By Duck Paterson
His name is unpronounceable for the average human, but what you’ll find on various internet visits, is Captain Hah Re. That’s the planetary name for the strange looking character seen frequenting the streets of Ladysmith in the hailed TV series Resident Alien. When not in his alien garb, actor Alan Tudyk, plays the role of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, a small town doctor in Patience Colorado (aka Ladysmith, B.C.)
Ladysmith was chosen as the location for much of the show as it resembled the vision Chris Sheridan, Resident Alien producer, had for the fictional town of Patience. Sheridan said he saw a town “out of the mainstream,” with colourful buildings that maintain heritage.
“What we saw in Ladysmith is a small town that has a feeling of embracing people,” he said. Filming also took place in Vancouver (to represent New York), Whistler, Brittania Mines and various lakes on the mainland.
“Filming in B.C. is very expensive,” Sheridan said. “But it still has a very large segment of the film business, both TV and movies, that used to happen in Hollywood. Vancouver Island costs more, as we need to move a lot of equipment [and] personnel over on the ferries and then back again, but the locations and people make it worthwhile.”
Sheridan said he came up with the idea of a TV series based on the Dark Horse Comics of the same name. The mini comic book series started in 2012 and has published five series, a sixth one is in production now. Sheridan took the characters from the comic and worked their stories for more “in-depth” media, such as TV.
“We needed Alien to witness real human contact. He needed to see and feel how they reacted with each other and what they are all about,” Sheridan said.
Alien’s mission, after landing on earth, is to destroy the human race, so when gets involved in the lives of various characters and their issues, he starts to question himself.
“Coming up with a storyline for 16 episodes takes more than just what Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle (Alien’s human cover) can do in a comic book. To carry the audiences’ attention, the characters need to be more well-rounded and involved in a lot more aspects of the storyline,” Sheridan said.
Ken Brooker, location manager pointed out that on one Sunday morning of filming, the company fed breakfast to over 180 crew and extras. The High Street ball field was used as a filming “community,” with tents for food, COVID-19 testing and first aid. The production company said it bought as much as it could locally and encouraged staff to shop at local shops.
The premier episode of Alien attracted 9.3 million viewers and audiences continued to grow — that was the kicker for the second season of filming.