On the set of Nights Below Station Street

The cast and crew of Nights Below Station Street are getting a good giggle as the polyester-clad actors slip into bell bottoms and tightly fitted disco duds to bring us back in time to a small Canadian mill town during the...

The cast and crew of Nights Below Station Street are getting a good giggle as the polyester-clad actors slip into bell bottoms and tightly fitted disco duds to bring us back in time to a small Canadian mill town during the late ’70s.

‘We are all in stitches over the outfits that everybody is wearing,’ says Credo Entertainment vp/producer Michael Scott. ‘They are the most wonderfully awful outfits you’ve ever seen. Its’ great for a movie because with all the bright colors and patterns it’s so visual.’

In development for the past two years and set for delivery in September, Nights Below Station Street is part of a continuing collaboration with the cbc and is written by David Adams Richards, based on his 1988 Governor General’s Award-winning novel of the same name. With this particular project, Scott and director/coproducer Norma Bailey are trying to do things a little differently from a traditional mow.

‘These are unusual stories that are character-driven; not action-driven or politically motivated. They are celebrations of people’s worth and character rather than stories driven by conflict only.’ says Scott.

Station Street takes place over the five-month period between Christmas and Easter and is being shot in 22 days with a budget of $2.7 million. According to Bailey, ‘It’s a funny film.’

‘It’s a wonderful story about family relationships and how difficult they can be,’ she says. ‘It’s a drama with a lot of comedic elements, but really it’s a story about love.’

Adele Walsh is the central character, a 15- to 16-year-old girl played by Liisa Repo-Martell (The English Patient, Emily of New Moon) who is pregnant and struggling to figure out what to do.

‘All around her the world seems to be coming apart at the seams, she is trying to control things and at the same time not hurt anyone.’ explains Scott. ‘She is a very funny and sort of arrogant teen on one hand and on the other a very generous loving creature.’

Other members of the cast include Lynda Boyd (Fire on the Mountain, Shadow of a Doubt), who plays Rita Walsh, Adele’s mother, and Michael Hogan (Jake and the Kid, Road to Saddle River), whom Scott and Bailey had in mind right from the beginning as the out-of-work Joe Walsh.

Playing the role of Vye, a long-haired, moustached, man lacking a little integrity, is Brent Stait, who also appeared in the 1996 For Those Who Hunt The Wounded Down, also written by Richards, produced by Scott and directed by Bailey.

‘He’s having a lot of fun with this part because he plays someone without too many scruples. He’s not a bad guy, he’s very funny, and I think he’s having a ball because he usually plays a bad guy and in this movie he isn’t,’ says Scott.

Being shot part in studio and part on location, the actors and crew are lucky that the seemingly endless and bitterly cold Winnipeg winter is easing up and making being outdoors bearable.

The inside of the Walsh house is being shot in a studio while Winnipeg’s older areas – such as Selkirk Ave. and parts of St. Boniface – are being used to shoot the outdoor scenes, where a kind of small, mill-town neighborhood has been created.

Scott says the great thing about shooting a film in Winnipeg is that ‘it can be a kind of urban center or a small town and get away with it.’

‘Everything is starting to melt, but the other day we had a wonderful snowstorm which was beautiful,’ he says. ‘We shoot a lot of nights and it’s cold, but the weather has been perfect for us. We are used to freezing to death out here.’

Nights Below Station Street is a Credo Entertainment production with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Manitoba Film & Sound Development Corporation and the former Cable Production Fund and is being produced in association with the cbc.

Although still very tentative, the producer and director are talking to the cbc about another project, An Affair With The Moon, which they are hoping to work on.

Excited about the wonderful performances she is seeing, Bailey says the shooting is going great, and contrary to what she originally thought, selling off the funky ’70s frocks won’t be a problem after all.

‘The kids are going to thrift stores to buy this stuff, they are calling it retro now,’ chuckles the director. ‘Usually after a movie there is bidding for the costumes, but we all laugh that there won’t be heavy bidding on this one; when the kids showed up they thought the clothes were unbelievable and fantastic, they all want the costumes so badly. They’re all polyester!’