[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Andrew Walker returns to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Saturday night with Christmas On My Mind, his second Christmas movie of the season, following last month’s Merry & Bright on Hallmark Channel. In the new film, Walker co-stars with Hallmark first-timer Ashley Greene in an amnesia-themed romance.
In the film, directed by Maclain Nelson and adapted by Kirsten Hansen from The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter, Greene plays Lucy, a bride-to-be who wakes up from a concussion believing she’s still engaged to her first fiance, Zach (Walker), with no recollection of the previous two years or her current fiance, Brad (Clayton James).
Once a confused Lucy lands in her hometown and on Zach’s doorstep after bolting two years earlier, it’s up to him, her current BFF Anna (Donna Benedicto), who conveniently strikes up a friendship with Zach’s brother, Beau (Preston Vanderslice), and her family doctor, Dr. Albright (Jackée Harry) to help her put back the missing pieces. That also means Zach has to revisit why they split, which is super awkward for his current girlfriend, Morgan (Debs Howard).
Walker was excited to tackle two projects early in the season, especially with his second baby due any day now. Merry & Bright filmed several months ago in Winnipeg and was the actor’s fifth time working with director Gary Yates, who he credits with bringing him into the Hallmark fold from a most unlikely source.
“Gary hired me for Bride for Christmas [based on Steel Toes] an indie film that I was in. I love working with him. He’s always trying to get the most out of us and make the story the best it could possibly be,” he says. “And he [fosters] a really creative atmosphere on set and and conducts a ton of respect. He conducts the space and makes it a safe zone for us to create.”
Christmas on My Mind marks the first time Walker has worked with Greene. He says the casting is so important to how the Hallmark films come together and ultimately land, and he was thrilled with how easily they connected. “What’s great about Hallmark [and] what I love, is that it’s really a chemistry experiment. I have a sports background, so, you know, you could have the best team in the world, but the outcome isn’t exactly what you thought it was [going to be with] the talent that’s involved,” he shares.
“[Although] Ashley [was] a first-time Hallmarker, she was amazing. She brought the depth to [her] character in this. The dramatic side was great…that journey of the viewer being brought along as she pieces together her memory was a really cute, cute story.”
“The melting pot of people that were involved in it all [made the days fly]. It just felt like we started day one and then all of a sudden, we made [day] 15 just the next day. It’s gone by in a flash.”
“I’ve known [Ashley], but we haven’t really had a formal introduction. I’ve just known her through friends. So it was just nice to [finally work together and we were comfortable] immediately. We just showed up on set and it felt like we had known each other already. “
One of the mysteries within the mystery of Lucy’s memory lapse is what role Zach played in the end of their relationship, and Walker says it was tricky to find the right balance of letting that play out. “It was a challenge, to be honest, because I didn’t want people to think that [Zach] was just a dishonest person. We changed a little bit of that. I tried to soften [the reveal],” he explains.
“It was little bit more abrupt, I think, originally in the script. [I didn’t want him] being too cold about it. I needed to find a softness and have some emotion. It was fun to work through that with Ashley.”
Walker attended last month’s inaugural Christmas Con and had a ball meeting the fans. “It was amazing. I was floored with the turnout. I couldn’t believe how many people were there. Especially this time of year, you get these one off [encounters]…walking through the streets somewhere in Santa Monica and people will stop me, or at the mall, but when you go to a place like Christmas Con and you get a condensed group of people all in one room together that are avid Christmas movie watchers…it was very overwhelming,” he admits.
“There was so much love. These people are so passionate about what we’re doing and the stories that are being told. It was very emotional. I felt so supported, and that I was doing the right thing in my life. It was this reassurance that I was in the right place. I was very humbled by it all.”
You can catch also Walker talking about his own holiday memories in the special 12 Days ‘Til Christmas, which is now streaming. “I was able to really dive deep into some of the moments that have really affected me throughout the years at Christmas…the good, the bad, everything,” he says.
“It was really an incredible exercise. I felt like it was very similar to a sense memory class where [you put yourself in the memory of how things made you feel, like], ‘What did the air smell like and how did the snow taste when you were 12 years old?’ [and remembering things] my dad and I built together, [and] my mom’s hot chocolate recipe.”
Christmas on My Mind premieres Saturday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Here’s a sneak peek. You can also catch reruns of Merry & Bright and the rest of Walker’s holiday library through the end of the year.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of Crown Media.
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