[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Cameron Mathison has had a busy few months. He wrapped up a five-year stint as the co-host of Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family, which aired its final episode this week; headed to Vancouver to film the first (of hopefully many) Hannah Swensen Mysteries; returned to the world of soap operas to join the cast of ABC’s daytime drama, General Hospital; and then enjoyed a dream family vacation in Greece (which he shared on Instagram). I caught up with him last week to chat.
Mathison was disappointed with the cancellation of Home and Family but deeply appreciative of his time on the daily series. “It was a heartbreak. It was really a full-time gig. We shot a two-hour show every day with 11 different segments. There’s a lot of prep and work and long days and just the best group of people and the most incredible job,” he shares.
“It was tough when I heard that they were going to cancel it. I was very surprised. We had a little bit of an indication because they had scaled it back to three days a week instead of five. And we had all these little red flags, but still it was a gut punch. I hadn’t really been gut punched like that since All My Children got canceled.”
He’s excited to dive back into the soap world and exercise those muscles again. “It brought back feelings like what I started on AMC back in 1997. Walking in the hall on my first day of GH. I had these little flashbacks like the experience when I moved from Canada for All My Children. It’s pretty cool,” he says. “GH is an iconic show with an incredible amount of talent. I go in humbly and very grateful. I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Mathison was thrilled when he got the call from Alison Sweeney that Murder She Baked was being rebooted as Hannah Swensen Mysteries. “I was so happy. The number one thing I hear from Hallmark fans is, ‘When are you going to make more of those Hannah Swensen movies?'” he laughs. “A lot of people are going to be really excited about this, especially when they see how great of a movie it is.”
“We just picked up right where we left off. Ali had been shooting about two or three days without me. And when I got there, I literally just kind of stepped right back into it. It was a fun scene in the bakery and I was eating cookies and having fun and right away, it just felt right.”
“In the script, I was just supposed to sort of taste test the cookies. I feel like Mike is truly enthusiastic about Hannah baking and I personally don’t eat a lot of cookies and stuff like that, but in that scene, it made more sense that Mike would scarf down these cookies and love them and be crazy about them to show that he’s crazy about Hannah and what she does. It was the first scene that we shot and it brought back a lot of the nostalgia.”
“I had quarantined for two weeks so I hadn’t had any social interaction, and I walked on set and Ali’s kind of producing and she’s getting ready for the scene and we’re barely even running lines and everybody’s all over the place and I just kinda grabbed her for a second. I was like, ‘Hi! Hi! We’re back!’ and then she remembered I hadn’t been on set for the last few days. We just had a really fun connection.”
The new film begins six months into Mike and Hannah’s engagement, and while the earlier movies focused on Mike’s reticence to have Hannah involved in his cases, the dynamic is different now. “One of the big turning points in this movie is that Mike has embraced Hannah’s contribution, recognizing her great value [to solving his cases],” he explains.
“Even from an acting point of view, I think it was nice not to have to continue to play that beat because that’d been going on for a while. And I think he really would have shifted from that and accepted her and then been comfortable with her. They’re still going to look out for each other and he’s still going to jump in if she gets in trouble, but it’s nice for the audience to get a different dynamic in that way.”
“That’s fun and at the same time, there are still a few little hurdles and a bit of friction with their take on the upcoming wedding. He thinks he knows what she wants and also feels like it’s moving along a little quick. So there are definitely still challenges for the two of them to get through, but not in the way there used to be, so it’s kind of cool.”
In the film, we meet Hannah’s sister, Michelle (Tess Atkins), for the first time, but she’s already met Mike, so there’s a ready-made friendliness between the characters. “It’s definitely fun to explore more family and more family dynamics, especially when they’re authentic to the [original] story,” says Mathison.
“The more, the better as far as family goes. And it just adds more challenges and excitement and fun for everybody involved. Barbara [Niven] is wonderful [in this one]. She’s one of my favorite people in the whole world and I love that [Dolores] has got a really big story point in the movie. It’s one of the highlights I think people will take away from it.”
Sweet Revenge: A Hannah Swensen Mystery premieres Sunday at 9 pm/8c following a daylong marathon of Murder She Baked. Here’s a sneak peek, and all our Murder She Baked coverage, and a new interview with Ali Sweeney, is here.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of Crown Media.
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