Brooke Nevin Talks The Christmas Cure, Playing Villainesses, and More [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoiler ahead.]
Brooke Nevin stars in her third Hallmark Christmas movie in a row (after HC’s On the Twelfth Day of Christmas in 2015 and HMM’s a Journey Back to Christmas in 2016) this Saturday with The Christmas Cure, this year’s sneak peek during Hallmark Channel’s annual Christmas Keepsake Week themed week of Christmas movies. I chatted with Nevin recently about the new film, and her recent delightful (for us and her) forays into playing bad girls.
The Christmas Cure was shot earlier this summer, which meant layers of clothing in the middle of a heat wave, but Nevin took it all in stride because she’s a bit ride or die about the holidays. “Christmas is still one of my favorite holidays. I’m a Christmas baby, myself, my birthday is three daysÂ before Christmas, so I like that time of year. All of the season seems kind of magical and happy,” she says.
“When I see bows and garlands and fake snow, it puts me in a good mood. You’d have to ask some of the producers if they’re done with Christmas or over Christmas. We keep the Christmas tree up til February and then contemplate whether we should turn it into something for Valentine’s Day.”
This film reunited Nevin with the production team from On the Twelfth Day of Christmas. “Robert Vaughn came to me with an offer for this movie. It was a really quick process. I gave them an enthusiastic yes when they sent me the script because I thought it was such a sweet story. Within just a matter of days, I flew up to Hamilton to start production. It was a whirlwind, but I knew what I was getting into, having worked with a lot of the team before. I knew it was going to be a fun ride.”
This is her second film with an iconic 80s TV star as her dad. Come Dance at My Wedding had John Schneider and The Christmas Cure has Patrick Duffy. They’re super adorable together. “I loved a lot of the family dynamic scenes. Every member of the cast…we got along like gangbusters,” she shares. “In terms of a family dynamic to be loving and playful, that’s exactly what it was. Every time we came together, it felt like a really a good fit.”
In the film, Nevin plays Vanessa, a rising LA ER doctor who’s finally home for her first Christmas in years. Unbeknownst to her, it’s timed to her physician father’s surprise announcement that he’s retiring from his family practice, which forces her to look at the potential new promotion now within reach in LA and the parents (Duffy and Being Erica‘s Kathleen Laskey) and younger brother (Shadowhunters’ Dale Whibley) and long ago love, Mitch (Reign and Slasher‘s Steve Byers), she left behind.
“There are quite a few moments in the script where Vanessa is given moment of reflection to really think about the choices she made that put her on her path. She’s been really singularly focused on this career, and it has taken her thousands of miles from home,” she explains.
“When she comes back home, it really gives her a chance to gather her bearings. I think this story is such good reminder to ask ourselves once we have reached a goal if it is something that continues to truly makes us happy. Sometimes our priorities change or shift. She shows a lot of bravery in asking herself that big question, “[Is what] I’m doing still [making] me happy?’ and she gives herself extra time to answer it over the course of the movie.”
“When she’s younger and trying to set herself up as an autonomous being and her own individual, she does spend a lot of time running away from following in her father’s footsteps. I don’t think it’s a rejection because she was inspired by her father. She wants to find her own path in the world, and maybe that leads her back where she started, and that’s not a bad thing.”
“I’m sure in the part of the story we don’t see, she doesn’t have a social life, she doesn’t have close friends who’ve known her from since when. Our family do know us best. When the family asks her the right questions, it comes from compassion and sensitivity and a sense of history of who she is and what her values are. She comes to a decision herself, but it’s gently suggested. Whatever she decides, her family supports her 100%. I think that’s such a nice message from the movie.”
The Christmas Cure isn’t Nevin’s only family-friendly film this year. She also starred in PiXL’s Hometown Hero. “I had a lot of fun with this movie. I got to play a woman has some very definitive ideas of what a romantic partner should be like. She literally brings a check off list on her dates. She’s seen so many disaster relationships working as a divorce mediator,” she says.
