TV Movie Goodness Interview: Andrew W. Walker Talks Wedding Planner Mystery [Exclusive]
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ newest original film, Wedding Planner Mystery, premieres Sunday night and we had the chance to chat with Andrew W. Walker, who stars along with Saving Hope‘s Erica Durance in a mystery yarn about a wedding planner turned amateur detective. Walker plays the thorn in her side (and love interest), reporter Aaron Gold.
Walker is a familiar face on the Hallmark and Lifetime circuits (he’s been on my radar since 2006’s Lies and Deception), and his two holiday films, A Bride for Christmas and Finding Mrs. Claus, are about to be back in heavy rotation. In our interview, we talked about Wedding Planner Mystery, his next film for Hallmark, and some of his recent projects, including When Calls the Heart, Loaded–a road trip movie with Chicago PD‘s Patrick Flueger, and last year’s Penthouse North, which co-starred Michael Keaton, Michelle Monaghan, and his buddy, Revenge‘s Barry Sloane.
Walker came on board Wedding Planner Mystery after working on When Calls the Heart. “I’ve done a few Hallmark projects and they’ve all been great experiences, from the crew to the cast and the story. I read the script and connected with it, and jumped at the opportunity,” he says.
The first day on set was the best for Walker. “I love the unknown, so [that] was probably the most fun because it was all of us on set for the first time together,” he recalls. “We don’t each other yet. We haven’t worked together as actors. Getting to know them as people and seeing how our characters transform on the day [was great].”
He enjoyed playing bad boy Billy on When Calls the Heart and would be happy to see Billy somehow make a return. “Billy Hamilton was one of the more fun times I’ve had on set. I feel like I only scratched the surface,” he says. “It was a week and a half of prep. It’s one of the roles that I played with on the day, and Erin Krakow was so awesome to work with. She’s such a connected actor, too. It was fun playing with her. I hope I do get a chance [to go back]. I know that all the villains get sent to prison, but I hope Billy’s one of the ones to escape.”
He adds that it was fun to slip into the period. “I had a great time. I thought of Billy Hamilton like Bill the Butcher, this fast-talking guy from New York. You can’t deny the wardrobe…you put it on and feel like you you’re sent back in time. It’s always fun to work in period.”
As it happens with holiday films, they’re usually shot in the middle of summer, and in 2012, Walker did A Bride for Christmas and Finding Mrs. Claus back to back in Vancouver. “I’ve acted for almost 20 years now and I’d never done any holiday films and then I did these,” he says. “It was Christmas in July, and then Christmas in August. You don’t play anything differently. You live in those moments. You’re working with your co-actors and you move from storyline to storyline.”
In Penthouse North, Walker played the boyfriend of a blind woman. He’s [spoiler alert] murdered early on and she has to face off with his killers in her penthouse. “I had my eyes closed in the kitchen and I kept hearing Batman,” he laughs when recalling Keaton. “Funnily enough, I’m friends now with Barry Sloane and we keep crossing paths. He’s such a good guy.”
Walker says working with Monaghan was a career highlight for him, and he found her to be a great teacher on the craft. “It was a moment for me in my acting career where I had this revelation. She brought so much lightness and fun [in her approach],” he says. “I have to keep coming back to that, to not be so serious [and caught up in the mechanics]. She would come into things so open-hearted and ad lib and [we’d] chat as people. She was an unbelievable person to work with.”
The upcoming feature film called Loaded follows old friends who are driving Walker’s character to rehab. “We haven’t spoken in a long time, and we don’t really know each other. It’s about how friendships change and evolve and you still have each other to lean on,” he says. “It was so much fun. We had to keep reminding ourselves that there was an actual script…and that they had to be able to cut it in the editing room. I’ve known Patrick Flueger for a longtime, so it was serendipitous [to work with him].”
We caught up with Walker while he had a day off from shooting Hallmark Channel’s Bridal Wave, a marriage-themed romantic comedy with Arielle Kebbel (his co-star in A Bride for Christmas) that will air next year. He’s happy to be an ongoing part of the Hallmark family, and loves being asked to participate in their films.
“We’re back together. We’re getting married a second a time,” he says about re-teaming with Kebbel. Written by Neal H. Dobrofsky, Spyder Dobrofsky, andÂ Tippi Dobrofsky, and directed by Michael Scott (who just came off a busy weekend), Bridal Wave features Walker as an architect who lives on an island, next door to a hotel that’s in the wedding business. “I’m trying to find myself…and I’m sick of weddings,” he says. “[On the ferry home] I see Arielle’s character and it’s love at first sight [but] she’s on her way to get married.” We can guess how that turns out.
“I feel so fortunate to have been part of this. [On the first Hallmark film], I didn’t really know what the process was going to be. I feel so fortunate to have been able to have work, and have great work,” he admits. “I love these projects. They’re so special in their own way, and so different. I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity every time they come knocking. I’m definitely open to any and all projects they send my way. They choose great scripts, as well.”
Walker has had a wide-ranging career playing bad boys and good guys, and he likes the roles with some complexity to them. “I’m drawn to characters with conflicts. It’s an interesting dynamic when you’re coming up with the character’s life and back story,” he explains. “I prefer a character who isn’t living a perfect life. It makes for more reality and a realistic approach to it.”
While films have been his recent mainstay, he’d like to get back to a series role at some point, too–his last was Lifetime’s Against the Wall. “I enjoy the process [of doing films]. I love jumping into these [short shoots] and they’re a lot of fun,” he says. “I’m looking forward to my next TV series. I do want to get deeper into a character and have a regular job to go to. I’m looking for a little more regular schedule.”
We’re happy to have him on TV any time. Wedding Planning Mystery airs Sunday night at 9/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. The film is based on the first book of a six-book series, so fingers crossed we’ll get to see another installment.
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