Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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Celebrities land in Newfoundland for the filming of Severance on Apple TV | Radio-Canada News

It’s the worst-kept secret on the Bonavista Peninsula.

The popular Apple TV+ show Severance is touring the area this month, in Bonavista, Keels and Port Union.

And many locals talk, despite the film crew’s best efforts to keep quiet.

Darryl Johnson is the City Manager of Trinity Bay North, the municipality that oversees Port Union. He has helped put in place road closures in town, but says he mostly stays away.

Signs mark filming locations, though the show’s producers won’t talk, with security blocking off most entrances near the set. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

From his office he can see the big lights of the old fish processing plant and the trucks and crew coming and going.

“It’s good to see the bustle of people and to see all the workers around,” he says.

“They’re making a scene at the old fish factory over there and the people [were] calling and saying ‘What’s going on at the fish factory? Is it [opened] again?'”

Johnson says that with celebrities like Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette, it’s great to see locals working at a time when they normally wouldn’t.

“I know six or eight people here who work in security,” Johnson said.

A large truck, several trailers, motor homes and other vehicles crowd a dirt parking lot, with a big blue sky above.
Dozens of vehicles including trailers and large black SUVs fill the Port Union Lion’s Club parking lot. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

Local hotel businesses are also seeing a boost.

Carl White owns the Seaport Inn and Carl’s Fireside Restaurant in Port Union. He says the energy is a welcome sight after a tough time during the pandemic.

“All my rooms are full for 18 days so that’s great. Disney last year, now we have that, that’s great. It will open up a whole new aspect, I think, for tourism in this area,” says White.

Staying Home is mostly made up of special FX crews and pilots, but White says he keeps a close eye on celebrities.

WATCH | Bonavista residents enjoy community spotlight:

Bonavista enjoys the recent Hollywood spotlight

Trinity Bay North Mayor David Bartlett and Roy’s Lighthouse Retreat owner Kristy Sweet say movie industry activity has been a welcome boost to the Bonavista area this month.

Just down the street near the Coaker Heritage Foundation, the owners of the Harborside Inn and Cafe had a better view.

Their hostel also hosts the crew members. But their belongings are also within sight of the filming location.

They had to close shop for a day, with instructions to stay away from the windows and avoid passing in front of the property.

A man and a woman look at the camera smiling.
Brad and Tanya Warren own the Harborside Inn and Café in Port Union. They had to shut down their business for the day, as crews filmed a scene adjacent to their property. (submitted/Tanya Warren)

But as co-owner Tanya Warren says, it’s been hard not to take a look. She saw large chunks of ice that the crew was rumored to have used to make snow for specific scenes.

Warren says everyone knows what’s going on in town. But that doesn’t mean the film crew aren’t trying to keep things as secret as possible.

The producers have not confirmed which show is being filmed or how long they will be on it. And CBC has been asked not to take photos near filming locations.

The production at Bonavista is taking place in the shadow of the writers’ strike in the United States, where more than 11,000 Writers Guild of America film and television writers are in a labor dispute with eight major studios, including Apple. Media publishing company Deadline reported earlier this week that filming for Severance in New York was halted due to the strike.

AM weekend14:38Searching for Apple TV+ Severance Stars on the Bonavista Peninsula

Weekend AM’s Melissa Tobin watched the action as the Apple TV+ series Severance filmed in Port Union and other towns on the Bonavista Peninsula.

It might be a while before this episode of Severance, featuring the Bonavista Peninsula, hits TV screens, but the show’s presence still had people in the area beaming.

“It gives you a sense of pride after people come here and want to shoot in your community,” said Johnson, who hopes to see more film crews in her town.

And even though the rhythm is different from what people in the small community use, White says that’s a positive thing.

“Nobody’s complaining, I must say. Everyone…can’t believe there are movie stars here.”

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