Lucas Bryant Talks Time for You to Come Home for Christmas [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Next year will be our 10th year at TV Goodness, and one of the shows we leaned way into in our early years was Syfy’s Haven. We loved the show and its trio of leads, Lucas Bryant, Emily Rose, and Eric Balfour. Bryant gifted us with two Hallmark movies toward the end of Haven‘s, Tulips in Spring and Summer Love, back in 2016.
After a three-year gap (during which I have whined repeatedly behind the scenes that we needed him back), he returns to Hallmark Sunday night, starring opposite Alison Sweeney in Time for You to Come Home for Christmas, so of course I had to get him on the phone to catch up.
It’s so good, y’all. A follow-on film, in name only, to last Christmas’s Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas, the new film stars Sweeney as Kat, a widowed single mom who finally makes her way home for the holidays for the first time since the death of her husband two years earlier. She and her son, Will (Kiefer O’Reilly), take the train and strike up a friendship with Jack (Bryant), who’s on his way there, too, for a mystery purpose that unfolds over the course of the film.
Bryant says the film segued from another Hallmark project, Country at Heart, which was postponed from its original fall launch to 2020. He’s proud of both projects, which have the shared bonus of letting him show off his musical skills.
“That happened out of nowhere but was a real blast to shoot because I got to play a country music star and I got to play guitar and sing, which was wild. We had a really good time shooting that one and I think what we did is awesome. [Niall Matter and Jessy Schram are] fantastic. And the script was fantastic. I mean everything about it was awesome,” he shares. [Update: Country at Heart premieres Saturday, October 3rd, at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Channel and W Network in Canada. My interviews with Jessy Schram and Niall Matter are here.]
“I’ve always played music. I played piano and guitar as a kid and as a teenager…never enough to blow anyone’s mind but it’s my own fun. I went to theater school for musical theater. I’ve been a song and dance man.”
While on Haven, Bryant says they tried to get a musical episode off the ground but the idea never gained any traction. “I pushed every single year. I don’t know if there was some challenge. There were people that were really on board for that. But I think there must’ve been a number of, or at least one, very powerful person that that wasn’t [so] they said no,” he recalls.
“Emily and Eric and I, we all play and sing, and so we were doing little concerts, little shows in the town, in Chester, Nova Scotia, where we were shooting and were always sending footage and arrangements to the writers and producers in hopes of kicking off our musical episode. [One idea was that] could be someone’s Trouble [that we’re all breaking into song]. We talked about a number of possibilities, but no.”
Time for You to Come Home for Christmas followed closely after Country at Heart, which filmed early this fall, wrapped production. “[This] just turned around pretty quickly after that one. There was talk about the possibility of doing [another project that] maybe also involved some singing and playing and I said, ‘Yes, by all means,’” he shares.
“[Alison] is a total pro and a lovely human being. A good friend of mine had worked with her for a number of years, so I got all the inside scoop from him and we totally hit it off.”
“I was attracted to [the idea that] there was an element of mystery to it. We didn’t exactly know where [Jack] was coming from and why. And it was just a simple, heartfelt, lovely story. Alison and I had both endeavored to keep it as real as possible. I think the thing that is attractive [about these] movies is the heart and the human story.”
“Sometimes, if it’s just a [happy-go-lucky] Christmas story, some of that can be lost, so, we just tried to keep going back to the simple, family connection. What was impressive to me about the script, initially, was that it was not trying terribly hard to do much of anything except for tell this woman’s story in a simple way. And I think we did that.”
Bryant also appreciated the familial element of Jack bonding not only with Kat, but her son, Will, too. “I really liked that aspect of the script and story. In general, I love working with kids or younger actors, but there was something really nice about the character of Jack needing to develop a relationship with her son, but that there was nothing forced or pushed about it,” he explains. [They] seem to have an easy rapport and that essentially made it easier for [Kat] to accept the possibility of them coming together.”
Earlier this year, Bryant had an arc on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and says it was a fantastic experience. “That was a blast. First of all, it’s an awesome show that has been going on for a while and has tons of fans, for good reason. It shoots here in LA [where I live], which is a lovely departure from [working away from home]. So that was a beautiful thing to do,” he shares.
“We were so spoiled on Haven to have such a great community around the show, really fantastic friends, all the actors and crew and production. It was just a really incredible family that we developed over a number of years out in that weird place in Nova Scotia.”
“[Since then], I have learned not expect that necessarily on other projects. And my experience immediately on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was that they have also created something really warm and welcoming and loving and a beautiful family that they’ve got going on. I was really, really lucky to be welcomed there.”
You can also catch Bryant on Amazon Prime in 7 Days to Vegas, a road movie comedy that’s the directorial debut of Balfour. “It’s a complete mystery how he actually did it. Obviously, Mr. Balfour is a talented person. We have all witnessed and experienced that. But, what an amazing director,” says Bryant.
“He really blew my mind. He didn’t have a giant budget for that project, but he really, really impressed me with what he was able to do and in a super short time with limited resources and a smile on his face the whole time, just total pro.”
“First of all, to get to do some comedy…I’m very happy to do, any opportunity I get. It was a real departure from the TV stuff I’ve been doing. [My] character is a movie star who has made some poor life choices and is battling to try and come back from some of those.”
In the Season 3 premiere of Private Eyes, which has yet to air in the US on ION, Bryant revisited some of the Haven family. “Any time I can [guest on that show], I will. [It was] a total mini Haven reunion with [showrunner] Shawn Piller and Mr. Jason Priestley and Colin Ferguson and Laura Vandervoort,” he says. “I just spoke to Shawn the other day actually and told him I need my fix again to bring me back into that fold. I’m happy to be there.”
Time for You to Come Home for Christmas premieres Sunday night at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Here’s a sneak peek. In case you missed it, my chat with Alison Sweeney about the film is here.
Photos and Video Courtesy of Crown Media.
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