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Has Luke Met His Perfect Ghost-Hunting Nemesis in the Latest SurrealEstate?
Luke Roman meets the alternative ghost hunting version of himself in the latest SurrealEstate, "Truth in Advertising."
This story contains spoilers for SurrealEstate Season 2, Episode 2, "Truth in Advertising."
Luke Roman (Tim Rozon) certainly experiences the opposite ends of the paranormal spectrum in this week's SurrealEstate. As he tries to get to the bottom of a chillingly violent child apparition on Doug Pederson's (Andrew Steven Legg) property, he meets the very theatrical Kit Rampart (Brian Marler), who hosts the equally dramatic paranormal investigation series Spirit Stalkers: Paranormal PI.
With portions of the episode shot in the same style as many of those infamous ghost hunting series that claim to be real, gonzo documentaries, SurrealEstate series executive producer/director Danishka Esterhazy shared with SYFY WIRE that "Truth in Advertising" was the episode that she had the most fun shooting in Season 2.
"We let ourselves be really goofy," she said, laughing. "And I love those ghost hunter [shows]! I love how serious they are, and how dedicated they are. We wanted to have fun with them, but it's a bit of a love letter to the people who make those shows too."
Luke Roman's Smarmy "What If?": Kit Rampart
The primary case of "Truth in Advertising" has Luke getting some competition in solving a haunting, as the Spirit Stalkers: Paranormal PI arrive to document reports of a murderous little girl on the Pederson property. At first, Luke is not even a little happy to be sharing space with the likes of Kit, who seems to be making a mockery of what real necromancers do. But then, through shared scars and war stories about their passion for being in the field, the two ghost "lifers" form a bit of a bromance as they investigate the Grace Case.
Esterhazy said the episode was the brainchild of Thomas Pepper, the show's Season 1 script coordinator who came back this season to pen this episode. "He immersed himself so deeply into those ghost hunting shows," she said. "I'm a big fan of them and quite addicted, so we had a great shorthand about the style of those shows and how ridiculous they can be."
To match the mood of those ghost docs, Esterhazy said they framed Spirit Stalkers: Paranormal PI as a real show within their show by reproducing all the crazy camera angles and harsh lighting that's often the boilerplate visual aesthetic of the genre. She said to match it, they went "guerrilla" with their own cameras and crew. "I took my ghost team and we ran around to the cemeteries of Newfoundland, and in buildings with basements," she shared. "We ad-libbed lot of the behind the scenes footage from the team."
She was also delighted at the awkward chemistry between Rozon's Luke and Marler's Kit. "It's a great situation of a foil relationship because it's a path that Luke could have gone down if he didn't become a realtor," she said. "I loved it so much that I was like, 'We need a spin off. We can just follow this team on their fake ghost hunter show all the time!'"
Letting Grace Go
As Luke and his team investigate the house and who lived there in the past, the tragic story of Grace's father and his death — which turned his daughter into a dark urban legend — comes to light. With her community labeling her as something she wasn't, her spirit eventually embraced the stories as its own.
"I really love Grace because I really love gothic horror," Esterhazy said of this week's original monster. "I really love 18th and 19th century horror, and this is such a nice little nod to that style of haunting. We had two very talented actresses who were playing Grace together as a team. We had the young woman playing Grace as a girl and the other young woman playing Grace as a monster. And that was partly because the prosthetic application for our monster took about six hours."
For those who are fascinated by practical makeup, Esterhazy praised the work of Alex Anger and Monica Pavez (Crimes of the Future), who own their female-run prosthetics company based in Toronto. "They're actually brilliant monster designers," she explained. "I was excited to work with them for ages, so when we were able to book them for this season, I was over the moon. Their design for the Grace monster was really gorgeous."
In the last act, Grace is freed from her limbo by Luke when he sings her father's lullaby. Esterhazy said, "Watching Grace and Luke connect in the graveyard was really powerful. I cry in that episode with his singing the lullaby. It was so heartbreaking."
Esterhazy also praised the actress who was a return player from Season 1. "She was game for acting inside another big, heavy application," the director explained. "And what was so amazing is that she not only wore that makeup really well, but she was able to do so much physical performance even covered in this massive monster prosthetic. They were really able to make it very real, even though she's in an incredibly big prosthetic."
Uhm...What Are Those Noises?
The side investigation for the episode involves a B&B that has ghosts scaring all the guests away. It surprisingly paired Susan (Sarah Levy) and Auggie (Maurice Dean Wint) as the primary sleuth, which Esterhazy said she was delighted to showcase.
"August and Susan didn't really spend a lot of time together in Season 1," she explained. "They just didn't bump up against each other very much. In this season, they get to go deal with some houses together and go on some adventures together. Their relationship is really interesting, because there's so much respect there.
"They're very, very, very different people but they have fun together. And I love their final scene at the haunted bed and breakfast," she added with a laugh.
Tune into new SurrealEstate Season 2 episodes every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SYFY.