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It’s been a little over a year since I last talked to Webster for A Harvest Wedding, so this week I got on the phone with him again to chat about the new movie, adding another holiday film to the Hallmark library, and what he loves about being part of that family. We also talked about his love of travel, which he shares in his photography over on Instagram.
Homegrown Christmas is Webster’s third Christmas movie, following 2015’s Magic Stocking and 2017’s Home for Christmas Day. He was thrilled to join the cast here, and to work with Loughlin, which seems like a long-overdue no-brainer to us.
“[I think it took so long] probably because she heard my reputation and didn’t want to work with me,” he laughs. “We had a fantastic time. The script [by Nina Weinman] was so much fun and had a lot of terrific banter in it. I was super excited to meet and work with her and it didn’t disappoint.”
“It was such a wonderful experience. She’s so talented nurturing and kind and fun to work with. We had a great rapport and banter together on our own and I think that came across. The director, Mel Damski, allowed us to improv and do some of our own things, as well.”
“One of the [scenes] that stands out in my mind is the first scene where she is hiding behind the tree and she drops her luggage. That banter felt so fun and natural to set the tone between us. We stuck to the script 85-90% and some moments were improved. [The scene] where I stop to watch [the cookie recipe fight] and grab a cookie off the table, that was improv. That was all some of the fun stuff that we added in.”
In the film, Loughlin plays Maddie, a successful shoe designer who cashes out of the shoe company she founded and finds herself adrift at the holidays. Her Mom, Peg, (Gwynyth Walsh) suggests she come home for more than her annual drive by visit to recharge and reset, and that puts her back in close quarters with her first love, Carter (Webster), who chose all those years ago not to leave their hometown and make the jump to New York with her.
Once she’s back home, Maddie decides to be productive with her sudden free time and is paired with Carter to stage the high school winter formal at her father’s woodworking shop after the school gym floods. That unearths a lot of things left unsaid, and allows Maddie to repair not only her love life but her relationship with her sister, Hallie (Kate Isaac), too. Loughlin’s daughter, Isabella Giannulli, plays Carter’s niece, Ava, in the movie, which makes for some lovely mother/daughter moments. Webster loved working with them as a team.
“It was great. [Isabella] was so sweet and fairly new in the business. She’s talented and she works hard and she comes with a positive attitude. To see the dynamic between the two of them is so great. It’s refreshing to see that kind of respect from daughter to mother and vice versa,” he shares.
Webster was also happy to add another holiday title to his collection, and appreciates that once you’ve done one (or many), they stay in the library and air for several years. “I love that about it. Christmas is such a fun time. You’d be surprised how many people watch Christmas movies,” he says.
“I can be at the coffee shop and the 22-year old girl behind the counter will tell me she loves watching them with her boyfriend, and then you get the typical people who you think watch, and then a big burly guy will say, ‘Yeah I love Hallmark movies.'”
“Hallmark reaches so many people and demographics. People just want to be happy and they don’t want to watch something confusing or negative or violent. That’s why I do these movies. I really love working with Hallmark. They put out really quality projects and there’s always a happy ending. My god-daughter and family can watch. Sometimes I do things they can’t, but everyone can watch a Hallmark movie.”
Earlier this year, Webster shot Wings Over Everest, an action adventure film set on Everest that also tapped his love of travel. “We shot in China for three months. The sets on that were huge. That’s not something I’d want my god-daughter to watch. I play a very, very bad person,” he explains.
“There’s so much CGI. They’re still editing it. It just went to the Tokyo Film Festival and was very well received. It’s in English, Japanese, and Chinese and all those languages are spoken in the film.”
Webster maintains two Instagram feeds, one of his personal photos and another of his more professional shots, all taken when he’s working and traveling. “If I’m not working, I’d rather be on a plane and really trying to live life and explore people, culture, and food,” he points out.
“Barcelona and Majorca are very high on the list [from the last year]. Don’t get me wrong, there were some places in China as well. We did the Door to Heaven, an incredible staircase all the way up in China. There are these glass walkways 1400 [meters] up in the air and people are panicking. I did one of those and started jumping up and down.”
“I got lost on a bus and nobody spoke English and my phone wasn’t working for translating, so it took me two hours longer to get there, and that’s what traveling is all about. Those are the great stories. I saw some things most Western travelers never see all because I got lost.”
Homegrown Christmas airs Saturday at 8 pm/7c on Hallmark Channel and repeats through the end of the year. Here’s a sneak peek.
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