Hollywood North producers met with more than 130 aspiring actors and potential crew members in Prince Rupert on Dec. 11 and 12 to scope out talent for the upcoming filming of Canadian production, The Island Between Tides.
The movie adaption of a play written by J.M. Barry, who authored Peter Pan, has been co-written by Andrew Holmes and Austin Andrews, who are also the film’s directors. Prince Rupert is not just the backdrop of the movie filming, but the story is also set in the city, Holmes said.
A production delegation made up of Holmes, a writer and co-director, Andrews also writer and co-director, Matthew Cervi producer, Morgana Wyllie associate producer, and Dany Lavoie director of photography, are in town on a five-day scout for possible filming locations and to hold the first round of auditions.
The project, scheduled to start shooting on March 7, had a casting call issued on Nov. 18 for several roles to be specifically filled by locals.
“The response was so big … We felt bad that we could meet with people for only five minutes. Because people were so interesting, we would often run over the five minutes, and our schedule would be bumped back,” Holmes said.
Auditions were more like meets and greets the producers said, and were held as first meetings at this point. People may be called to for a more in-depth audition later on.
“We are going to be here from the end of January, so there are going to be opportunities for many more meetings through to mid-February, for both crew, cast and background,” Andrews said. “We’ve heard from so many people … in the past week, we have had to tell people there were no more slots.”
People drove in from as far as Terrace, Kitimat and Prince George, Wyllie, the associate producer, said.
“People were very committed. We are definitely going to be coming back. There will be a good chance we will be meeting more people in January,” she said.
The production team originally didn’t plan to hold auditions over two days. However, local interest in the project was so great the team immediately set to work meeting people on Saturday and Sunday with the scouting of locations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
“Locations are such a big part of why we chose Prince Rupert. Some of the places, such as the Northern Pacific Cannery, are just incredible. The history in the town — the texture grants character to the streets and the houses,” Holmes said.
Knowing that Prince Rupert is over a century old adds depth to the film and is interesting to the producers because the plot is a ghost story with the main character going through time, which spans over the eras of Prince Rupert’s history. The history they have discovered about the area is now finding its way into the story, he said.
The actual island between tides has been located in the region. It is close to the city accessible only by boat. However, it will remain under wraps for the time being to leave the aura of mysteriousness, the team said.
While the exact details have yet to be worked out and finalized, the team plans to hopefully hold a movie premiere with two screenings at the Lester Centre for those involved in the film and the public.
“Prince Rupert might see it before the rest of the world,” Andrews said, adding the proceeds of one of the screenings will go the North Pacific Cannery, one of the set locations.
“A really cool thing for us is we’re not just shooting it here, it’s set here too,” Andrews said.
“This didn’t originally start as a Prince Rupert story or a Prince Rupert shoot. Even our first draft as we were devising it and starting to build it was originally going to be set in Ketchican,” the co-writer and director said.
The plan was to shoot in many different locations, patch it together and use Vancouver as the US.
“That never sat great with us. As we started to explore, on our first scout, we fell in love with [Prince Rupert] and realized this is the movie. The place is right here.”