Ryan Paevey Previews the Hallmark Channel Sequel, Marrying Mr. Darcy
WARNING: Mild spoilers for Hallmark Channel’s Marrying Mr. Darcy
When Hallmark Channel’s Unleashing Mr. Darcy premiered over two years ago, the Jane Austen-inspired movie delivered three million viewers. It was also a huge hit in the social media universe, becoming, at the time, the most Tweeted non-holiday original movie premiere in Hallmark history.
It should come as no surprise to find out Hallmark ordered a sequel. After all, audiences soundly connected to the love story of Elizabeth Scott and her upper crust suitor, Donovan Darcy. At the end of the film, a romance sparked â€” sealed with a kiss, cut to black, roll the end credits.
Thankfully, the journey is set to continue in Marrying Mr. Darcy. Even though the OG movie was a big success, a sequel wasn’t a given. However, Ryan Paevey, who plays the dashing Mr. Darcy, says there was always hope for a continuation.
“We had a blast making it. It performed pretty well. I don’t know that anybody knew anything until relatively recently. I didn’t know for sure until I was at the recent Hallmark TCAs [Television Critics Association] and they announced it. And I was like, ‘Oh, okay. Well, I guess we’re making another one.’ Then a week later, a bunch of emails were exchanged. And then a week later, I flew to Canada. So that was that.”
If the title isn’t enough of a clue as to where the story picks up, Paevey offers a tease.
“Obviously, Elizabeth and I are together. You pick us up out and about in our cosmopolitan lives. And very shortly after the beginning of the film, I pop the question. Elizabeth is okay with this idea and says yes. We break the news to the fam. And, of course, our family lives are very different.”
The road to the altar isn’t a smooth ride for the couple. Expect conflicts and obstacles to rise up.
“Darcy comes from [an] upper crust, pseudo-aristocratic background. Things are done a certain way,” explains the former daytime soap star. “It becomes evident pretty quickly and [Elizabeth] and I have very different ideas about what this wedding is going to look like.”
Cue the return of Aunt Violet, played by the fierce Frances Fisher.
“She’s going to be our main source of friction in this one again,” Paevey continues. “But I tell everybody â€” there’s been a lotta people kind of whining a little about Violet coming back â€” give her a chance. Give her a chance! Everybody evolves in this one a little bit. Even Violet. And I think some of her haters might actually come to like her by the end.”
Especially since Violet’s not the only source of friction. Back in Unleashing, the fact Donovan and Elizabeth were from two different worlds was a huge issue. He came from money, she didn’t. Not like his, anyway. In Marrying Mr. Darcy, those differences are still there. Their problems haven’t been magically solved.
“Elizabeth’s great fear is that we’re too different to make this work. And I’m constantly trying to reassure her that, no, no, no, we can make it work,” Paevey adds. “Violet kind of puts a face to the difference between the life that Elizabeth lives and the life that Darcy lives. I think the great hurdle here is convincing her that we’re not too different. I think that this love story is a story about compromise.”
Perhaps the lesson of this tale are that differences don’t necessarily have to disrupt or damage a relationship. They can be healthy and celebrated and relished. They shouldn’t be feared.
Paevey believes the safe, comfortable choice isn’t for him. “I can’t do that. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Because for some people, that’s all they want from a relationship. It would feel like settling. It would feel like I didn’t try. I couldn’t do it.”
He also doesn’t see his character as the same guy from the original movie. Revisiting this role gave him the chance to evolve Mr. Darcy.
“I don’t know that I went entirely back to the first Darcy,” Paevey says. “I think we embrace the fact that everybody evolves a little bit. I always thought Darcy was a little bit stiff. We still try to be a bit vaguely noble, but more human, you know? We’re getting married. And there’s dogs. Smile!”
While dogs don’t play as integral a part as they did in Unleashing, they do make a comeback in the new film. Since the actor’s an animal lover, they’re a welcome presence. That doesn’t mean they make easy scene partners, however.
“On a film set there’s a certain equation that needs to be followed to make things happen. We speak so we have to say words, but there’s also physical locations and physical cues that need to be hit. Things like that. And dogs don’t do that. Ours certainly didn’t. They make your job harder because if they’re not trained properly, they don’t do what they’re supposed to do. But the system adapts and they’re cute as hell so how can you be mad?”
Paevey has nothing but great things to say about reuniting with his human co-star, Cindy Busby. The two, once again, create seriously adorable on-screen sparks as Elizabeth and Donovan.
“She and I fell right back into the same pace that we had in the first one. I think we both were super stoked to be back doing this again, so it’s obviously great to be working with somebody who’s good at their job but also is happy to be there doing their job. It was effortless. It was like we’d never left. I think we laughed the whole time. We’d walk on to the set and be like, doesn’t it feel like we were just here? It was crazy.”
It was crazy good to be working with Fisher again, too.
“I LOVE Frances. Man, she and I are good peeps. I knew it the moment I met her. I was like, you and me, we’re going to be okay. She’s fun. We had some stuff, a couple of scenes, that unfortunately, the first time that we did them are definitely not going to make it into a Hallmark film, because there were some waterworks. But she’s such a great actress. I love working with her.”
Paevey’s genuinely happy to be a part of the Hallmark world where happy endings are not just the priority. They are the norm.
“Hallmark is Happy Land. It’s a place to go where you don’t have to worry about getting sucker-punched by the programming. It’s a happy place and it’s good to have sort of that last bastion of positivity. Hallmark is like a hug in TV form.”
Let the hugs begin when Marrying Mr. Darcy premieres Saturday night at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.
Check back here at TV Goodness for Heather’s interview with Cindy Busby. We’ll also have another one featuring Paevey where he talks about leaving General Hospital, his recent appearance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and his other creative outlet, Fortunate Wanderer.
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