the day repeating in the same location just at different levels. So what was nice about that is our ADs and our producer set up the best they could to start at the earlier stage and then to slowly kind of fall apart, but what's tricky is how do you make some of these tragic events throughout the day seem different and how do you let them effect you even more each time and how do you step the urgency up each time.

It was a great and wonderful on camera acting exercise for me and one I was really, really excited about. It was really challenging. I knew that when I was walking into that episode I just knew that it was going to be one of the biggest emotionally challenging episodes I've done because from a technical standpoint, not only do you have to make it seem real in the wide shot but the tight shot and the close-up and then also on the reverse for the other actors.

So you're doing a scene that’s really, really emotional probably 12 to 15 times and then on top of that, you need to have the technical DP or focus puller or grip or director talk to you through the scene in a technical way just to pull it off but yet you still have to be freaking out and even though your brain knows that it's not really happening, at the end of that week my body was so tense and so drained because my body thought that I had been through those traumas multiples of times. And so it was a real challenge but a real reward and I really hope people are effected by it as much as I was when I played it.

Nrama: As compared to this time last season, how do you empathize more with what Audrey and what she's going through?

Rose: This may sound really depressing but it was funny. I was laughing with some - well I wasn’t laughing. They were laughing at me but we were talking about Christmas for Audrey and I was talking with some producers and we were talking about what that was and I said, "You guys, I really don’t want to talk about this because it makes me really sad when I think about Audrey at Christmas."

And I've just found that as I spend more time portraying her, you should always have compassion and understanding for your character but I feel it in a much more visceral way now. She's more in my body I think this season and what I mean by that is I really experience if there's something that’s just really sad, it really saddens me like as a friend when they're going through something tragic where your heart really aches and hurts because you feel like you're right along side of them.

I've been feeling that way towards her and so I think that’s a gift and I have to remove myself from that gift sometimes but I think that that’s a really sweet gift to have and it makes her a lot more accessible and a little bit less work I guess you could say.

Nrama: Big game changer at the end of the last episode with Chris. Did you feel - how'd you feel about that when you first learned about it?

Rose: It's always a little weird because you know you're introducing a guest character and that’s going to kind of tear you apart from the subtext that you're creating with other characters but I'm always a little leery of it because you're always like well how's it going to be written, what's going to happen and ultimately it's kind of neat because I think I've been reading a lot of the reviews lately of the last episode. And one of the things people are talking about is Audrey's sort of oblivious nature towards Nathan and how he's feeling towards her.

And I was talking with one of the writers and they were talking about how normally that’s a guy thing, that’s a guy attribute that the guy would be oblivious to the girl who really likes him. And that on our show it's Audrey who I think is oblivious in so many ways because she's conditioned to not connect with people and the only way that she connects and the only time that her connecting is good or that she experiences is when she's actually able to help troubled people. But when it comes to relationships, she doesn’t know anything about that and even if she might sense something from Nathan, she's not. It's too important to her and her job and she doesn’t know how to function.

So, I think when I read about this relationship it was kind of exciting. This is the first time we get to see Audrey actually being the girly-girl and in a relationship but it's almost like she said screw it. I think I'm going to try whatever everybody else is trying and if bad Audrey can have a relationship why can't I and who am I in a relationship and this is a kind of fun place to try that out.

And then also Chris is like opposites attract. He's all about science and he's all about scientific explanations and she's all about safe and her instincts and her intuition and so it was interesting. It was really fun to play and it was really fun to see what that did between Nathan and Audrey and what that did with Duke and Audrey especially when everybody else is so enamored by him and she isn't but then sort of she is. So it's a lot of double edged swords to play but that’s always fun and deep and more interesting ultimately I think. 

 

Nrama
: So I have another question about the relationship of Audrey and Nathan. You just commented on, you know, does Nathan - maybe like her because, he can feel her? What I was thinking about when I was watching it the other day is, it seems like on the show, the people that have troubles, a lot of the solution is for them to be with the people they care about, and I'm wondering if that’s actually more of a hint and a correlation that Nathan has feelings for Audrey and maybe if he was with her he could take care of that - you know, that problem would go away.

Rose: Yes, I think you could definitely be on to something. I always ask the writers that. I wonder if there is a past connection with Nathan and Audrey about why he's able to just feel her and I've definitely wondered that myself, although the hard thing is that makes it hard to get under that theory is the fact that Audrey is able to help a lot of people and in that regard, the people that they are good with.

I was listening to a podcast the other day that was really good and they were talking about our show and one of the things they noted was that there's never a really wholesome working relationship in Haven. The only one that’s remotely close is Vince and Dave, the brothers. All the other relationships are dysfunctional.

Nrama: True.

Rose: Or have fallen apart or there's been sort of severing or something. And so in that regard it's not necessarily that the other people that they're with calm them down. Audrey's the one that’s able to sort of get them to understand and then resolve with those people. So I'm not sure.

I think that there is something to be said between Nathan and Audrey's connection. Nathan obviously is the one that feels it more on his side but Audrey definitely wouldn’t be able to move forward without his support so it's interesting. I don’t know. Good food for thought for sure.

