Truths, Lies, Troubles & Turmoil: Interview With Haven's Emily Rose And Eric Balfour

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Michael Tompkins/Syfy

(L-R): Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) and Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) investigate a mysterious death in the season 2 Haven episode "Fear and Loathing"

It was a year ago that FBI Agent Audrey Parker came to the small Maine coastal town of Haven on a routine case. Soon after arriving, she was caught up in “The Troubles,” a series of supernatural events that had plagued the town at least once before. At the same time, the FBI agent discovered a newspaper clipping about the 1983 murder of “The Colorado Kid,” with a photo of a woman named Lucy who looked just like her. An orphan, Audrey wondered if Lucy was her mother or at least another relation. She subsequently decided to quit the FBI and took a job with the Haven Police Department in order to stay in town and hopefully learn more about Lucy.

By the time Haven’s first season was winding down, Audrey had uncovered additional evidence that forced her to consider that she, in fact, might be Lucy. As if this was not unnerving enough for her, at the very end of the season one finale “Spiral,” a woman claiming to be FBI Agent Audrey Parker shows up in town. Talk about a case of mistaken identity. So where does this leave our heroine, not to mention the actress who plays her, Emily Rose, when Haven returns tonight (Friday, July 15th @ 10:00pm on Syfy) with its second season opener, “The Tale of Two Audreys.”

“Season two picks up right where we left off last year and I think viewers are going to be really excited about that,” says Rose, during a break in filming on Haven’s Nova Scotia, Canada set. “Audrey is on the beach when this stranger - who we call Fraudrey [Kathleen Moore} - comes up to her and says that she is the real Audrey Parker. That, of course, turns my character’s world upside down, and my big question to the show’s producers and writers was, ‘How do I move forward from this?’

“If I found out that I really wasn’t Emily Rose but someone else, I think I’d stay in and watch a lot of movies and eat some chicken noodle soup or whatever. Audrey, however, ends up having to plug away [at her job] and does the only thing she knows how to do. Another Trouble rolls into town and she gets thrown right back into that, which I think is good because it kind of distracts her from the drama in her own life and of that moment. So we start off on this journey of solving a new Trouble, and this is also coupled with this dilemma that my character is facing of trying to figure out, OK, if she’s not Audrey, then who is she?”

Audrey Parker is not alone as far as personal turmoil this year on Haven. In “Spiral,” her friend and partner, Police Officer Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), discovered some shocking truths about his past that he is trying to deal with. Meanwhile, actor Eric Balfour’s character of the town’s jack-of-all-trades-cum-restaurant-owner Duke Crocker continues to live his days in constant fear for his life.

“Duke is in the middle of trying to track down the meaning of these mysterious tattooed people and this possible death ring that’s coming for him,” notes Balfour. “The most enjoyable part of playing this character is that Duke is sort of a ‘pirate’ and he does whatever he feels like, so I can sort of be silly and funny with him. This season, however, is much darker than last year and it feels like everything has been amped up. The stakes are definitely raised for him emotionally. Duke is going to find out a number of truths about his family as well as his destiny here in Haven. The biggest [acting] challenge for me with that is maintaining a balance between what I love about the character and how funny and playful he is and the heightened sense of drama that is currently going on in his life.”

 

Has her character’s identify crisis in season two led to Rose in any way altering her approach to playing Audrey? “Last year Audrey came into Haven feeling like somewhat of an outsider, so she’s been getting to know everyone and trying to charm them a little bit,” says the actress. “Now, however, she’s facing this huge dilemma of not knowing whether or not she’s really Audrey Parker. As an actress, I was also faced with a big dilemma of here’s everything I thought my character was - an FBI agent, this girl who was raised in a foster home and who’s really good with people and helping them -  so which of these things are still true and which aren’t.

“For me, the acting challenge was what does this mean? I had so many questions and I had to kind of fall back into that and think, ‘That’s OK, Emily. Audrey is feeling the exact same way.’ It was rather sad as well as difficult to imagine, wow, what if I’m actually not this character. So I just had to literally throw myself into the work every day, and the one thing Audrey can count on, and that I feel is so sweet of the Nathan character early on, is that he encourages her in a special way as they start off on their journey this year. I think Nathan’s belief in Audrey helps her move forward and realize that she really does help people, and at the end of the day that’s the most important thing.”

When Audrey and Nathan first met in Haven’s season one premiere “Welcome to Haven” they did not know quite what to make of each other. He was not expecting to meet an FBI agent in his town, and he did not strike her as a typical police officer. That initial apprehension eventually turned into a true bond of trust and friendship. The same can be said of Audrey’s and Duke’s relationship, although Audrey probably still has one or two reservations about him. The three always seem to be there for one another, though, and that remains true this year.

“In season one we did a lot of circling of each other,” recalls Rose. “I think Audrey was circling Duke and wondering, ‘What are you all about?’ and he was doing the same thing to her.  The same was true with her and Nathan. Here’s Audrey rolling in from the big city and saying, ‘This is how we do things,’ and, ‘I’m really great at this.’ Meanwhile, Nathan was saying, ‘This is how a small town does things.’

