Alison Sweeney Talks Love on the Air, Murder She Baked, and Returning to Days [Exclusive Interview + Preview]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead]
Fan favorite Alison Sweeney is back on Hallmark Channel Saturday night in Love on the Air, starring opposite Ties That Bind‘s Jonathan Scarfe in a romantic comedy about opposites who attract after they begrudgingly become co-hosts of a radio talk show. We had the chance to send Sweeney some questions over e-mail, so we asked about the film, her Hallmark Movies & Mysteries franchise, Murder She Baked, and her return to Days of Our Lives.
Love on the Air bears Sweeney’s stamp as an actress and executive producer. “I’m very excited to have brought this project to Hallmark and to be part of its journey to finally being on air,” she says. “[I] worked very closely with the producing team and the network on all aspects of the TV movie. I was so thrilled to discover [Sharon [Soboil]’s script through a friend. [I] immediately identified with the characters and wanted to bring them to life.”
“I’m a sucker for a romantic comedy and the idea of a modern day He Said, She Said with a burgeoning romance from opposites was particularly appealing. The dialogue was clever and smart with lots of funny lighthearted moments, as well as heartwarming scenes too and I really liked that the character Sonia was a very different person then the character I played on Days.
“I love great storytelling and the story is the most important element to me, whether or not I’m acting in the project,” she explains. “Finding characters and stories that people can relate to, identify with, that’s key. It’s one of the many reasons why I love to direct – it’s another vantage point for telling a great story.”
Sweeney was thrilled to have Scarfe come onboard the project. “Jon is a great actor and it was such fun to work with him. Jon was the perfect Nick,” she says. “[He] has that innate confidence that Nick has, but also he was so good at showing the vulnerability of the character. He’s such a guy’s guy and a very talented actor. We were lucky to have him.”
In the course of the film, hearts are broken and mended, but there are no true bad guys, and Sweeney says that was intentional. “It was really important to me that Scott [David Lewis] not be the villain of the movie. Sometimes people make bad choices for themselves…that doesn’t mean Scott’s a bad guy, [he’s] just not the right guy for Sonia…or is he,” she teases. “It’s a fun bit of self-discovery for all the main characters. They all learn something about themselves along the way.”
Sweeney says it’s hard to pick a favorite scene, but she highlights two. “I love the scene after [Sonia] meets Nick and they buy coffee together on the side of the street. And the scene when Scott breaks up with her live on the radio,” she says. “Those were just amazing scenes. I can’t wait for everyone to watch [and] tell me their favorites!”
Aside from this project, Sweeney is ramping up production on the third Murder She Baked installment. “[The] second film [A Plum Pudding Mystery] will premiere on November 22nd and daytime fans will recognize a familiar face with my Days co-star Farah Fath joining us,” she says. “We’re starting filming [on the third movie in] mid-October.”
Sweeney will be back onscreen in Days as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, and she’s also been directing episodes of the long-running soap. “All I can say is that there is a lot of emotion going on, and Sami definitely comes back in full force,” she shares. “I grew up at Days with so many of the cast and crew being family, so I’m thrilled to be part of the celebration. It was so great to see everyone and I’d missed Sami, so it was great to step in her shoes one more time.”
April 2016 will mark the release of Sweeney’s next novel, and she says expanding beyond acting was a natural evolution. “I love all the different projects I pursue. Acting is something I’ve loved since I was 4 years old but, as I grew up in the industry, I found myself really wanting to expand to include other aspects of storytelling. I love directing and writing the novels, both are real passion projects. I always teach my kids to strive for more and tackle new challenges and I lead by example in following that philosophy for myself.”
In November, Sweeney will MC the City of Hope Walk for Hope in Los Angeles on November 8th. You can keep up with her through her regular updates on Twitter and Instagram. “I have the best fans and value their continued support on all my endeavors,” she explains. “To be able to communicate with them and celebrate news is just the best. I love how supportive they are and enthusiastic they are for all the upcoming projects I have.”
I really enjoyed it, and it’s the first film in a while that I rank up there with my banked DVR keepers like The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Growing the Big One, and Three Weeks, Three Kids. It was directed by Kristoffer Tabori, who’s a regular on the Hallmark circuit. Neil H. and Tippi Dobrofky (also responsible for several Hallmark films) share script credit with Soboil.
In case you missed it, check out our exclusive interview with Jonathan Scarfe.
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