Gary Goldstein Talks Summer in the City and For Love and Honor [Exclusive]
Hallmark Channel’s Summer Love movie series rolls on this weekend with Summer in the City, starring Julianna Guill (GG2D) and Dark Matter‘s Marc Bendavid in a tale about a small-town girl who finds herself flailing in Manhattan when she tries to fit in instead of stand out with her true personality.
Gary Goldstein wrote the movie, and shared a writing credit on last weekend’s For Love and Honor. I last chatted with him about My Boyfriends’ Dogs and Along Came a Nanny, andÂ in the intervening two years, he’s worked on several other projects for the Hallmark networks, including the first two Flower Shop Mystery films, and last winter’s Angel of Christmas. We hopped on the phone last week to talk about his latest projects, kicking off a franchise, adapting books to screen, and what’s next.
For Love andÂ Honor grew out of Hallmark Channel’s desire to mount a vehicle for Jamie Denton, who was interested in doing something with a military theme. Goldstein was brought in to help conceptualizeÂ the film. “I came up with the idea of a military academy, thinking it could be a good contained environment, which could establish a particular relationship and put him in more of an iconic role, and it evolved from there,” he says.
“I [wrote] the first two drafts and I had to go work onÂ SummerÂ in the CityÂ and another writer [Mark Amato] came in and did a really good job. I wasn’t involved after I handed it off. I did see the script before it was shot and it came out really well. I’ve done 13 movies for Hallmark and the circumstances are always different in terms of content and timing and production. They each take on their own story.”
Summer in the City came about when Goldstein was pitched the producer’s idea through Hallmark. “They liked it and asked me to meet with him to develop the story and we worked on that over the course of a [year and a half] until we finally shot it,” he explains. “It evolved, too.”
“It was Sweet Home Alabama in reverse. Some of these movies are about women who leave a small town and come back. This was…a woman who comes from a small town to the city and it’s always been her dream to live in Manhattan, and when she gets the opportunity, she’s thrilled.”
“She jumps in over head and tries to navigate by being true to herself. [She starts] off in a way that isn’t who she really is and then she realizes what worked for her and made her successful and happy [at home] can make her the same in the city. It’s not the location you’re in,Â but the person you are.”
The movie filmed in Vancouver but Goldstein was pleased that the production was able to bank the final two days in New York with Guill and Bendavid. “I had written the script with very specific locations with geography they could match between Vancouver and Manhattan to make it seem as realistic as possible. The director [Vic Sarin] did a great job melding the two worlds,” he says. “The last two days, they were able to shoot around the Chrysler Building and the High Line without having to duplicate. Visually, it looks really good.”
Goldstein wasn’t on set for the shoot, but was available from California during production as the need arose. “I worked really close with them through the shooting drafts and on set. There are always changes and compression and things and I was able to work long distance in making script changes, [seeing what was] working or not working, alternatives, opinions about things, and lines that needed to be shifted,” he recalls.
“It was a very good working process. The director was great and we were really a team. It was a great experience. I hadn’t worked with this director or producer before. [The director]Â has done documentaries and got an artist’s eye and that helped with the look of the movie.”
Goldstein wrote the first two Flower Shop Mystery films, “Mum’s the Word” and “Snipped in the Bud,” and enjoyed the challenge of adapting the Abby of the book to fit Brooke Shields. “In the books, Abby is [in her twenties], so we had to age her up and create a whole new history. That meant creating a whole new foundation for the main character,” he points out. “That was the biggest challenge…making that all work, and laying the groundwork for however many they were going to do. You definitely approach it differently. You have to look at the potential longer picture of it.”
“WithÂ the romance, it has to be aÂ slow boil. If it was a single movie, you’d have them get together. Here you have the luxury of letting it build and grow and organically come together. It was a really fun challenge. I enjoyed writing them. It was fun writing the mystery and finding the movie within the story of the books.”
“Hopefully some strong groundwork was laid so the other writers have a model to work from. I think it was helpful writing…and shooting the first one to see what worked best. It really helped to go through one and then write the second one.”
He adds that it’s always a delicate balance to adapt from another medium and preserve the key thing that made it so desirable to adapt. “I’ve adapted books [before] and it’s basically making sure not to throw out the baby with the bath water but to find the core of the story that will make the best movie. Try to stay true to the story and characters and honor the novelist but also make it work in term of the casting and what we’re able to do in the movies.”
“I had adapted Angel of Christmas [from Jane Maas’s ‘The Christmas Angel.’] It was a really beautiful,Â complex story. To tell it exactly as it was in the book would have been too overwhelming. We kept the guts and what we loved the most and reconfigured it to be a more traditional romantic comedy.”
“The authors understand that when they sell the book, it’ll have to serve as the basis of the movie as opposed to the entire movie. I as a writer like to honor the other writers and keep as much as I can of what their intentions were and what [Hallmark] liked about the book that made them pick up the book in the first place.”
Next up, Goldstein has two more adaptations in the works, as well as a play to be staged in Los Angeles. “I’ve optioned a Christmas-oriented book called “Mr. 365” about a guy who celebratesÂ Christmas all year and a reality TV producer who decides to make him the focus of her TV series for the holidays and sparks fly,” he shares. “It’s a really cute story. I’m hoping we can do it [at Hallmark].”
“I’ve optioned another book I’m trying to set up called “Rescuing Riley,” about a man [Zak Anderegg] who rescued a dog who was abandoned in a canyon in Arizona. He has to physically rescue the dog, which is a giant crucible and he kind of rescues himself. The whole experience helps him resolve his own past, It’s a great star vehicle. It’s got so much meaning to it, it’s pro-animal, and anti-bullying. I’m trying to set it up as an indie feature.”
His play is called “April, May,Â & June,” and it’s set to run next March at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. “[It’s]Â about three sisters who conveneÂ to clean out their late mother’s home and what they discover upends what they thought about their mother,” he says. “They’re a year apart and have all had very different lives and perceptions of their mother.”
For Love and Honor repeats Saturday at 1 pm/12 c and Sunday at 7 pm/6 c on Hallmark Channel. Summer in the City premieres Saturday at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel. Here’s a sneak peek.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…