[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Hallmark Channel gives a nod to prom season with Date with Love (formerly Promposal if you were following the production on Twitter), premiering this Saturday at 9/8c. I recently chatted one-on-one with its star,Â Andrew Walker, who’s become a fixture on the Hallmark networks since I last interviewed him in the fall of 2014–including two moviesÂ in the last six months–Debbie Macomber’s Dashing Through the Snow for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in December, andÂ Appetite for Love (which repeats Saturday at 5/4c) opposite network newcomer Taylor Cole, in February.Â Here, we talk aboutÂ the new movie and the full slate of projects keeping him busy.
Date with Love co-stars Shenae Grimes-Beech, Bailee Madison, and Quinn Lord, and casts Walker as a high school English teacher. “Itâ€™s a really cute story. I feel like [they’re] going with a little bit younger demographic more so than Iâ€™ve done before,” he explains. “Itâ€™s about a movie star [Grimes-Beech] who kind of makes a fool of herself on the red carpet. She loses her publicist and sheâ€™s freaking out that she might lose her fanbase.”
“In this small town, there’s this kid [Lord] whoâ€™s having trouble finding a prom date and his most favorite actor is this actress, and so he decides to send her a prompsoal. He records it on his phone, and sends it, and [her team] says this is actually what she needs. For all the wrong reasons, she goes to appease the kid. She meets me, Iâ€™m the English teacher, and realizes there are a lot of reasons she should have taken the invitation differently. [She’d] forgotten who she is. Obviously she and I hit it off and there’s a little budding relationship. She also gives the kid confidence to break out of his shell.”
The project reunited him with director Ron Oliver, who he’d worked with on Wedding Planner Mystery. “I got hired and realized Ron was directing it and it was a nice surprise. There was the comfort factor that plays into it,” he says. “He plays a soundtrack on set. Every time between takes, he plays a song. He has a very eclectic collection of music. I donâ€™t think it would work if we were doing something super dramatic, but itâ€™s good here because itâ€™s light and [goes] with the moment.”
Walker feels fortunate to have had a succession of opportunities with Hallmark. “I really enjoy aspects of all of the films. I love taking on characters that have some issues to them. [Many of them have been] ex-military. They’re veterans,” he points out. “Itâ€™s an interesting twist and makes you feel for the guy a little but more. I like that. [They’re] not all perfect, theyâ€™re working through their own issues. I like playing these characters that have a little depth to them.”
When I caught up with Walker, he was working in Michigan on a feature film, God Bless the Broken Road, inspired by the song that was a hit for Rascal Flatts, who will also do the soundtrack, and directed by Harold Cronk, who helmed God’s Not Dead. “Itâ€™s a really cool story. Itâ€™s like Days of Thunder with faith-based undertones. [I play] a cocky NASCAR driver thatâ€™s kind of lost himself and his touch behind the wheel because his ego got out of whack,” he says.
“He gets sent down to the minors and starts working with a garage owner who was also a driver. He meets this girl who lost her husband in Afghanistan and ends up having a relationship with her and their lives change. He gets back to racing and finds himself and vice versa. Itâ€™s a really nice story.”
He’s also working on Oxalis, a psychological thriller that was written by his neighbor, Brian Gottlieb. He’s acting in it and co-producing with the team from Dashing Through the Snow, and they hope to have it ready for the festival circuit early next year. “Itâ€™s probably as far as way from a Hallmark movie as you can get. Itâ€™s about a husband and wife. Their two-year-old child and nanny are murdered. Theyâ€™re very well-to-do, and they choose to clone their child,” he says.
“Itâ€™s about a couple dealing with the death of their child and the birth of their seemingly same child. The twist is that the murderer is on the run and [my character, the husband, pays] him to clone the killerâ€™s DNA to see if we can change the course of his life. I know my wife will find out, but Iâ€™m willing to deal with the consequences.”
When he’s not working in film and TV, Walker and his wife, Cassandra, run Clover Juice [renamed Little West in 2018], a successful juice business in LA, which sprang up a few years ago out of an opportunity that presented itself out of the blue. “My wife and I are pretty big into health and nutrition. I go to hot yoga six times a week, and these two gals from Canada opened up their flagship in LA. I was one of the first guys in the door,” he recalls.
“They took the lease on the carpet place next door, and my wife’s dream has always been to open a cafÃ© or a health concept. I went home and talked to her about it and we went in and it took about 15 minutes to have a conversation about [taking space in the expansion] and they were 100% on board.” The couple put the money earmarked for their wedding into the business, and instead eloped in San Francisco just before they opened their doors. He says they still plan to have the wedding at some point, perhaps when their 9-month-old is old enough to be a ring bearer.
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