Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Cambridge Times Article about Laura Vandervoort and (her) Bitten series filmed in Hespeler

"Hespeler very much a ‘character’ in Bitten series
Source: Cambridge Times: LINK

 (Hespeler very much a ‘character’ in Bitten series. Actress Laura Vandervoort gets into a cab on the set of Bitten, being filmed, in part, in Hespeler. Photo taken on April 17. Lisa Rutledge)

Local residents will notice a familiar ‘character’ in every episode of the Bitten television series, which is currently in production.

A significant portion of the show – set to premiere on the Space channel next year – is being filmed in Hespeler. Film crews first arrived on April 17, turning the streets into their set and re-branding local businesses to suite their story; they are returning today (May 1) to do the same thing.

And local filming is far from complete.

“The show is set in Toronto and in a fictitious up-state New York town called Bear Valley. We needed kind of a small town appeal and we looked all over the surrounding Toronto area and land on Hespeler as the great main street, small town that fit our story perfectly,” explained J.B. Sugar, executive producer.

“It’s the size of the main street area, the quaintness of the town and the proximity to what now has become our main exterior location for our werewolves, which is called Stone Haven (filmed at an estate property just outside of Cambridge).”

The show, based on the acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series of novels by Canadian author Kelly Armstrong, stars Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Ted, Identity Theft) as Elena Michaels, the world’s only female werewolf. Her co-stars include Greg Bryk (A History of Violence, Rookie Blue), Greyston Holt (Durham County, Alcatraz) and Paul Greene (The Client List, Wicked Wicked Games).

For the most part, filming is being done in Toronto, a Hamilton location and Hespeler.

“We’ll be doing at least a day an episode. Sometimes more,” Sugar said of the frequency of filming in the fictional Bear Valley. “It’s definitely a character in our piece, the locations, and it really speaks to the dichotomy between two worlds our lead character is pulled between – her urban human life and her suburban werewolf existence.

“It’s very important to the success of the show to have these set pieces for us to shoot in,” he added referring to Hespeler. “We’re extremely pleased with what we’re getting on-screen and … working in these towns.”

While it’s difficult to predict precisely when future filming will take place, the executive producer said he welcomes local residents to come see what they’re all about.

“Every episode kind of has it’s own schedule and it’s a moving target. We’ll definitely be back for our next coming episode, but haven’t locked in the date yet,” he said.

“It’s certainly great to have the support when people come out,” Sugar added, requesting that onlookers to be mindful of the crew.

Asked what public response to Bitten’s Hespeler filming has been like, he described it as “unbelievably pleasant” and beyond what he’s seen elsewhere.

“We were welcomed our very first day by signs on the street saying ‘welcome werewolves’ and we were all very touched by the fact that one of the local restaurants actually named a sandwich after our lead actress, Laura Vandervoort, and made a J.B. Sugar espresso,” Sugar said, referring to Montys Tapas Wine Bar. “It was really a welcome change from what we’re used to.”

At this point, 13 episodes of Bitten have been ordered, each an hour-long (minus commercials). It’s not known what fate holds for the show beyond that.

“If everybody in Cambridge, Hamilton and Toronto want to watch the show, that will definitely help,” Sugar said of the prospect of additional seasons. “It’s kind of dependent on various factors, some of which are out of our control, so we just focus on making the best show we can and hope the audience responds.”

With 13 novels in the Women of the Otherworld series – though some go into other areas of the supernatural realm – he doubts they’ll run out of material anytime soon. And if additional seasons are ordered, they’ll “absolutely” be back in Hespeler filming.

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