[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Christmas comes earlier than ever this year on Hallmark Channel, which is a bit of a surprise given the pandemic interruptions, but once the networks had the all-clear to get back to work, they ramped up quickly, going back into production on a full slate of original films. One of the first back was Chateau Christmas, which filmed mid-summer on location in Whistler, British Columbia. It premieres Sunday night, and last week I chatted with Luke Macfarlane about the new film.
In it, Macfarlane plays Jackson, a cellist and music teacher who never really got over Margot (Merritt Patterson), the one that got away, and he’s drop-kicked down memory lane when she returns to town for a family Christmas at the lodge where he’s just been roped by BFF Adam (Jesse Hutch), the hotel’s PR director, into staging a Christmas concert in less than two weeks. Good thing she’s a classical pianist. What starts out as a mad scramble, begrudging team-up turns into a chance to clear the air and perhaps forgive and start over.
Macfarlane is himself a classically trained cellist, and his Instagram followers were treated to a beautiful snippet from one of his rehearsals before production began. He he hauled his personal cello to Canada, and plays it in the film.
“I had that 14-day quarantine, so I wanted my cello in my room with me so I’d have something to do. That was literally the impulse [to bring it]. The original script was having him play the violin, and I said, ‘Let’s change it.’ It was really fun to practice every day for 14 days. I cannot remember the last time [I did that].”
The film deftly balances the current love story against the long-ago romance between violinists Sam (Hrothgar Matthews) and Sarah (Suki Kaiser), who have a chance to revisit their own missed opportunity,. Macfarlane enjoyed that juxtaposition of arcs. “There is this theme in a lot of Hallmark movies where people who’ve come before us can inform the choices we make,” he says.
The cast is in many ways an ensemble, and with everyone housed together to keep them safe and meet safety protocols meant Macfarlane got to spend some quality time with his castmates. “Jesse is such a nice guy. He’s so earnest. I really liked him a lot. [Hrothgar Matthews] was my favorite. I got along really, really well with Merritt and we worked together most of the time. She was awesome,” he shares.
“There’s always this moment when you’re doing these Hallmark movies…my favorite days are when all the actors come together and all of a sudden you have people in your dressing room and you can talk [and hear] their stories. I love that. I love meeting other actors on set and we had really fun days. We filmed the whole thing essentially at the Fairmont Whistler.”
During the concert finale, Macfarlane found himself moved by the performance, a moment we see captured on film. “I love music. I really do. I’ve played the cello since I was a little kid. There was one moment when Merritt’s character is playing the piano. I remember they had this wonderful pianist, Karen Allred. She had written all the music and recorded this beautiful Christmas-themed [composition],” he recalls.
“I was listening to her play at the concert and it just hit me. I felt myself tearing up. Just that amazing moment where you [feel the] music. That was really maybe one of my favorite things. It was just also fun [to] sit around between takes and play cello and people [realized I could] actually play.”
“It was also such a privilege to work again. In COVID times, we were wondering how we’re going to do it [and] what was possible. I love [working]. I love being on set. I love talking to people. So that was very special.”
Christmas Chateau is Macfarlane’s 10th film for the networks, and he’s happy he’s been able to go back and forth between the holiday and non-holiday projects. “I like the Christmas ones cause they just have more eyes on them and that’s always [good], but the off-season ones are also nice because you’re not around [so much] garland and Christmas lights,” he laughs.
This is also Macfarlane’s third pairing with director Michael Robison, who directed Maggie’s Christmas Miracle and A Shoe Addict’s Christmas as well as an episode of Killjoys. “Working with him as many times [as we have] now, I’m very comfortable with him. He talks to me very openly,” he explains. “He’s an editor, so he’s always thinking about editing. He knows what he wants and depends on actors who know how to take care of themselves.”
Chateau Christmas premieres Sunday at 8 pm/7c on Hallmark Channel. Here are a couple of sneak peeks.
Photos and Video Courtesy of Crown Media.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
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 [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
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…