East Enders (l-r) Winter, Dewan-Tatum, Ormond, Boston and DiTamasso
Vancouver crews were crying the blues at the start of the year. Their beef? That there wasn’t enough TV production being shot in the province. Things have bounced back nicely, however, with 12 TV projects currently before cameras in and around the city. Man, if I’d only known this agitating thing worked so well I would have started doing it years ago! One of the new shows is Witches of East End, a fantasy drama premiering Sunday at 10 p.m. on both the U.S. and Canadian Lifetime channels.
I love finding 16mm goodies on sets
I was on set two weeks ago and watched main witch Julia Ormond go broomstick-to-broomstick with Viginia Madsen. The director, who had broken his hand earlier in the week, had two casts to deal with, but neither seems to be giving him any trouble on this day. Madsen, who plays a local socialite, was having a ball playing Alexis Carrington to Ormond’s less show-y Krystle. The scene was being shot in the interior of a century-old library and with its cathedral ceiling and old card catalogue files it was a convincing and impressive set. Next to it was an equally well appointed bar and off in another stage at the converted warehouse studio was the Beachamp house, a Victorian manor stuffed with over stuffed chairs, creepy old portraits and well-worn rugs. There was even a 16mm rewind arm and 400-foot reel on the mantle in the living room, which I always take as a good omen. If you look closely at some comedy sets, including The Big Bang Theory and even Vancouver’s new Package Deal, you’ll spot vintage camera equipment among the other cool clutter.
The house was loaded with old relics (right)
One of the more impressive set areas was outside the walls of the studio. A quaint garden had been set up in the back end of the studio parking lot, with real and fake treas arranged right on top of the asphalt. Everybody seemed so relaxed and friendly as we chatted in the large living room area. Ormond stars as mom witch Joanna Beachamp, with Jenna Dewan Tatum (wife of Channing Tatum) and Rachel Boston as her babe witch daughters. Madchen Amick steals scenes as Joanna’s bratty sis Wendy. Dewan-Tatum was lively and sweet despite have a four month old daughter at home. Where it emerged from that body should keep scientists busy for years. There are a couple of dudes in the cast, Eric Winters and Montreal native Daniel DiTomasso, but they’re just there to keep the keep the witch-y daughters keen. Amick wasn’t on set that day but told this incredible story on the phone. Look for it here in the next post or two. For more on the series and the stars follow this link to the feature I wrote on Witches of East End for The Canadian Press.
The tree in the middle is fake, as is much of the turf below