Andrew Walker Talks Hallmark Channel’s Love Struck Cafe [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Andrew Walker has become a familiar presence on Hallmark Channel, banking a half-dozen projects for the network and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in the last two years. Saturday night, he’s back for his seventh in Love Struck Cafe, starring opposite Hallmark newbie Sarah Jane Morris (The Night Shift) in a fall-themed love story about two former high school sweethearts who find themselves back in their small town, each at very different points in their lives and maybe ready to give their relationship another go. I chatted with Walker recently about the new film, his pending feature film releases, and his upcoming holiday movie for Lifetime.
While not exactly on a retainer, Walker does get called up pretty regularly now for Hallmark work and he’s thrilled at every opportunity. “They know I’ll answer their phone calls pretty quickly. They’ve been so good to me. I owe so much to [them] for our business and my family, being able to work constantly throughout the year and being challenged with different storylines and actresses,” he says.
The film was not only the first Hallmark project for Morris, but also the director and writer, Mike Robe, so Walker was the network veteran. “The majority of the work goes into casting [these projects] properly and hiring the right people, so I’m not going to step on the director’s toes, but he was kind enough to lean on me [about the tone] and he knows that I understand the brand,” he shares. “They would ask my opinion on how we could play the scene and make it more appealing to the Hallmark crowd.”
Love Struck Cafe allowed Walker to flex a new muscle, playing a pre-teen’s Dad for the first time. “As my son becomes a toddler, I draw from that. I don’t actively think about it. [Cassidy Nugent, who plays his character’s daughter, Lily] was just a very easygoing little girl and down to have some fun. I think being a Dad myself has helped me working with kids on set and having fun with the relationship,” he shares.
“[Working] with Cassidy was tons of fun for me. Working with kids is the best. They bring out your raw emotions and the fun in you. Kids and animals tear down your walls and make you less guarded. I liked it when she would challenge me. There’s a scene where she tells me, ‘Dad, you should tell he how you feel. You should tell her.’ I loved that she was the one telling me how I should approach the relationship with Sarah’s character.”
Walker says the arc between his character, Joe, and Sarah’s character, Megan, portrays a couple who figure things out together, albeit differently from how he might act in his own life. “My difficulty with him was that he didn’t speak up, he didn’t take the bull by the horns. He would just let life happen, and I’m not kind that of person,” he explains.
“Life happened [for them. Joe] got a new relationship and she got a new relationship. It was a weak, young moment for Joe [to end things after high school]. I like that these characters come into their own. To find your person in life, you become the best version of yourself and they’re on their way to blossoming together.”
We talked a little bit about his 2017 lineup of Hallmark movies, and he had a blast doing two films close together with Nikki Deloach with A Dream of Christmas last December and The Perfect Catch this spring. “She’s so great. She was a new Mom when we worked on the first project and I was becoming a new father, so there was a lot to talk about,” he recalls. “And I became really close friends with her husband as well. Nikki and I had a lot of fun together.”
Last winter’s Love on Ice was a bit of a real-life The Cutting Edge as Canadian Walker learned all about the toe pick. “It was great playing coach. I’ve always wanted to coach. I feel like I will coach my son. Whatever he does, I would like to get into some kind of coaching,” he says.
“We were in a rink or arena for 10 of the 15 [shooting] days and it was freezing. Fortunately I knew how to skate. The figure skates were a little hard to get used to [with] the tips so [director Bradley Walsh] would have me freestyle. There’s a scene in the movie [where] he kept the take where I tried some move andÂ fell on camera and he was like, ‘We’re printing that, buddy.'”
When we last chatted in 2016, Walker was working on two features that he’s since completed. He says Oxalis is being submitted to film festivals and God Bless the Broken Road is slated for a 1500-theater run in early 2018.
After Love Struck Cafe, you’ll be able to catch Walker again at Christmas on Lifetime in Snowed-Inn Christmas, opposite Bethany Joy Lenz for director Gary Yates, who directed him in A Dream of Christmas and A Bride for Christmas. “I just finished it. She was awesome. We had a great time working on this movie. We [play] writers who are the farthest apart from compatible and we get sent to Colorado to write a Christmas piece,” he says.
“We get grounded in Santa Claus, Indiana and have to stay there together at the Inn. I’m a huge Christmas skeptic and she loves Christmas. We figure out each other’s flaws and begin enjoying each other’s company and [we] have to save the inn. I’m happy to switch it up a little bit and do one with Lifetime.”
Walker is also busy with Clover Juice [renamed Little West in 2018], the family juice business he and his wife run out of Los Angeles. “It’s such a fun business. I could be doing it for the next 20 years. We’re building it and nurturing it very organically and making sure we’re with the right distributors who really care about the product and handle it properly,” he explains. “We’re up and down the West Coast as far as San Jose. Silicon Valley is primarily where we sell to. We’re in Gelsons. We’re going to be in Bristol Farms. It’s been great.”
Love Struck Cafe airs Saturday night at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.
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