[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Sean Faris is a familiar face for his recurring roles on recent series like The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars as well as the one-season fan favorites Life As We Know It and Reunion. Hallmark fans know him from his work in the 2012 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Christmas With Holly and last year’s Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film, Sandra Brown’s White Hot. He returns to HMM Sunday night in An Uncommon Grace, starring opposite Mistresses‘ Jes Macallan in a murder mystery set among the Amish. Earlier this week, I chatted with Faris about the film.
He got involved in the new project very quickly and set to work with a dialect coach to help capture the specific inflections and cadences of his character, Levi, a conservative Amish man who finds his position in his family upended by a murder and his new friendship with Grace (Macallan), an Army nurse home on leave from Afghanistan who is the granddaughter of next-door neighbor, Elizabeth (Kelly McGillis).
“I read the script and found it really intriguing to play a character who’s so far removed for me, and far out of the box for my normal wheelhouse. I worked with [the dialect coach] and had the whole script down before I got [to Kentucky, which stood in for Ohio],” he says. “I hung out with a lot of the locals and did a little bit of horse training and got a feel for everything.”
He loved working with Macallan. “I have nothing but great things to say. She’s in it with you and there for you. She was amazing. Camera on and camera off, you’re still getting it and it’s really nice to have that support,” he says. “We were always trying to make things the best that we possibly can. We came together and decided what would work and what wouldn’t. We really had a great time.”
His favorite scene to shoot was an emotional moment where Grace comforts Levi after he’s felt forced to burn his personal library. “Anything Jes and I did together was a lot of fun,” he shares. “And the scenes with my Mom…Pamela Daly is an incredible actor, by the way. She’s just in it all the time.”
Faris is active on Twitter and Instagram and uses social media to help promote causes near and dear to him, like Arm the Animals, which sells shirts and clothing apparel online and donates a percentage of proceeds to animal shelters in Los Angeles to help them with their funding and supplies.
He also spends time promoting and visiting Friends of Alfaro, which supports Casa Hogar Sion, an orphanage in Tijuana that’s funded with assistance from his acting coach, Leigh Kilton-Smith, and her husband, Adam. “They’ve taken it up on themselves through friends and family to raise the funding. There’s about 75 kids there…from babies up though college,” he says.
“We’ll leave at 6 in the morning and get down there at 9 am and spend the day with them, reading and playing and have lunch and then head home. We develop relationships with them.”
Next up, Faris says he’d like to do another series. “Being a regular on a TV series is a lot of work, but I do love TV. I’d like to develop a serious role and continue with that character and let it grow over the cousre of a few seasons,” he explains.
“I also really enjoy a film where I can work one to three months on a character, but I’d like to have more time to prepare and research to give it a 110% of my everything. That’s the dream. Maybe get a show where you can work six months out of the year and get six months to do a couple of films.”
While most viewers know him for dramatic and physical roles like Never Back Down, Faris would love to work in comedy. “I rarely ever get considered for comedy. The first TV pilot I ever booked was a sitcom and I’ve never gotten consideration since then,” he says. “A comedy would be so much fun to do because you spend your day having a good time and looking forward to going to work and wondering what you’re going to come up with today.”
“That’s something I want to work toward and take a comedy class to develop another side. I also very much love projects that make you think, and getting into it with the drama. That’s where I live.”
An Uncommon Grace premieres Sunday at 9/8c on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Here’s a sneak peek.