Last month, Wes Brown was on Hallmark Channel in Under the Autumn Moon, and tonight, he’s back in Christmas at Graceland, starring opposite Kellie Pickler in a film that shot in and around Memphis and at the titular estate and was directed by Eric Close. When Tina chatted with Brown in October, they also discussed his Christmas project. Here’s what he had to say about working with Pickler, setting foot inside a home that’s a legend unto itself, and being directed by Close.
In the film, Pickler plays Laurel, a career-focused Chicago businesswoman who returns home to Memphis to close a deal, and runs into her ex-boyfriend, a local concert promoter named Clay, played by Brown. Soon, the allure of her Chicago life suddenly isn’t quite as strong.
Brown says the film tapped into one of his real-life loves, on- and off-screen during production. “I [have] long been a musician–before acting ever came about–but obviously music’s something I do on the side. It’s not really the bread and butter. I love being around musicians and people that are as gifted musically as Kellie is,” he shares. “This is Kelly’s first [starring role in a] movie. It was just a lot of fun getting to play these characters with her. [One night], her husband came down [to visit] and we got to go into one of the hotel rooms and just play.”
“Her and her husband and their little crew…you’re kind of hearing the best of the best and to sit and talk music with her and be around her and her family, it’s great. She’s the second singer that I’ve gotten to work with and it’s a very unique experience. And you get to hear these vocal chops that are not normal.”
Brown understood the full impact of getting to walk around Elvis Presley’s old stomping grounds. “There are really no words to describe it. I was just very thankful that we got that opportunity because there’s been no movie [before us] that has been allowed to shoot there,” he explains. “We are the first, except for one small documentary that was years and years ago. Our director, Eric Close, and our crew did a phenomenal job of making Graceland a huge, huge character in this and I think they did a wonderful job.”
Brown enjoyed having Close direct, especially given that he’s also an actor. “One of the things that struck me most about Eric is his humble approach to this movie. He directed television before, but this was his first television feature. He did not come in with any ego whatsoever and he’s been acting for far, far longer than I have. Because he’s an actor, he definitely can talk to you in a way that many directors can’t,” he says.
“He knows exactly what he’s looking for and you feel that he’s really making you the best version of yourself. I think Eric is going to have a very, very long career directing if he wants and I sure he hope he wants to. I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”
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