The housing market in St. John's has seen a boom over the past year and a half, but what if the houses for sale were haunted? That's the premise of the latest TV show to be filmed in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will hit the airwaves later this month.
SurrealEstate was shot in the province last fall, primarily in St. John's. The show follows the story of real estate agent Luke Roman, who specializes in selling haunted houses. Roman is played by Tim Rozon, known for his role in the supernatural hit Wynonna Earp.
Rob Blackie, one of the show's producers with Take the Shot productions, said that while the show isn't set in Newfoundland, those who know the area will certainly recognize a location or two.
"When we sat down and read the pilot script, immediately it looked like something that had been written for St. John's, Newfoundland. We sort of read the script and thought 'Oh! This is Circular Road' or, 'this is the east end.' So it was actually really fun," Blackie told CBC Radio's Weekend AM Saturday.
"It was actually just an incredibly fun process of finding houses that would be haunted.… Sometimes it's people that we know or neighbourhoods that we know and literally knocking on doors."
LISTEN | Rob Blackie talks with the CBC's Heather Barrett, along with more highlights from the July 10 edition of Weekend AM :
The show also stars actress Sarah Levy, known across Canada for her role in Schitt's Creek. Levy was actually filming in the province during the show's sweep at the 2020 Emmy awards. The show won the award for best comedy, and Levy's brother Dan and father Eugene both took home Emmys.
"We got to kind of enjoy the incredible success of that show and incredible sort of success of her whole family … it was quite a lovely experience," Blackie said.
With St. John's serving as the backdrop for the show, Blackie said viewers will also get to see a large amount of local talent on screen as well. He wasn't giving up any names, but said close to 350 local actors were involved in shooting.
With a full season of shooting wrapped up, Blackie said shows like SurrealEstate and Hudson & Rex and Disney's live action Peter Pan & Wendy movie are helping to bring Newfoundland and Labrador into a new era of production.
"It's unbelievably exciting from our point of view," he said. "What we've been saying for a while is that we can see this sea change happen."
"It means there's enough [of a] talent pool locally, in the crew and in the cast, to be able to handle the higher volume. And that's exactly what we're facing right now, where there will probably three or four bigger budget shows that happen in town within a calendar year."
SurrealEstate premieres July 16 on CTV Sci-Fi at 11:30 p.m. NT.