Cindy Busby Talks A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love and Christmas Cupcakes [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Set your swatches and DVRs, y’all, for a Cindy Busby TV takeover Sunday night. You can catch her at 7 pm ET on UP in Christmas Cupcakes and 9 pm ET on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love. I spoke with her last week about both movies.
A Godwink Christmas: Meant For Love is Busby’s first Christmas movie for Hallmark and she was thrilled to join Benjamin Hollingsworth in a story about the multi-layered meet cute of Alice and Jack, a real-life couple who aren’t even six degrees away from each other but somehow don’t meet until they attend Christmas parties at the same hotel and he mistakenly goes to the wrong party.
From there, they’re thrown together for a road trip to a wedding and other Godwink coincidences along the way, and pretty soon, their already-quick easy friendship turns toward something more. The film devotes its core to their romance, and is filled out with their extended families, who experience Godwinks of their own.
Alice’s family is anchored by her Mom, Olga, played by Kathie Lee Gifford, who starred in last year’s first A Godwink Christmas as a different character, and her cousin, Mickey, played by Toby Levins. Jack’s is anchored by his uncle, Nabeh, played by Barclay Hope.
Busby loved the ensemble. “The movie has some wonderful side stories to it. I love every single character in this. Every actor is so talented and just so great,” she says. “Hilary Jardine is a friend of mine. And Toby Levins, who I’ve known for years as well. [Having him play a best friend who’s] a family member, a cousin and he’s a man…that was really cool and something different.”
The role came Busby’s way after she met the authors of the Godwinks book series, SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, who were already fans, at the TCA Hallmark event, and she’d previously worked with producer Dan Angel on Web of Dreams, Date My Dad, and other projects “He and I have actually worked together a lot and have a mutual love and respect for one another,” she says
“At the TCAs, I was approached about The Godwink Christmas Stories. I was so taken by the idea [and] I 100% believe in that stuff. I was very excited to learn more about it. I love them, I love the stories, and I love Hallmark.”
It was a first time pairing for her with Hollingsworth, with whom she shares an agency, and Gifford, who she credits with being a lovely, warm presence on set. “She’s so professional and so kind to everyone, from top to bottom, which is so amazing and what I aspire to, as well,” she shares. “[When I arrived], everybody asked if I’d met her yet.”
Busby enjoyed putting her own spin on a story based in reality, and, alongside Hollingsworth, getting to meet the couple during a video chat. “[The Godwink Stories] are all based on real people. I didn’t realize to what extent it would be real, but the story is pretty darn accurate,” she explains.
“It’s actually mind blowing how accurate the events are. There can be a lot of pressure [to play a real person but you] realize that it’s not just not going to be 100% [that] person. It’s going to be an interpretation by the actor on what the story and the person are about.”
“We were in the last week of shooting [when we] had a Skype meeting during our lunch hour to talk about their life. They were amazing because it just really shows you how in love they still were. They met about 30 years ago and they have a son together now.”
“It was just really nice to see them in person and interacting with one another and how passionate they are for each other after all this time. It’s incredible to see them still [that way] to this day.”
“I got really emotional. I was just so taken by their love for one another and how they met and how much they take care of each other. It was just really nice. My only wish is that we could have done it before we started shooting the movie.”
Christmas Cupcakes stars Busby and Erin Karpluk as Gina and Kim Remo, sisters who step in to run their family bakery with their Uncle Mario (Fulvio Cecere) after their dad dies, only to find that he was deeply in debt and they may not be able to keep it.
A televised baking competition with a big payout arrives just in time to help. The wrinkle for Gina is that her new friend, Nick (Corey Loranger), is on one of the opposing teams with his partner, the snarky reigning champ, Andrew, hilariously played by Kristian Bruun.
Busby hadn’t worked with Karpluk before the movie, and they actually met on the flight from LA to Edmonton before production started. They were seated a row apart across the aisle and hit it off so fast that another passenger offered to swap seats so they could keep chatting. “She’s a really good friend [now] and we see each other about once a week,” she shares.
The movie has its share of kitchen scenes and Busby says there was a lot of improvisation. “I am not a baker. I needed help,” she laughs. “We had a baking professional on set to help us [make it look authentic].”
Aside from the fun aspects of the film, there’s also a lovely, sweet moment for Busby’s character when she gets to know one of her Dad’s regular customers and hears her story, which influences her baking later.
“[Diana-Marie Stolz] is so talented, just the sweetest lady and that location…her house [was this] perfect house,” she recalls. “It’s like one of those places you can walk around and find so many hidden gems.”
Christmas Cupcakes premieres Sunday night at 7 pm/6c on UP Television and repeats at 11 pm/10c. A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love premieres Sunday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and repeats through the end of the year. Here’s a sneak peek of both.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of Crown Media and UP Television.
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