'Dan For Mayor' cast has as much fun off screen as on
With glowing neon signs advertising wings and draft beer, bottles of (fake) liquor lining the shelves and everything from menus to salt and pepper shakers adorning the tables, it feels just like walking into a real pub when stepping onto the set of “Fern’s Bar and Grill.”
Housed on a soundstage in north Toronto, the spacious set serves as the local watering hole for the characters on the hit CTV comedy series “Dan For Mayor.”
And if walking in to find cast members eating lunch and joking around is any indication, the actors are having just as much fun here when the cameras are turned off.
“We get a little silly, especially on the long days, we get a little punch drunk and it will get pretty ridiculous,” Mary Ashton, who plays Dan’s love interest Claire, tells CTV.ca during a set visit. “I have a giggle fit pretty much every day.”
Ashton says it makes for a great working environment, one in which she’s not only enjoying herself, but also learning about her craft.
“Everybody in the cast is so fun to play with. I was a little bit intimidated because I don’t come from a Second City background, I wasn’t a standup (comedian),” says the Long Island native. “But I really was so comfortable and it felt so right to be doing this role and working with these people and I think everybody can say we all feel supported.”
In the first season of the Gemini Award-nominated show, Dan (Fred Ewanuick) campaigned for the top job in Wessex to try and win back his old girlfriend Claire with his show of ambition. He never intended to win, but things backfired at the end of the campaign and Dan ended up becoming mayor by default.
Season 2 has seen inexperienced Dan trying to do the best job he can (episodes air Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on CTV with full episodes available online at CTV.ca) while dealing with some unusual situations and shady characters.
On this particular day on set, the show revolves about a dodgy ethics commissioner, and even though there’s some serious subject matter, the actors can’t help but have a little fun with it.
Director Ron Murphy, who directed the pilot and about half of the episodes in the first season, agrees there’s definitely a great mood on set.
“This year we were finishing early every day and just kind of doing one or two takes, everyone was laughing out loud,” he says.
Murphy adds that coming back for Season 2 has brought a new energy on set, one where all the actors are comfortable in their roles and ready to hit the ground running.
“It’s been a delight coming back. It’s really a treat because it just feels like we’ve been on the air for years,” Murphy says. “It’s only been one season but it just had that family feel so it was great.”
Ewanuick agrees, explaining that the show has now “settled in.”
“It’s almost like the whole first season was one big pilot,” he says. “We set everything up and now we’re in that world so it’s all settled in and we just deal with the day to day life of what’s going on. It’s really kind of cool.”
Benjamin Ayres, who plays Claire’s former love interest Mike, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s awesome to get to come back. I’ve never really been on a set where there’s no ego. Everyone is super cool.”
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!