“She’s convinced that if she finds the right man who meets this certain criteria, the relationship will be fortuitous and all will be well. She doesn’t find him until she’s tasked by her boss with taking care of a client’s dog during a mediation. She’s not really a dog person, but she is [trying to get ahead at work].”
“So she takes this pup in and it leads her to meet the local veterinarian when the dog eats something she shouldn’t and love comes when she least expects it. She learns to let go of this specific idea of what her love life is supposed to be. It’s the nice discovery of learning to trust someone else and that a little bit of emotion is OK.”
Nevin switched things up a few months ago in the quintessentially Lifetime movie (on Lifetime), The Wrong Mother, where she played an unhinged former surrogate who tracked down the children she carried, with very ill intent in mind. She had a ball as the villain. “It’s unexpected for people watching me play those parts and it’s kind of unexpected for myself, too. There’s no relying on old tricks,” she points out.
“You comb the script and try to make it as honest as possible because your character is doing such dastardly things, you have to support it with a motive behind it and justify the actions. You don’t want to play evil for the sake of evil. Everybody doing these things has a good reason in their mind for doing them. It’s fun to figure out that mindset and go throttle. I got to Tweet live when it premiered and there was so much gleeful enjoyment of viewers watching and their comments. I think it’s one of the most fun live Tweet experiences I’ve had.”
Y’all now how I feel about Motive, and Nevin flexed those dastardly muscles once before in the flat-out bonkers episode “Bad Blonde,” where she was the titular character alongside Jason Dohring and Corey Sevier. “That episode came to me through one of the producers from Call Me Fitz, who became a writer on Motive,” she recalls. “He asked me to come play this character he’d written about a murderous narcissist.”
“When I read this script, and he said he thought of me for this role, I thought, ‘really?’ It kind of terrified me because I didn’t have a lot of work behind me that suggested I could do it but I thought [I had to]. So saying yes it made sense, of course, to jump full in. Getting inside her head was delicious and fun to troll around in those dark, ugly places, and figure out, ‘let’s see what comes out now.'” (You can watch the episode on Amazon.)
Nevin has had a successful career moving between series regular roles, recurring roles, movies of the week, and features. She loves the mix, and says each has their strengths. “When I have had the chance to plays series regulars, there’s a beauty getting to explore a character season to season and of course, job security is a good thing,” she says.
“Some of the bigger guest star roles can be great opportunities to explore personalities or scenarios that are super dramatic or a one-off that you get to sink your teeth into. Motive blew open a whole realm of other roles for me. When The Wrong Mother came along because I’d done Motive and I had so much fun, I didn’t blink at being cast as another villainess. I know I love doing that.”
“With a movie of the week, you get to be responsible for a whole narrative. It’s a condensed period of time and sometimes the schedules are really tight and challenging, but they’re really affirming to do a movie from beginning to end, and know the whole arc. When you do a series, you don’t know where it’s going to end up.”
Nevin dipped a toe in the gaming world with Quantum Break. “My character did not have an appearance in the game play…she was a supporting character in the [narrative] chapters affected by choices made in the game,” she says. “It was like filming any other series or limited film. Sort of like a ‘choose your own adventure,’ [actions in the game] could affect a parallel reality [in the narrative], so we’d shoot three different versions of some of the scenes, so that was neat.”
Construction, an independent film directed by iZombie‘s Malcolm Goodwin, Nevin’s Breakout Kings co-star, is set for theaters soon, and in it, Nevin gets to sing and dance. “I play a woman who’s an aspiring Broadway performer. She’s a dancer who’d like to become a main player on the stage,” she explains. “She meets the main character, Vin (Victor Hawks, who also wrote the script), as he’s also struggling to make his debut. It’s a lovely exploration of vulnerability and trust and love and the habits that we hold onto that don’t necessarily serve us in our art.”
The Christmas Cure is directed by John Bradshaw, who previously directed Byers in Catch a Christmas Star, and was written by Marcy Holland, who’s written a handful of holiday films for Hallmark as well as Lifetime projects. airs Saturday night at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel and will join the holiday lineup again later this year. You can follow Nevin on Twitter, where she hopes to live Tweet the film. Here’s a sneak peek.
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