Kimberley Sustad Talks Inclusivity in Wedding Every Weekend and Filming During a Pandemic [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Hallmark Channel gets with the times in a big way this weekend with the premiere of Wedding Every Weekend, which features four weddings (no funeral), including two that represent Black Lives Matter and one with two brides. We love this progress!
The film stars Hallmarkies faves Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell as Brooke and Nate, who meet cute in a housewares store and then realize they have multiple friends–and weddings–in common so they take the stress out of the whole plus one/singles table drama of weddings by pairing up as wedding buddies. They also work out a barter system when they have the opportunity to help each other professionally. I chatted with Sustad earlier today about the movie, which was the first in Vancouver to go back into production this summer in the new world of COVID-19 restrictions.
Sustad has led two Christmas movies–2014’s Nine Lives of Christmas (which is on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Friday at 8 pm ET) and 2018’s A Godwink Christmas, which also co-starred Campbell. In the intervening years, she popped up as a supporting character in a few of the Mystery Wheel franchises on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. She also banked a recurring role on Canadian series The Romeo Section.
Beginning in 2018, she went on a run of back-to-back projects, following A Godwink Christmas with a role in Canadian series Unspeakable, a recurring role in the final season of Netflix’s Travelers, and as one of the quartet in last Christmas’s Sense, Sensibility, and Snowmen. And then COVID-19 put the industry on hold.
Sustad originally got the script from Julie Sherman Wolfe (Birthday Wish) back in March, and when she saw how much representation and inclusivity it included, she was thrilled. “[Our characters are] America. This is Canada. And this is every town, every nook and cranny, no matter what your beliefs are, this is representative of us all,” she says.
“And that is my belief and passion, that everybody has visibility in that sense. And so I couldn’t be prouder of Hallmark for taking that leap in really what feels to be a bipolar country right now. It’s just so divisive and it could look like a really scary time for them to do that. It feels like everybody’s screaming and at each other’s throats and they just did the right thing.”
“And so I praise and I stand behind people who are courageous and brave and just saying, ‘Look, this is what all of our families look like. This is who we are as humans.’ If you peel back any cover of anybody’s life…this is the reality of it. And of course it’s still Hallmark. They’re not going to the depths of humanity. But here we are, and it’s a start. And I love it.”
She’s seen that evolution firsthand as an actor with a long relationship with the network. When she did A Bride for Christmas eight years ago and played Arielle Kebbel’s sister, her character was gay in the script but it was toned down in the final film. “That was written in and then sort of covered up as we went into production,” she recalls.
“I was supposed to have my partner who was supposed to come for the last scene, but then they [said], ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ They were going back and forth at that time. And then they went real silent on it. And now we’re back full throttle. So that’s great. That’s really awesome.”
Keeping everyone safe on set was the top priority, and Sustad says they had a lot of industry attention because they were the first ones back. Things ran smoothly with only a couple of production days added. The all-BC cast (including Hallmarkies familiar faces Peter Benson, Geoff Gustafson, and Malcolm Stewart) and crew meant no quarantines and it was a bonus proving ground for the Canadian TV and film industry.
“They were really well prepared. Every department head had a COVID certificate. They took a thorough course of how to lead your team and follow the procedures that are specific to your job,” she points out.
“And everyone did really well. The first week was a little hairy because it’s such an intimate setting. We are all really on top of each other. You’re in a house and you’re doing a scene and you’ve got your boom operator right next to you and you’ve got a camera B camera right in your face. And everybody [is] standing there and trying to stand really still and not breathe.”
“We moved a lot of scenes that might get us in trouble outside. So you’ll notice that even the weddings are in big, expansive places. They limited crowd scenes. I think they did a bit of CGI and a bit of other movie magic to make it look like there was a bigger crowd than there really was. As soon as [we were done], people put their masks back on and they just worked frame by frame.”
“We had a COVID person on set making sure everybody’s following protocol so that if anything wasn’t going the way that it should [they could correct it]. And then by the second week, everybody chilled out [and] we all kind of settled into our job, but there was definitely a juggle that [took some] getting used to. And I think every set will feel that way.”
The film is a nice balance of comedy and drama, and in addition to marking a reunion with Campbell, it’s also a reunion with director Kevin Fair, who directed her Morning Show Mysteries and Emma Fielding installments. That shorthand helped. “We had a rhythm [and] a history. [Kevin] has such a great dry sense of humor. When they told me that he was going to be directing, I thought it was perfect because this movie has a lot of humor in it. And he’s pretty good at riding the line of what Hallmark is looking for,” she says.
“Working with Paul again is a dream. We play so well together. When we did [Godwink], it was such a sentimental script. On set, we were always joking around and having a fun time and laughing so much that this kind of a script [is] what we were always hoping for [so we were excited to] be able to play with and go for it.”
“She starts out in this safe world that she’s kind of curated for herself and we see right off the bat that it’s not enough; she wants to go for the dream, but is too fearful. She’s in a safe relationship, she’s at the safe clinic. She’s doing her nine to five, but just feeling like there’s more. And then of course she goes and takes the leap [and] literally the roof falls in.”
“You get hit with those kinds of obstacles and then it feels like everything’s telling you, that’s not the way, but actually it’s telling you that you’re right on track. I love that about the script and it made me feel connected to Brooke that way.”
Next up, Sustad will be back on set for the Supernatural finale, which will pick up its final six days of shooting. “We go back next week. I had started on their final episode right before the shutdown. [Now, I’m] watching them negotiate [and] navigate stories in this first week of prep because they’re a large production,” she shares. “It’s great. And it’s a really fun role.”
Sustad recently shared with Bubbly Sesh that fan favorite Nine Lives of Christmas is getting a sequel, but the timing is fluid given the state of the industry right now (and Brandon Routh is a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow).
“We’re excited about it and it’s deep, deep in development and hopefully we’ll be coming to people soon. It’s a very similar [production] team. Jim Head is still producing and there are some people that aren’t [returning as they’re not] in the Hallmark world anymore, but I think it’s going to be good.”
“It will go in a similar direction that Hallmark is leaning towards as well [which is fun] because [the first one] was sort of groundbreaking at that time, in the sense of what was written, what we said, and the humor.”
Wedding Every Weekend premieres Saturday, August 15th, at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Channel. Here’s a sneak peek.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of Crown Media.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People, which US audiences still have not been able…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…