TORONTO — When the CBC sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” finished its run in April of last year just as the pandemic ramped up, cast member Sarah Levy anticipated a dry spell on the work front.
“I kind of figured, ‘Well, I won’t be working for the next year, because who knows what this industry is going to look like?'” the Canadian actor, who played Cafe Tropical waitress Twyla Sands on the acclaimed series, said in a recent interview.
But she rebounded quickly with a role on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s “SurrealEstate,” a supernatural series about a real-estate agency that specializes in haunted houses. It premieres Friday.
As fate would have it, another “Schitt’s” alum was cast, too — Tim Rozon, who played rugged environmentalist Mutt Schitt on the CBC comedy.
“I had no idea until Tim texted me,” said Levy. “I don’t know whether there was a mastermind behind all of this that was trying to make this happen, but I think it was completely coincidental.”
Rozon plays Luke Roman, owner of The Roman Agency who can communicate with the spiritual realm and investigates paranormal activity in homes for sale so they don’t scare off potential buyers.
When Rozon landed the role, he asked who would play Susan Ireland, the agency’s new and neurotic real-estate agent with a secret.
“They said, ‘Sarah Levy is who we’re interested in having,’ and I was like, ‘That would just make everything perfect,'” he said.
Rozon notes their side characters on “Schitt’s” had limited interaction, unlike this 10-episode, one-hour series, which is set to air in the United States on Syfy.
“I think our first scene in ‘SurrealEstate’ we said more dialogue to each other than we did in the entire first season together (on ‘Schitt’s Creek’),” said Rozon, also known for playing Doc Holliday on the Syfy supernatural/Western series “Wynonna Earp.”
“We were people of few words in ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ so it was nice to be able to jump into characters that love to talk,” Levy added with a laugh.
The show also reunited Rozon with some of his “Wynonna Earp” castmates, including Savannah Basley and Melanie Scrofano, who guest stars in one episode and directs two of them.
Adam Korson, Maurice Dean Wint and Tennille Read are among the other cast members in the series, which was shot last summer in St. John’s.
The eerie premise extended off-set.
Levy said guest stars who stayed in a home next to a cemetery during filming all reported “some kind of paranormal energy” there.
She said she’s always believed in paranormal activity, but Rozon didn’t — until this project.
“After filming ‘SurrealEstate,’ I’m more of a believer and it’s because of all the guest stars telling me,” he said. “I would see them the next day and they’re like, ‘That place is haunted, straight up. I had an encounter.’ But you hear it from multiple people and you start to believe them.”
To make what was happening on set seem believable, Rozon said the team used “incredible” contemporary visual effects.
But they also applied some old-school methods, tying fishing wire to objects to make it seem like they were flying around the room.
“I love that stuff because for me, the practical effects sometimes looks so much better than the VFX,” he said.
“It’s just funny that the way they do it, it’s fishing wire and literally throwing books at each other. It’s fun.”
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press