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Mr. D - Photo credit: Michael Tompkins

Spotlight on Mr. D

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mr. D is an award-winning sitcom television series filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, starring famed comedian Gerry Dee. The show aired its first season on CBC in 2012 and has been a fan favourite ever since. Nova Scotia Business Inc. is pleased to share that the series has qualified to receive a funding commitment of $1,640,533 for the production of its sixth season.

We caught up with the Mike Volpe, Executive Producer of Mr. D, to learn more about the production.

Q. What goes into filming a production like this?
A: We have a crew of about 70 people, many of whom have been with us since we shot the pilot episode in 2010. We shoot for most of the summer every year, which is ideal in terms of availability for our main location at Citadel High School while real-life students are on summer break. We also have a studio space at the CFB Halifax Curling Club, which we use to double the school classroom sets. We have about 12 main cast members, usually close to 100 supporting actors and guest stars, and generally 1,000+ plus background performers working on the show over the course of a season. Over five seasons, our props, set decorating and wardrobe departments have acquired a massive collection, and our construction team has basically rebuilt the majority of the school interior as removable set pieces. It’s a great asset to have all this available to us going forward, and the sheer volume of it is pretty amazing – in the off-season it occupies an 8,000-square-foot storage space.

Mr. D crew sets up for a shot on a residential Halifax street during filming of Season 5. Photo credit: Michael TompkinsMost of our props, set décor, wardrobe, etc. has been sourced locally, and the majority of the people working in those departments are Nova Scotians. These talented people have spent their careers cultivating relationships with small businesses and local vendors, and having them on our team has been invaluable in sourcing out all of the oddball gear that one can’t always easily find. From our caterers, who use local suppliers; to our post-production team, who work in town and have trained numerous emerging Nova Scotia-based editors, we always try to take advantage of the huge pool of local talent and services that we’re fortunate enough to have in Nova Scotia.

Q: What can you tell us about the cast of Mr. D?

A: It all begins with Gerry Dee, who not only is one of the funniest and most natural comedic actors on the planet, but is massively popular in the stand-up comedy world. It’s exceedingly rare to have those two things go together. We also have other actors from Toronto – Lauren Hammersley, Naomi Snieckus, Emma Hunter and Darrin Rose – have all seen their acting careers take off in recent years and are stars in their own rights. Wes Williams has been an icon in Canadian music and film and TV for almost three decades now and is a terrific human being to be around.

Our Nova Scotian cast members’ credentials are equally impressive. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with Jonathan Torrens on Trailer Park Boys and other projects over the years. A more versatile, gifted comedic actor you will not find anywhere.  As well, I’ve been blessed to work with Bette MacDonald on three series now.  She’s truly one of the funniest comediennes in the world.  And Mark Little has gone on to huge success in recent years – we were super happy to get him on board early, while he was still working locally with Picnicface. And we’re also fortunate to have fellow Picnicface alum Bill Wood in our principal cast now.

One of the most interesting things for us has been seeing the progression of our younger student cast members, many of whom were brought in six years ago as background performers. Over the years, their interest in acting has grown – they are now making names for themselves – and some have evolved to become filmmakers in their own right.

Q: Where will the show air?
A: Mr. D Season 6 will air on CBC Television in the fall of this year.

Mr. D Season 6 is qualified to receive funding through the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund.  Learn more about filming in Nova Scotia and accessing the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund.

Use our Film Fund Estimator tool to estimate funding available for your Nova Scotia production. 

All photo credits: Michael Tompkins