[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Hallmark Channel continues its Summer Nights travelog programming this Sunday with Moriah’s Lighthouse, set in a small French seaside village and starring Rachelle Lefevre and our fave, Luke Macfarlane. I caught up with him last week to chat about the film.
Based on the book by Serena B. Miller, the movie was written by Hallmarkie Paul Campbell & Terrence Cunningham, who executive produce alongside Leif Bristow, and directed by Stefan Scaini. The titular Moriah (Lefevre) is a woodworking artisan in the small French village that’s been home to her family for several generations. Her aspiration is to buy and restore the former family home adjacent to the lighthouse, which has fallen into disrepair since the lighthouse was decommissioned years earlier.
American Ben (Macfarlane) is an architect who arrives in town and is supremely awkward at getting the lay of the land, which initially irritates Moriah. When it comes to light that he’s there for a project that could potentially quash her long held dream, her irritation turns to heartbreak.
That is until they compromise on a solution that gives them an opportunity to spend a significant amount of time together on something they both love and mix a little romance into their work venture, a sentiment that carries over to Moriah’s Aunt Catherine (Valéria Cavalli), and Ben’s client, Nicholas (Serge Dupire).
The production took Macfarlane to Brittany, France. “It was a very international crew. Our amazing producers drove around looking for the perfect locations, and perfect locations that look great on camera don’t always make for having [conveniences] like finding a grocery store. We were in a beautiful seaside town where it was hard to find a meal that wasn’t two-star gastro French cuisine, and sometimes after a long day of filming, you just want a protein bar,” he laughs.
“I will say one of my biggest struggles was I am not a French speaker and so what I really missed on this project was that fun camaraderie that you can find with crew members, especially outside of your department. I love hearing everybody’s story, but it’s sometimes hard to dig a little bit under the surface if you can’t speak their language as well as you want to.”
Weather was also sometimes a challenge as the crew had to battle storms now and again–and occasionally, the tides, which played into a pivotal ferry scene. “Any film you jump on board with, you’re going to solve the problem of the day and there’s always a problem of the day, whether that is weather or location or a prop breaks or something like that,” he explains.
“I love that challenge. I love being part of the team to help solve the problem. That is part of the fun of filmmaking. I love that [ferry] scene. We got so lucky with the access to that ferry boat and to be able to do that. It’s discussed in the movie. The tides are a real thing there. They go in and out so extreme, so we only had one pass before the tide would go out so much that we wouldn’t be able to do the shot.”
As a woodworker himself, Macfarlane appreciated that aspect of the project, and getting to wander through the old lighthouse residence and woodworking shop and at one point chiming in with the proper terminology.
Macfarlane is also a history buff, and enjoyed the history of the lighthouse. “The thing I remember about the lighthouse the most was that it was built the year that the American Civil War was happening. And I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, while they were building this lighthouse, America was tearing itself apart,'” he recalls. “I remember mentioning that to someone and they said, ‘That’s a weird thing to think about.'”
The film marked the first time Macfarlane had worked with Lefevre, and it was her first Hallmark project. “She’s an incredibly experienced actor and she’s worked a ton, so she knows her way around a set and she knows how to ask for what she needs to do the best job,” he says. “I would always joke with her because she knew the best place to be for the light.”
“I remember feeling very assured and confident, working with someone like Rachelle, who just really knows what she’s doing. It’s always really comforting as an actor to be in a scene with somebody where you trust them. And the day that we sat in front of the fireplace and had this whole chit chat with the fire in the back of us, there was not a lot of time.”
“I just remember feeling so confident that she was going to listen to me and that we were going to be able to do this in the very limited time we had and I stepped away from that scene feeling really grateful that I got to work with somebody that was so generous and open. I felt so comfortable with her.”
Next up for Macfarlane is the September 30th theatrical release of Bros, which dropped its first NSFW trailer in May, and he’s now at work on a comedy for Apple TV+ called Platonic, where he plays Rose Byrne’s husband. The series, written and directed by Bros director Nick Stoller, follows the platonic friendship of Sylvia (Byrne) and Will (Seth Rogen), former childhood best friends who reconnect as adults after an estrangement and find their rekindled friendship upending their lives and making them question their life choices.
Photos courtesy of Crown Media and video courtesy of Crown Media and L.J. Emory Publishing.
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