“So it was a lot about polarities and opposites and opposites attract, and this season we’re this sort of this great ragtag group of friends that solve mysteries together. All these opposites still come into play with Nathan’s father dying in a severe way [in "Spiral"] and Audrey trying to help him work through that, and then with her own identity ‘dying’ and Nathan trying to help her through that. As for Duke, he’s faced with a journey of his own, which Audrey and Nathan are aware of. That journey is interlaced with The Troubles, and both my character and Lucas Bryant’s are trying to help Duke figure out if he’s going to die at the hand of a tattooed person.”

Continues Balfour, “What’s interesting is that the dynamic amongst our characters this season has a lot to do with the dynamics between us as actors. We were fortunate in that we all got along really well last year, and coming into season two it feels more like a little family. There are only three of us who are regulars on the show every week. Some shows have six, seven or even eight main characters, but being that it’s only the three of us, we’ve become quite a tight-knit group.

 

“I think you really see that in the characters as well as us actors personally, and this season it’s been fun in the sense that you’re witnessing that evolution. Duke’s and Nathan’s relationship is changing, and while there’s still a little bit of tension between them, you’re starting to see the reasons why these guys are almost in a way like brothers.

“With Duke and Audrey, well, that’s an interesting subject,” he says with a chuckle. “Duke has a love interest this year in Vinessa Antoine’s [Being Erica] character [of Evidence “Evi” Ryan] and it definitely has an effect on Audrey’s and Duke’s dynamic. Last year we really only saw the way that Duke interacted with Audrey, and this year it’s neat to see how he behaves with a different woman, especially one who can hold her own with him. I think we’re going to find out, though, that both Duke and Audrey have deeper feelings for each other than either of them wants to admit.”

Duke became a respectable businessman when, at the end of the season one story “Consumed,” an old friend “sold” him his restaurant and bar for $20. Even so, this year he gets to revisit his “entrepreneurial” side. “One of my favorite episodes that we’ve shot in season two is where my character gets to go on a treasure hunt of sorts,” reveals Balfour. “It was a blast getting to see Duke be Duke in that way, because, again, he can be somewhat of a pirate. One of my favorite movies growing up was The Goonies and this episode reminded me of that. There’s a great deal of humor and fun to it, not to mention a big cavernous pit in the middle of the woods along with a [treasure] map and a box of sorts.”

Rose also has a favorite season two Haven episode as well as a specific scene that she is especially fond of. “There’s a scene at the end of episode three between my character and Fraudrey,” she says. “It’s an important scene for her and I think it turned out beautifully. It’s one to look forward to.

"In terms of episodes, there is so much wonderful stuff that happens this season, and, of course, selfishly I like the episodes that I get to do a lot in,” jokes Rose. “Episode six is terrific; it’s a neat idea and The Trouble in it is fantastic. I can’t say what it is because I really want everyone to enjoy the episode, but episode six, which airs in mid-August, is one that as an actress I am incredibly proud of.”

Joining Vinessa Antoine this season on Haven is former Beverly Hills, 90210 hunk Jason Priestley, who has a four-episode arc playing Chris Weekly, an antisocial marine biologist with an affliction that some people would consider a “blessing.” At one point Priestley, who is also an accomplished director, stepped behind the camera to direct an episode of Haven.

 

“Jason is a very sweet and kind guy,” says Balfour, “and it’s always nice working with directors who are also actors. I mean, I guess I can’t say always, but for the most part they have a better understanding of what it’s like to be an actor. Because of that, they’re usually able to communicate a little more easily with you. Some directors will ask you, ‘Can you do it more, um, you know, like that,’ and you’ll sort of stare at them and say, ‘I don’t really know what that means.’ Jason, however, was able to clearly explain what he needed from us, so it was terrific to have him as a director.”

While some TV characters are very much one-note, that is not true of those on Haven, especially Audrey Parker. Many layers of this character have already been peeled away and revealed to audiences, and Rose is looking forward to doing more of that in season two. Having played the role for almost two years, what has she enjoyed most so far about helping bring Audrey to life?

“Well, I enjoy acting already and it’s so fun to throw yourself into a character,” says the actress, "but one of the things I love about Audrey is her courage and the fact that she just steps into whatever mess is in front of her and tries to deal with it. I’ve also enjoyed the way that the town has welcomed her and the relationships she has with everyone, especially Duke and Nathan and how they engage her.

“The thing, though, I’m always ‘fighting for’ with Audrey, which is the most intriguing thing about her to me, is that if she is her mother, if she is Lucy and if she was there on that beach in 1983 when The Colorado Kid died, what does that mean in terms of time. No one has told me yet, but I keep raising my hand and asking the question, so we’ll see.”

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A native of Massachusetts, Steve Eramo has been a Sci-Fi fan since childhood, having been brought up on such TV shows as Star Trek and Space: 1999. He is also an Anglophile and lover of British TV. A writer for 35 years – 17 of those as a fulltime freelancer – Steve has had over 2,500 feature-length…

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