Nrama: It's obvious that Vince and Dave know a lot of what's going on and with Lucy and everything. They seem to have a lot of insight. Why do you think it is that they won't help her, won't tell her? Do you think there's like a big reason behind that or are we going to see that soon?

Rose: I definitely think that there's a big reason behind it. I don’t know the reason. My own speculation is that I feel like they're either ultimately afraid of something or it's like with a child that you think they can only handle so much or they don’t really know all the answers and so why tell some of the answers if they can't tell all of them. Or they're being held accountable to someone else behind the scenes in some kind of way. I really don’t know.

I do know that there is a great moment in the season where Audrey confronts them about that and it's one of my favorite scenes I've been able to play this season as well. So I definitely think that’s a legitimate question and that’s one that she has too. 

 

Nrama
: So what are some of the things we have to look forward to this season beyond the Groundhog Day episode?

Rose: I mean that one is one that I'm really, really excited about, this next episode but yes I think there's an episode coming up that takes place completely in the woods which is really, really creepy and some night stuff that is directed by Lee Rose who is amazing, an amazing director and couple that with our VP Eric Cayla and in the woods at different times of the day. There was a shot where we were sitting there I think I tweeted about it. There was a sunset that we were shooting there the day before our premiere date and it was absolutely stunning and taking up the level of creepiness of Stephen King in that episode is really cool. So I'm looking forward to that episode.

I'm definitely looking forward to some moments in the finale and - with Vince and Dave and between Audrey and Nathan - that are some cool developments. I mean those things are really cool to me. Any kind of heightened emotion and high stakes and stuff that deals personally with the characters to me is great but I think that episode in the woods is episode 10 I believe.

And then also there's a cool episode that actually working with Jason Priestly, the one that he directed, was really neat and that was fun because his character came back for a little bit and that was a blast.

But looking back, Lucas and I were talking about it over the season where we were thinking about okay is this going to be as strong a season, is this going to up the ante this year and as we started going through the episodes out loud and kind of tracking some of the major events, we're like wow, there's some really big things going to happen this season. So it's going to be a great gift to our fans which I really hope they continue to watch for.

Nrama: Can you expand on Audrey's journey this season?

Rose: It's tough because I think she's sort of hunkering down in Haven. I wonder if our season will echo the stages of grief but I think the first season is kind of this denial of what am I doing here and is this really happening and why am I here and the shock.

This season I feel like Audrey's pissed off about a lot of different things as a result of the information she doesn’t know and the information that she finds out and it's kind of a balance of trying to continue to endear the audience and endear them to her and make everybody sympathize with Audrey and what she's going through but also experience some really real emotions about what it feels like to continually get abandoned or not have the answers that you need or just be grasping at straws all the time.

Yes, so I think oh my gosh and then the final moment of the finale just flashed in my eyes. It is huge people, let me tell you. It is big time. So I'm very excited. I'm very excited. It's just more rug pulling out. We all love that, where did that - I did not see that coming, definitely those moments for her.

Nrama: With Haven in its second season, how would you say that Audrey has evolved and how would you say you’ve evolved?

Rose: That’s a good question. I mean I think she's evolved in, you know, she sort of starts out in the way that we see for Audrey come in second season with this sort of structure, law. This is kind of I do the things, you know, the FBI sort of way but I'm also kind of a renegade in that way and then we see her sort of abandon that and sort of find, you know, kind of gravitate more to finding her own sense of identity. And then in the second season we find that as it's being ripped out from underneath her really searching and grasping but kind of figuring out who her family is.

And you know I think I kind of echo that in some ways. I mean I think that I kind of came to the show, you know, trying to be, you know, as professional and as prepared and as focused and concentrated and giving it my all, you know, completely at the beginning and then kind of discovering how, you know, what different parts of me were really Audrey and how to kind of focus on those things and settle and chill out a bit and relax.

And then I think the fact that season you kind of come in relaxed and you think you know that you have it all together but then, you know, it offers a whole new set of challenges and you know trying to balance family life and relationships and you know feeling at home in all of it but also still, you know, getting freaked out by it sometimes.

So I think I echo that in a lot of ways but I think we've grown together definitely. I think there's ways I'm very much different from Audrey. I feel like I have some really great friendships and really fantastic family and you know a sense of humor and kind of can enjoy life and chill and I think Audrey can be a little bit of that but we don’t see that as often.

And in a way I've had to really kind of be careful that I don’t come home from portraying somebody that’s kind of, you know, full of defenses and kind of bugged and frustrated and urgent and stressed out because she can't figure out what's going on. I have to really learn about coming home and sort of dropping that and being like okay, I'm not Audrey Parker. I am Emily Rose. Hi puppy dog, how are you? Hi husband, how are you? it's about, you know, finding a balance between those things but I think I've definitely grown in, you know, not necessarily I wouldn’t say confidence but just ease and comfort about the group of people and being here and being kind of away from my home for five or six months.

Haven airs Friday nights at 10/9c on Syfy.

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