If it looked like a disturbance on Cleveland Avenue the morning of Oct. 22, with police cars pulled over and flashers going, rest assured it was only make-believe.
That the officers and their cars were decked out in beige should have been the first clue that this was not local law enforcement but rather a movie production in town.
After shooting here over a couple of weeks in the summer, the crew from Peach Productions Inc./Front Street Pictures has been back this past week to make another TV movie for the Hallmark Channel.
“We liked it so much that we established it again for this shoot,” production manager Jamie Lake told The Squamish Chief in the middle of a busy shoot.
During the summer, the crew shot a Christmas-themed one in town called A Plum Pudding Mystery, which is currently in post-production. That movie, itself, followed a first one in the Murder She Baked series called Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.
This time, the shoot is for A Peach Cobbler Murder Mystery. Once again, it stars former Days of Our Lives star and Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney as Hannah, as well as Barbara Niven and Cameron Mathison. It will also have a seasonal flavour.
“We’re going to try to get it out for Valentine’s,” Lake said.
The series is based on The New York Times bestselling books by Joanna Fluke. The protagonist is Hannah Swenson, the owner of Cookie Jar, a bakery and café in a small Minnesota town where, in the words of entertainment writer Nellie Andreeva, gossip percolates like the coffee. When someone dies, though, Hannah takes on another role, that of a murder detective.
On the Thursday, they were blocking and running through scenes with cast and crew, or as Lake put it, “It’s the first day of filming, so we’re just working out the bugs.”
The atmosphere on set inside the “Cookie Jar” – the former Ledge Café location – is, by turns, hopping, with people sharing sandwiches, having their nails done or busily blocking the shots inside the store, or near-silent as soon as the words “rolling” and “action” are uttered. Then it’s all business.
Of course, they are always a few logistical challenges. A few days into the shoot, the crew has to yell out at some passersby on the sidewalk that they are in the shot. A little mystified, someone in the group mutters that they were only trying to go for breakfast as they turn around and head for a new route to the destination along Second Avenue.
On the previous shoot, some in the community were happy to have the film crew in town, while others complained that such shoots cost local businesses because the crews are sometimes in front of entrances to shops.
For this shoot, the cast and crew were spending approximately a week at four locations, and from the way Lake puts it, it is clear they are quite happy to be back in Squamish. “The people are fantastic. We had such a great experience.”