Crystal Lowe Talks Signed, Sealed, Delivered + Preview of The Road Less Traveled
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Signed, Sealed, Delivered premieres The Road Less Traveled, its ninth franchise film, Sunday night at a special time, 7 pm/6c, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Earlier this week, I spoke to Crystal Lowe about the show’s longevity (they’re shooting the tenth film now), what she loves about the role of Rita, and her work as a short film director.
The Road Less Traveled is a really lovely Valentine for the fans, as the Postables hit the road in an RV, this time on the hunt to find a little boy after a disposable camera turns up in the DLO. On the personal front, newly engaged Rita is alarmed that she’s apparently already late on her wedding planning while Norman has his own reasons for being a little gunshy about their upcoming nuptials.
Shane is dodging phone calls and Oliver tries not to push, but is nonetheless concerned about what it means. It’s a beautifully layered story that takes the Postables out of their comfort zone, forcing them to push through their own doubts and emotions to solve the case. it’s also delightfully old school–no laptops and a dead cell phone. Grab the tissues. I sobbed through the last half hour–in a good way. Jamie-Lynn Sigler guest stars, Brandi Harkonen writes and Kevin Fair directs.
When Lowe initially read for Rita, the role was a bit against type for the kind of work she’d been doing up to that point in her career, and she wasn’t sure it’d be a good fit, but Martha Williamson saw it in her. “I auditioned for Rita, and I thought my agent sent me the wrong sides. She’s not a character I’ve ever played before,” she recalls.
“I was so relaxed and I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m booking this, so I’m just going to do me.’ I wore no makeup and glasses and had my hair in a bun. [There is a] line in the pilot where I say, ‘I’ve never actually been in love,’ and [Martha] says that’s the line that [landed me] the role.”
“They’d been looking for Rita for a long time. I booked it on a Monday and I went to camera on a Wednesday. Martha called me and said, ‘I will write for you every day and you will be happy when you come to set,’ and she was right and has stayed true to her word.”
Lowe says the shift of the show from a weekly series to a series of films gave them a richer playground. “I actually think it made the show better. As much as I loved it as a series, there’s so much in each episode, so much character development plus the B story and with the two-hour movie format, you get to see [all of it],” she explains.
“[Martha] writes the B storyline, the letter storyline, so well, but you also want to see what’s happening with Norman and Rita and Oliver and Shane. And something is always happening with them and the two-hour format gave us the ability to explore both without sacrificing one for the other.”
Lowe is particularly fond of her character’s arc over the years, and has had a hand in her development since the pilot. “The growth in character with Norman, for sure [is a favorite thing], and her coming into her own. When I first started, Rita was very shy and uncomfortable in her own skin,” she says.
“[Martha] sat me down and said, ‘You were not what I had in mind for Rita, but when you walked in, you were the girl, you were it. I want to write this for you, instead of trying to put you into the box.’ That’s the sign of a really strong writer. And we got to develop the character together. We wanted to see Rita come into her own while keeping herself and her values and owning who she was a little more, and that’s been the best part of her journey. Her look has evolved, too, which I love.”
Some form of a Rita and Norman pairing was always planned, but Lowe credits her real-life history with Geoff Gustafson for the really lovely relationship it’s become. “I think the idea that these two might like each other, or one might like the other [was always there]. Then [Martha] saw us onscreen together. Geoff and I have a lot of chemistry,” she says.
“I’ve known him for 20 years. We went to high school together. We knew each other then but not well, and just before this, we did Primeval: New World together and we were neighbors, but didn’t know it. We have a very tight bond, I can love him and hate him in a minute. That’s what you get when you have history with someone.”
Lowe is appreciative of the filmmaking mentorship the role has afforded her, as well. “[While I’ve been on the show], I’ve directed twice and I’ve produced four times. I was just nominated for best international director for my short film [“The Curtain“]. I come from a mother who’s very, very driven, and always encouraging me to go further and try more,” she shares.
“I owned a restaurant for three years. I have always had that kind of business sense. I really liked opening the restaurant but I didn’t want to run it. But it taught me what I could do in business. And I love film. When I combined the two, producing went hand in hand and felt great. I’m happy if I’m working 17 hours a day [on a set]. I’m a little bit of a control freak and I love when I get it.”
“Working for Martha has been a huge asset, just watching her. I asked her to mentor me and she said, ‘Yep. If you’re serious about it, then yes.’ I said I’d do the work and asked if she’d keep an eye out on me when the work is done, and she said, ‘Yes.'”
TheÂ SSD film currently in production is the last that has been greenlit, but the cast and crew would love to continue past that. Lowe says wherever they end, Williamson has the fans front of mind. “Martha is very concerned with her fans. She never wants to leave them with an unsatisfactory feeling,” she says. “She’ll wrap [the stories] up but always leave room for growth. We could continue without an issue.”
Outside of SSD, Lowe appeared in two 2017 Christmas movies, Marry Me at Christmas and Christmas at Holly Lodge, as the lead’s best friend, and she’s eager to carry a movie of her own. “I love being the BFF because she’s always the funny one,” she says. “But I would love to be the lead for Hallmark in one of their films.”
Lowe’s feature film, Wonder, is now out on VOD and she loved working on that project. “It is an incredible film. It’s worth every penny. Stephen Chbosky is incredible,” she praises. “I got to work with Mandy Patinkin, which was amazing. I play Julian’s Mom.”
“He got [Bryan Gheisar, who plays] Julian and they sat together with the camera rolling, and he said, ‘My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.’ I almost had a heart attack because I have seen [The Princess Bride] 50,000 times and it’s one of my favorites. That was a huge bucket list. He’s the real deal in terms of an actor and working with him was incredible. My character really goes toe to toe with him.”
Lowe’s short film, “The Curtain,” is on the festival circuit, and she’s proud of the movie. “It’s about two people who meet each other in a hospital room that never see each other but they open up to each other because the curtains are drawn,” she says. “[It speaks to how you’re your] true self when you meet a stranger. You find out about both of their lives and why they’re in there and how they’re affected and they help change each other’s lives without any judgment, which is really beautiful.”
The Road Less Traveled premieres Sunday at 7 pm/6c (note the special time) after a marathon that begins at 9 am/8c.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
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…
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…