YARMOUTH, N.S. – Mysterious activity is taking place at the tip of the Leif Ericson trail at Cape Forchu lighthouse but it’s hard to say exactly what’s happening.
When the film crew for The Lighthouse took over the site on March 1, the public watched – from a distance – as the construction unfolded of a temporary lighthouse, a lightkeeper’s house and other outbuildings. Initially people could still access the parking lot at the property but then a barricade was erected on April 4 near John’s Cove beach, permitting only those involved with the film and the handful of local residents to pass.
What can those residents tell us?
Not much, but it’s been a memorable experience for them and they have only good words about the way the film company has treated them.
Milford Lloy, who lives in the last house on the left heading towards the lighthouse, says it’s been interesting, especially on the day an “old relic of a boat” was brought out to be filmed.
Many people saw the boat on the Yarmouth waterfront and as it was sailed through Yarmouth harbour on the way to the Cape Forchu site.
“Once they got just past my place the seas got rough and the bow was going up and down, up and down,” he says.
“They had about four vessels but they were towing the one they were filming. I think it’s what they wanted – rough seas for some of the scenes.”
The rugged landscape is providing photogenic scenes. On some of the windier days Lloy has watched the spray go right over the top of the film’s lighthouse.
He says it’s hard to tell what the film crew is doing most times.
“You can see them running back and forth between the two buildings, but you never know for sure what they’re doing.
“Sometimes you see a lady waving at the gulls and I think there’s a kid behind her feeding them but I’m not really sure what’s going on. It’s interesting to watch when you have time.”
Lloy says the film executives have been very good about letting his friends when he’s requested. For instance members of the Yarmouth Knitting Guild visited his home on April 17. The visit had been scheduled by his late wife prior to her recent passing. Lloy says the visitors were enthralled with the view of the site.
Will he be sad when the filming is all over and everyone is gone?
“Kind of. It will be different. But then there will be more of my friends going by,” he says.
Bruce and Jennifer Wilkins have owned a home on the other side of the road, near Lloy, for the past three years.
“It’s fun to watch. I don’t mind the barrier at all, in fact it’s kind of nice… sort of like living in a gated community,” laughs Jennifer Wilkins.
Traffic to the Cape Forchu Lighthouse can be heavy throughout the year at other times, she says, especially on the weekends when tourists and residents take Sunday drives.
She says it’s surprising how quiet it is, other than when the film crew comes in around 5:30 or 6 a.m. Then it’s “one car after another coming,” but quiet for the rest of the day.
Wilkins watched the crew building the lighthouse and found it exciting to see them add the light to it.
But other than that….
“I have to say, I’ve looked through binoculars in my office window and you really don’t see a lot. It looks like a lot of people standing around. I don’t know what I was expecting.
“It’s just crowds of people standing around for hours. They must have been absolutely freezing,” she says.
She adds that film crewmembers she’s met have been very friendly.
“Everybody waves, some stop and chitchat. I haven’t seen the actors. I’ve tried,” she says. The film is featuring actors Willem Dafoe and Robertson Pattinson, who have been spotted by locals in many locations around the town, including stores and restaurants. Dafoe is sporting a beard for the movie.
“When the vehicles go by I try to see in the windows. Every time I see a bearded man, I’m like, ‘Is that him? Is that him?”
She says one funny incident that happened involved someone who apparently keeps trying to break the barrier.
“He must be star-struck or something. We encountered him coming out as we were coming in and he was in a terrible hurry,” she says, recalling one day as they were approaching the barricade. “My husband had to pull over to let him out because he was just flailing his arms, hollering, let me out, let me out. We didn’t realize it was because security was right behind him trying to catch him.”
Here are some previous stories about the film project: