[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Hallmark Channel’s newest Saturday night movie is Portrait of Love, a romance about April and Luke, childhood BFFs and high school sweetheartsÂ who went their separate ways after high school. Over the years, hurt feelings have lingered until April, now a successful photographer,Â comes home for a visit.Â She and Luke, now a widowed single dad raising a young daughter with his mom’s help,Â reconnect and realize that underneath all that pain there’s still a lingering bond with each other. It’s a sweet, often moving film headlined by Bree Williamson and Jason Dohring, and we had the chance to chat with Williamson about the role.
Williamson was offered the part outright, and was excited about working with a cast that along with Dohring includes Frances Fisher and Corbin Bernsen. Funnily enough, she’s never watched Veronica Mars, so she went into the project without a Logan Echolls frame of reference. “It was one of those shows that IÂ kind of missed,” she admits. “My friends watchedÂ it and [they were freaking out.]. I hear it wasÂ an amazing show and I feel like an idiot for missing it.”
She adored Fisher and Bernsen. “I loved Frances. She’s so a great,” she says.Â “What a cool opportunity to work with her. She’s a really rad, wonderful lady.Â I can’t say enough nice things about. It was a lot ofÂ fun.” Bernsen is only on camera with Williamson once at the beginning of the film, and she explains that they got to spend the whole day together working on that scene. “He’s really, really funny and great to work with,” she points out. “He kept me on my toes.”
The centerpiece of the film involves Luke and April building a sculpture, and April shooting pictures of the artists competingÂ in a local contest. Williamson enjoyed the hands on aspect ofÂ putting those scenes together.Â “As an actor, you get to do things you never get to do, and it was fun to work with the metal saw,” she says. “It was fun to fool around with the camera, and the art. My husband is an artist and he helped me.”
When April and Luke finally get on the same page, it’s an emotional moment, and Williamson explains that was shot toward the end of the film, which made it a rewarding payoff. “They have this history and years and years of resentment, and his wife had passed, and he has his daughter. There were a lot of ‘what ifs,'” she says. “We worked on [that scene]Â a lot.”
Williamson also fell in love with Caitlin Carmichael, who plays Luke’s daughter, Jess. “She’s so great. She’s so available,” she praises. “She totally stole the movie from us.”
Williamson may be familiar to fans from her stints on Haven, Deception, One Life to Live,Â and more recently, Chicago Fire. She’s loved each of the experiences, and relishes going back and forth between TV and film. “I like it all. It depends on the character I play. TVÂ is great because you get to work with a cast that’sÂ a family,” she says.Â “With a film, you’re thrown together and you become a family at the end.”
She says she could return to Chicago Fire because she wasn’t killed off, but nothing’s been offered yet. “You never know. That castÂ is amazing. I love Chicago,” she says. “They’re really, really great. They’ve got a great thing going on over there. I like them aÂ lot.”
WhileÂ her character,Â Claire,Â was killed offÂ in Haven‘s second season, she counts it as a great job. “I loved that [role]. It was such an awesome experience,” she explains. “The cast on that show was amazing.Â Lucas, Eric, and Emily are just the nicest people in the world and I love them.” I asked if they found a way to bring her back somewhere in the 13 unaired episodes, and she said no.
She just wrapped an indie horror film and has another project coming up soon, but couldn’t disclose the details just yet. You can catch her on Twitter Saturday night during the West Coast airing (9 pm Pacific) of the film. Portrait of Love premieres Saturday night at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.
Here’s a sneak peek:
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