It’s one in the morning. There’s blood on the counters, the two waitresses and body parts bounce around the once spotless industrial kitchen.
No, this is not a crime scene. Edmonton-based Mosaic Entertainment (Caution: May Contain Nuts) is shooting Truckstop Bloodsuckers, a comedy horror webseries at the west end’s Lunch Box Restaurant.
“We’re trying to emphasize that this is a new format in entertaining,” says Mosaic executive producer Camille Beaudoin, a 1995 Ă©cole Secondaire St. Marguerite d’Youville graduate.
“We’re airing a prequel on TV on Saturday. That’s followed by a webseries, and that will be cut into a feature for a theatrical launch. We are using three different platforms and people can access it in different ways.”
The kitschy west-end eatery, decorated with scuffed wooden tables, velvet paintings and fake plants, is the perfect stand-in for Dixie’s Diner in the town of Little Hope. The film’s all-night diner is a typical highway cafĂ© serving hefty portions of coffee, apple pie and the blue-plate special. But there’s also a high turnover of staff who disappear, never to be heard from again.
Two vampire waitresses run the diner. Jeanine (Aimee Beaudoin) is a reformed vampire with a crush on highway patrol officer Dan (Ryan Parker). Kolby (Jillean Tucker) is the younger, more rebellious one still struggling to keep her bloodsucking urges under control.
Cliff Ripshack (Jesse Lipscombe), a petty drug dealer, discovers Jeanine dumping a freshly bled body into a dumpster. With the aid of his not-too-bright sidekicks Smoky (Jeff Halaby) and Wheeljack (Randy Borosky), he threatens the waitresses and demands they turn him into a vampire.
Lipscombe, a former St. Albert resident, is a veteran actor with close to 30 films under his belt. But this is the first time he’s played an evil character.
“He’s an incredibly strong actor. He has a real charisma and he’s incredibly beautiful. We wanted someone to tempt Jeanine – the bad boy love interest. And he was just the right mix – appealing and charismatic yet sinister at the same time.”
Sitting in the actors’ trailer during the shoot, functioning as dressing room, makeup room and kitchen, Lipscombe is clearly having fun talking about his baddie other self.
“Cliff wants to have the most power you can have. He’s the leader of a gang and he believes wishing will give you what you want. He wants to be the most powerful person on Earth. His new calling is to live forever. But you have to be careful what you wish for,” laughs Lipscombe.
It’s Cliff’s greed that sets up an epic, butt-kicking battle.
“The beauty of make-believe is that I can be what the script says I need to be. And I’m literally having a great time punching, kicking and sucking some of my best friends.”
And Halaby, (Caution: May Contain Nuts) co-owner of St. Albert’s Lacombe Park Spirits, indulges his passion as one Canada’s most versatile comedians in the role of Smoky.
Smoky has aspirations to the good life, but as Cliff’s dopey sidekick, a lack of street smarts just gets in the way.
And the straitlaced Wheeljack just gets annoyed with Cliff and Smoky drives him crazy.
“He just gets the fuzzy end of the stick through most of the show,” adds Beaudoin.
The prequel to the webseries will air on BITE on Saturday, July 28 (Channel 530 on Telus and Bell, and Channel 107 on Shaw) at 10:45 p.m. The first webisode airs on www.bite.ca/tsbs on Tuesday, July 31.
The 12 webisodes are five to eight minutes in length and will launch every Tuesday and Thursday. They will be uploaded and available after 8 a.m.