[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
We love it when our favorites land in holiday movies every year, and Saturday night, Luke Macfarlane banks his fifth Christmas title for the Hallmark networks with Sense, Sensibility, and Snowmen, airing at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. The film reteams him with his The Mistletoe Promise director, David Winning, and pairs him for the first time with fellow Julliard alumni, Erin Krakow. Earlier this week, we jumped on the phone to chat about the project.
Adapted by Samantha Herman from a story by her and Melissa de la Cruz, the romcom takes its inspiration from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, following two party planner sisters who have formally assumed control of the family business with the death of their father. Marianne (Kimberley Sustad) is the sister who’s had her hands in the business all along, guiding it to its current success. Krakow is Ella, who’s only been back a year, following a bit of dabbling in other careers. She has grand ideas to take their business to the next level, but Marianne isn’t quite so sure she’ll hang around long enough to see them through.
Edward Ferris is the newly appointed CEO of Ferris Wheel Toys. He’s on the eve of a big European distribution deal with his dad, the former CEO, still a little more involved in shepherding the business than is comfortable. Edward has a random, awkward meet-cute with Ella in the lobby of his cousin’s law office that doesn’t go well at all.
They reconnect again later when Ella overhears his conversation with his cousin, Brandon (Jason McKinnon), who is actually the sisters’ attorney. Flummoxed and trying to please his potential new investors. Edward stumbled into mentioning a non-existent Christmas party. Ella offers her services, Edward declines, and Brandon smooths out the edges until Edward begrudgingly agrees to hire her.
From there, Ella and Edward embark on fast-tracking the perfect holiday party while emboldening each other to be a little less stubborn in their ways. As they work on that and ease into a friendship and maybe more, Marianne and Brandon hit it off, too.
Macfarlane was excited to dive back into Christmas, albeit in Vancouver in July, and to work with Winning and Krakow. “[With David] it was like brothers reuniting. [This time around], we were a little bit more loose and free as far as our performances. You don’t have to hit your mark to get into perfect light as much, which is what you have to do [with steadicam work as we did on The Mistletoe Promise],” he explains.
“We had a wonderful Director of Photography [Tyler Walzak] who I ended up actually working for again and we had much more beautiful light, a little bit more crafted as far as making everybody look pretty. I just enjoy David so much. He’s really easy to be with and always open to ideas.”
“The big appeal was to work with Erin. We actually went to college [and] overlapped a year. So I didn’t actually know her that well when I was at school. But you know, once you’ve been through that, you kind of have a camaraderie. [Plus, there’s] who she is at the network, and [how] important [she is], so I was excited to be a part of that. She’s a pro and does her homework.”
Macfarlane gives Edward a wonderful bit of hesitancy early on that Ella eventually wears down, and he says he turned to a previous Edward for inspiration. “I couldn’t get Hugh Grant out of my head. He was my North star,” he laughs. “He was sort of what I was thinking of. [Edward] is comfortable around her and, she eventually makes him comfortable with the rest of his life.”
The film is very much an ensemble, and although he doesn’t share much screen time with Sustad, he hopes they’ll cross paths on another project. “[Ensembles] always take [the pressure] off and just frankly make for a more fun time on set,” he shares.
“Different personalities, different people to spend time with. I love [Kimberley]. Love her. I really, really, really did. She pulled me aside and said, ‘Let’s do something together.’ I have no idea how that works with Hallmark, but absolutely. She’s the real deal. She is fun. I enjoyed her a tremendous amount.”
As he’s discussed with us before, he loves his architecture, and the building used for the Ferris Wheel headquarters has a unique story. “It’s called the Marine Building and I think it was built in 1925. It was actually at one point, the tallest building in the whole dominion of Canada,” he says. “It was a customs building for import-export. It’s a gorgeous building right downtown near the Harbor.”
And that’s not the only set with an interesting backstory. It turns out there’s a tangential relationship to Nickelback in the house used for Edward’s home. “[Chad Kroeger] built this massive, massive house that he kind of never really lived in,” explains Macfarlane. “And in the basement of his house, there was enough room to park his touring van. That’s actually where the party was.”
Now that Macfarlane has become a familiar face in the Hallmark family, he’s getting recognized out in the world for those roles. He recounts a completely random but sweet instance that just happened in the most unlikely place.
“I’m a camper. I like to camp. I was in the Eastern Sierras. We had beautiful little bit of weather. I’m hiking up…and walking along the trail, and the first 20 miles, there’s still people that are just kind of day hiking,” he shares.
“And this lovely niece and aunt come up behind me. And she was like, ‘I knew it was you! I thought I saw you at the bottom of the trail.’ I didn’t know what she meant [and then] she said, ‘You’re in all our favorite Hallmark movies.'” “I thought, ‘Really? I’m in the middle of the woods.’ They were delighted and couldn’t have been nicer. They were both nurses who worked at a hospital.”
Lucky for us, Macfarlane has plans for more Hallmark projects, and he’s already filmed a Valentine title that we’ll see in February, starring alongside Bethany Joy Lenz. He’s looking forward to continuing his relationship with the networks. So are we!
Sense, Sensibility, and Snowmen premieres Sunday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in the US and next Saturday, the 7th at 7 pm E on W Network in Canada. You can catch the rest of Macfarlane’s holiday library — Christmas Land, The Mistletoe Promise, Maggie’s Christmas Miracle, and A Shoe Addict’s Christmas — through the end of the year. Click through the titles for US schedules. Here’s a sneak peek of the latest film, and his latest Home and Family interview.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of Crown Media.
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