Based on a series of young adult novels, Heartland is a hit Candian drama series boasting a few production details that may surprise longtime fans.
Canadian drama Heartland has been a huge success with fans in North America since it made its debut on the small screen in 2007. Filmed in Alberta, the show follows the lives of two sisters, Amy and Louise Fleming, after they go to live with their grandfather on the Heartland ranch after their mother dies.
Popular for its warm and sentimental tone, the show is a far cry from the hard-hitting, binge-worthy dramas that most broadcasters are interested in making in the twenty-first century, and yet, Heartland has become a cult classic, recently being green-lit for a fourteenth season.
Where Is Heartland Filmed?
In 2014, the 125th episode of Heartland was aired on CBC, which officially made the show the longest-running one-hour series of all time in Canada. The former record holder had been courtroom drama Street Legal, which had aired for 124 episodes between 1987 and 1994, and which made a return in 2019.
Since then, of course, Heartland has continued screening, and there have now been 214 episodes of the family drama, which means it is likely to be the holder of the prestigious televisual record for many years to come.
Do Heartland Actors Do Their Own Riding?
As you would expect from a TV show that is set on a ranch, the equine stars of the series are just as important as the human actors! While Heartland uses stunt performers for some of the more dangerous scenes, many of the actors were able to ride when they were cast and have only improved after years of filming!
Amber Marshall, who plays Amy Fleming, is a competent rider and can perform her own jumps, while former star Madison Cheeatow even filmed her own rodeo scenes.
Does The Show Use A Real Mongolian Horse?
In season 11, the Heartland ranch welcomed some very special horses; Przewalski’s horses from Mongolia.
The plot saw Amy Fleming help to calm a Mongolian horse called Attila who was due to be transported back to Mongolia as part of a breeding program to protect the endangered species. Unfortunately, Mongolian horses are so endangered that the Heartland crew were unable to find a real one to film with. They used a Norwegian Fjord horse in the show instead, though many viewers were able to spot the difference.
How Many Members Of Crew Does It Take To Make An Episode Of Heartland?
Heartland may seem like a modest and simple series compared to some of the high-budget TV shows that can be found on Netflix, HBO, and Showtime, but it still takes a crew of 70 people behind the scenes to make an episode of the popular show.
In fact, so extensive is the crew that a special crew has been hired to cook the meals the characters can be seen eating in the series. Many of the stars of Heartland have been with the show since it started in 2007, and the same goes for many of the loyal crew members, too.
Where Was The Original Heartland Book Series Set?
Hardcore fans of the TV series will already know that Heartland is actually based on a series of 20 children’s novels by Lauren Brooke, which were published between 2000 and 2015. It may be hard to imagine the show being set anywhere but rural Canada, but the original books were actually set over 2,000 miles south in Virginia.
Other than that quite significant change, the TV show is relatively faithful to the basics of the book, with many of the character names remaining the same.
Does Author Lauren Brooke Have An Input Into The Making Of The Show?
While the original Heartland author is delighted that her books have been made into a successful TV show, she has no creative control or even input into the storylines that feature on the series.
In fact, many of the Heartland plots would be considered a little too mature for the teenage readers who were the target audience of the original novels. Brooke grew up on a ranch in Virginia before moving to the UK, and she put a lot of her own experiences into the books she wrote.
Are The Heartland Horses Just As Popular With Fans As The Actors?
There are few TV shows where the human stars have to compete with animals when it comes to fan mail, but that is certainly the case with Heartland. There have been several equine stars on the show since 2007, including Amy Fleming’s beloved Spartan, who is actually played by two horses called Rocky and Stormy, and the small but stout-hearted Sugarfoot, who is actually called Little Chieftain. Most of the horses on Heartland are owned by movie stalwart John Scott, who trains his steeds for a variety of roles.
Is There A Link Between Heartland And Brokeback Mountain?
Heartland has been a success over the last 13 years because it appeals to people of all ages and is the kind of TV show that the whole family can sit down and watch together. So, it might come as a surprise to learn that there is a hidden link between the TV show and the Oscar-winning cowboy romance film Brokeback Mountain.
TV executives had initially intended for Heartland to be set in Quebec, but the story goes that when they saw the Alberta scenery in Brokeback Mountain, they changed their minds and moved the show.
How Much Is The Show Worth To The Alberta Economy?
It is great news for the Alberta economy that the decision was made to move Heartland to the foothills of the Rockies. It has been estimated that, as of 2019, the TV show had been worth $200 million to the local economy through tourism and its role in attracting other film and TV productions to the region. Heartland tourism is popular with fans, who flock to High River near Calgary to see locations from the show, though the whereabouts of the Heartland ranch itself is a closely guarded secret.
What’s The Age Difference Between Chris Potter And Shaun Johnston?
Heartland may be the story of sisters Amy and Louise, but their father and grandfather are hugely important characters in the girls’ lives and in the series itself. Chris Potter plays Tim Fleming, the girls’ father who has not been in the picture since they were young, while Shaun Johnston plays their maternal grandfather Jack Bartlett.
However, there is only a two-year age difference between Johnston who was born in 1958, and Potter, who was born in 1960. Guess one of them must look old or young for their age…
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