TV Movie Goodness Interview: The Christmas Shepherd’s Martin Cummins [Exclusive]
Martin Cummins has been a favorite of mine back to Poltergeist the Legacy.Â Heâ€™s had a long career in TV and film as an actor, writer, and director, and for the last several years, he’s played a handful of characters you couldnâ€™t, or shouldnâ€™t, trust. Most recently, some new fans have found him via Hallmark Channelâ€™s When Calls the Heart. This weekend, heâ€™s going to surprise them as the romantic lead inÂ Hallmark Channel’sÂ terrific new family film, The Christmas Shepherd, about a woman whose lost dog finds a home with a widower and his daughter and how they work together to do what’s best for everybody involved. I nerded out when he was cast this summer, so I wasÂ thrilled to chat withÂ him about his career, the movie and whatâ€™s next.
Cummins got involved in the film through the executive producer, Gerald W. Adams. â€œIâ€™ve done a couple of features for himâ€”one for Lifetime and one for Hallmark,â€ he says. â€œI love him, heâ€™s a great guy. If he asks me to do something, Iâ€™m thrilled to do it.â€
Another driving force to do the film was Cumminsâ€™ family. â€œIâ€™ve had very little opportunity to play the good guy. Iâ€™ve got four kids and a dog and a cat,â€ he explains. â€œIâ€™ve always said to my kids that my ultimate job would be doing Air Bud 14. I was happy to do something my kids could see and relate to.â€
The film has several heartfelt moments, and the one that spoke toÂ Cummins most is a scene in the middle of the film whereÂ Mark’s daughter, Emma,Â makes a decision driven by the loss of her mother. â€œI loved working withÂ Jordyn Ashley Olson, who played my daughter. Thereâ€™s a scene where [weâ€™re talking about the fact] that her mother has passed and I connected to that,â€ he says. â€œMy mother passed when I was 18, and ChristmasÂ is her favorite time often year. It caught me when we were doing it. I didnâ€™t see it coming when I read the script. In the moment with [Olson], it all came rushing back, and she was so wonderful.â€
Cummins is a busy man. Heâ€™s shot seven episodes of Lifetimeâ€™s upcoming series,Â Un-Real, and heâ€™s back at work on season two of When Calls the Heart, where he plays another untrustworthy fellow, Henry Gowen. Heâ€™s not sure yet what the season will hold for him. â€œI just picked up the hard copy of the script,â€ he explains. â€œWe pushed a few times and weâ€™re ready to get started [now].â€ He’s also doing some work on another series which he couldn’t discuss yet (those pesky NDAs!).
Last year, he wrote, directed, and starred in the featureÂ Hell in a Handbag, a seedy yarn with a supernatural bent co-starring several of his Canadian friends–Callum Keith Rennie, Continuumâ€™s Ian Tracey and Brian Markinson, and Sanctuaryâ€™s Amanda Tapping.
â€œWe finished color correction, and weâ€™ll go in and bang out our sound and have a chitchat with some distributors and go from there,â€ he says. â€œWe have a bunch of friends here. Itâ€™s a small community in Vancouver and weâ€™ve known each other for a really long time. Itâ€™s nice. Everybody got an opportunity to do something a little left of center and do something fun and absurd.â€
The Christmas Shepherd airs Sunday night at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel.
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