On set in KW

It’s a show “about a guy who’s running for mayor of this small town cause he wants to impress his ex-girlfriend.”

Such is the premise of the new CTV comedy, Dan for Mayor, as described by the show’s writer Paul Mather, who has written episodes of shows like Corner Gas and This Hour has 22 Minutes.

He told The Cord in an interview between filming about how the idea for the pilot began.

Mather explained how he and his co-stars Mark Farrell and Kevin White from Corner Gas thought of the original idea.

“We went to CTV to pitch them a bunch of ideas and one of them was Dan for Mayor and that’s the one they liked,” Mather told The Cord on the set of filming last Thursday in Kitchener-Waterloo.

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Lights. Camera. Action! On the set with “Dan For Mayor”.

While The Cord visited the set near Kitchener City Hall, curious pedestrians waited behind security and desperately tried to grab a peek at filming.

For Mather, KW was the perfect size for filming the Canadian comedy – “Big enough to merit its own bus system, but small enough that people know each other.”

In the show, KW stands in as the fictional medium-sized town of Wessex, Ontario.

After scouting different Ontario cities, Mather explains that they choose KW because “Kitchener has a great city hall and a new downtown strip, [plus the city] has been great.” The show stars Ewanuick playing Dan, a 30-something bachelor-bartender.

For Fred Ewanuick, famed oddball sweetheart from Canadian television’s staple Corner Gas, getting the part was a big deal.

“It feels pretty awesome actually…. Now I’m exactly where I want to be.” Adjusting to the character and his fellow cast members was equally “awesome,” explains Ewanuick.

“It was really easy, this character was written so close to pretty much who I am normally … except I think I have my life together a little more,” he said. Comparing it to working with his “Corner Gas family,” Ewanuick insists that everyone gets along.

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The show’s star Fred Ewanuick going over his scene with his director

Spending just an afternoon with the cast and crew, one starts to believe him.

Praising all his fellow cast members, Ewaniuck lists off every one of them in fear of missing someone, but jokingly adds, “They might secretly hate me, but they’re really good actors if they do.” Among Ewaniuck’s numerous co-stars are Mary Ashton (Degrassi Goes Hollywood) as Dan’s ex-girlfriend Claire and Second City veteran Paul Bates, who plays Dan’s politically clueless campaign manager and best friend. Speaking with Bates, he explained his transition to television from live comedy shows, a drastically different medium.

“Second City eventually drives you a little bonkers,” said Bates.

“So I left [even though] … I didn’t know what I was leaving for.”

Apparently he was leaving for Dan for Mayor; Bates feels he’s become comfortable, loving his character that requires the same dry sarcastic tone as his own. Though he enjoys filming in KW, noting that the area is “wearing autumn well,” Bates complains about his difficulty in finding a good place to eat but is quite excited to attempt the uniquely named establishment Chainsaw.

“I would assume that as soon as I walk in there, I would get punched in the face, that would be the cover charge,” he joked. Filming of Dan for Mayor has recently wrapped, moving the show into post-production before its 2010 fall release. Hoping to create a series that justifies the need for Canadian content, Mather and Ewaniuck want their efforts to translate into a show that people watch.

Bates already seems wholly convinced. “I think if [Canadians] watch it, they’re going to love it. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees,” he said, immediately rethinking his last statement, noticing that Kitchener is a pretty tough town.