Arielle Kebbel is a familiar face to fans of The Vampire Diaries, and in recent years, she’s added roles for Hallmark Channel and PiXL, headling A Bride for Christmas and Sweet Surrender. We’ll also see her guestingÂ on Lifetime’s upcoming Un-Real. This weekend, she reteams with her A Bride for Christmas co-star Andrew Walker in Bridal Wave, a romantic comedy about a bride who second guesses her groom when her destination wedding introduces her to someone new. I chatted with Kebbel this week from Miami, where she’s just begun work on HBO’s upcoming series, Ballers.
SheÂ had such aÂ good timeÂ on her last Hallmark film that she was thrilled to be asked to do Bridal Wave. “The film was offered to me. I had just landed on my vacation. I needed to look at it, soÂ I went outside on the beach and read it immediately and I found myself smiling,” she recalls.Â “I totally got Georgie. I loved the humor. I loved the dialogue and I wrote back ‘yes.’ It was divine timing. I got to do my vacation and go straight to filming. It was a magical experience from start to finish.”
WhileÂ reuniting with Walker was a bonus, Kebbel says it also provided an incentive to spend more time creating a new and distinct character. “I spoke on the phone with director Michael Scott and he said ‘great, we know we don’t need a chemistry read,'” she laughs. “As wonderful as it was that I know [Walker], I also had a lot of work to do because they’re completely different characters and movies. I had to work harder to differentiate who this person is now vs.Â in the other film. I think we brought something completely different.”
Jaclyn Smith co-stars in the film asÂ the soon-to-beÂ mother-in-law from Hell, and Kebbel enjoyed getting to work with the TV legend.Â She was giddy thatÂ Smith can throw shade with the best of them. “As fabulous as she looks, she is as fabulous as a person. She’s gorgeous from head to toe, aÂ stunning woman,” she says. “She has a beautiful, open heart and she really came to play. She always gave us something wonderful to work with. She gave me the stink eye in a way nobody ever gave me the stink eye. That made it easy for my character. I was honored to work with her.”
Filming in Victoria, British Columbia had its own charms asÂ Kebbel found plenty do offscreen during the shoot. “This is one of my most favorite projects. I had a lot of wonderful moments. The location took my breath away,” she explains.Â “Part of what helped me have a grounded character on camera was that off camera, at one of our basecamps, we could feed wild seals and we were at the cliffside for sunsets and sunrises and we could feed the deer. I could walk on the beach or in the forest. It was a really special time for me. I was really grateful to be filming there.”
I asked Kebbel if she had a “no bride” clause for her next role, and she says not at all. “I feel like I get to learn a lot [playing brides]. My brother does like to poke fun at me here and there,” she says. “I love Hallmark movies. They make me smile. I hope they make other people smile too. I’m honored to be asked. The goal is to keep learningÂ and doing them and if people are smiling watching them, I’m happy.”
Kebbel has kept a handÂ in the TVDÂ universe with her weekly web series Rehash that compresses each episode’s major developments and social media observations into a quick 6-ish minutes. “I love it. The Vampire Diaries fans are the best, aside from Hallmark. They care so deeply about the character. The fans have kept Lexi alive through their love and support and God bless Julie Plec who keeps bringing her back,” she says. “Rehash allows me to keep that connection to the fans and the show. I really love hosting. I would never give up acting, but I enjoy going back and forth. They feed my soul in very different areas. I get to be spontaneous and think on my feet.”
Another project Kebbel recently worked on was Amazon’s The After, which was initially greenlit to series butÂ the networkÂ reversed course just after the holidays. While she was bummed they didn’t get to move forward, the takeaway from the experience was wholly positive. “Chris CarterÂ was someone I’ve admired for years,” she explains. “I love the relationships that came out of it. We’re all still friends.”
HBO’s Ballers is a comedy roleÂ where KebbelÂ goes toe to toe with the boys. She’s happy to be back home in Florida for that shoot. “I am so excited. We just started filming…in Miami, which is so wonderful because it’s so close to my home and where I grew up. We landed and I told my family ‘I’m home,'” she says. “Being in an environment that’s so familiar to me feels so good.”
“I love the project. It’s got a great cast attached and a great [team].Â My character isÂ really fun. She’s a sports newscaster and she’s smart, she’s sassy, and she knows she’s got to be one of the guys and get on the field and get the story but she also needs their respect so they trust her.Â She’s a woman who’s smart enough to be in a man’s world but feminine enough to offer something different than the guys offer each other. It’s a completely challenging role and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
KebbelÂ works easily across genres, and says they’re all important in shaping her, so could never choose just one. “My goal is to constantly be growing myself. One way I do that is by jumping back and forth, doing drama and comedy and hosting,” she explains. “Each one grows my muscles in different ways.”
Kebbel is active on Twitter, and is grateful for that fan interaction. She’ll be online Saturday night at @ariellekebbel.
Bridal Wave premieres Saturday night at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.
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