Winnipeg Free Press has a great article on Sara Canning and the director of Sara’s feature film Black Field. She talks about what it was like shooting the Gothic flick and how she had just finished when she got word that The Vampire Diaries had been picked up.
In creating the frontier drama, Esterhazy (who has a BA in history from the University of Winnipeg) steeped herself in the writings of Canadian pioneer women such as Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr-Traill. “I wanted to get a sense of what their voices were like. Women writing in the 19th century presented a good opportunity to study how women wrote and thought in that period.”
The resulting lead character required Canning to likewise immerse herself in a world where she was obliged to spend much of her work day in wind, rain and mud on a Manitoba prairie. This would be the second time Canning had to rough it in Manitoba, the first being her work on the TV movie Taken in Broad Daylight, in which she played a kidnap victim.
“In that one, we were out in the middle of the night, filming in a ditch,” Canning says with a laugh. “But I really like working that way.
“I really love waking up in the morning, and saying: ‘OK, I’m stepping outside of the hotel right now and stepping into the storybook.’
“It really felt like that every day,” she says. “I remember one night shooting the scene around the campfire with Mathieu (Bourguet) and Ferron (Guerreiro) and myself and looking at them and saying, ‘How cool is this? How odd is this to be actually sitting out here in the middle of a field?’
“It really felt like something from another time. Not a lot of imagination is required,” she says. “Obviously when you’re an actor, you’re always using your imagination, but just to be surrounded and immersed in that world made things so much easier for us.”