[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
A Magical Christmas Village kicks off this weekend’s Countdown to Christmas programming on Hallmark Channel with a new holiday romcom starring Alison Sweeney, Marlo Thomas, Luke Macfarlane, and Maesa Nicholson. [If you missed it, you can see my 1:1 conversation with Sweeney here.]
Fresh off his whirlwind European and Australian press tour for Bros, Macfarlane took the time to chat with me this week about his feature film debut and his latest, but hopefully not last, Hallmark project. More on that later.
In A Magical Christmas Village, Macfarlane plays Ryan, a civil engineer who’s visiting family for the holidays when he finds himself making surprising, braver choices in a new friendship with Summer (Sweeney), thanks to her daughter, Chloe (Nicholson), wishing upon a magical Christmas village figurine set owned by her grandmother, Vivian (Thomas).
Mcfarlane says it was important to play the role in a way that demonstrated free will as his character responded to the universe’s nudges. “I think it’s very important that our characters, especially in the love story, have free will. I actually mentioned this today in my interview on social live that, in Lincoln’s second inaugural, he talks about the better angels of our conscience. They’re there, but they’re kind of quieted by the way we’re in our own way,” he explains.
“I think Ryan is operating in a self-guided way where he’s not listening to what the angels, or this magic, has to say. It’s less that he’s not acting on free will and more that he’s had the volume turned up on what is inevitable in his life. It was fun to play it like he was checking in with his gut [in his decision-making].”
He also enjoyed playing an adult love story. “They’re two people who have thought that their lives had been set up a certain way, that that was all they were going to get, and who really enjoy each other,” he shares.
“This concept of two adults meeting is very different from two young people meeting and tumbling over each other and [these new] feelings. Ryan and Summer feel very deeply for each other. They [already] have lives and stuff to deal with, but they can also just really enjoy spending time with each other.”
“One of the things that I wanted to make clear was that Ryan was kind of a funny character and that he was this combination of being a free spirit, but also very practical in his life. He had a bit of a wanderlust quality to him, moving around a lot for work.”
“He also had this very particular nature about himself and the way he likes to do things. He’s a list guy. I came to figure out that he thought he knew how to be alone and he was very comfortable being alone and could be alone wherever he wanted to [until he realized he could make room for someone else].”
Macfarlane doesn’t share much screen time with Thomas, but loved spending time with her on set. “The thing that actually most resonated for me was Free to Be…You & Me, which I discovered much later because it was slightly before my time. It is so incredibly seminal and also feels so relevant. I went back and watched some of the skits. It was so ahead of its time,” he says.
“She’s definitely the only actress I’ve ever worked with who has a Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was pretty amazing. But she’s also so down to earth, so willing and open, and just down for a hang, which you never know, especially with working with such an icon. You treat them with a certain reverence and distance because you never know.”
“She was always cool for a hang, to sit there, very open and chatty. She had ideas about the scene. I really, really, really enjoyed her. “I was chatting with her about opportunities and she said, ‘The only roles I get are where I’m dying or I have a terrible relationship with somebody. I just wanted to do something happy.’”
One of the fun things in Bros is a throughline wink-nod to the movies of Hallheart, a Hallmark-esque network. Macfarlane credits the film’s co-writer and co-star, Billy Eichner, with nimbly adjusting that arc as real-world Hallmark took steps to make its slate more inclusive.
“In the first draft of Bros, Hallheart was very different. The jokes were about it not being inclusive,” he recalls. “And by the time we shot the movie, [it was rewritten that] Hallheart had showed the world, ‘Oh no, we can do this,’ so all the [original] jokes weren’t relevant anymore. And Billy being an astute observer, said, ‘We have to change these jokes.’ Then Hallheart was able to make a joke about a [title called] Holly Poly Christmas about polyamory.”
While Macfarlane was doing press for Bros, he was often asked about his future with Hallmark, given that his formal contract with the networks concluded with A Magical Christmas Village. He wants the Hallmarkies to know, full stop, that he very much hopes the relationship continues.
“One thing that I’ve come to really appreciate about Hallmark is its reach and how deeply it connects with people,” he shares. “I always, always, always want to be part of that. It’s a part of my career that I feel is really unique and I’m really proud of. And I hope that they will continue to have me come and make movies with them.”
A Magical Christmas Village premieres at 8 pm/7c Friday on Hallmark Channel in the US and W Network in Canada. Here’s a peek behind the scenes. All of Macfarlane’s other holiday films are also in rotation again. In case you missed it, I cover them here.
Photos and video courtesy of Hallmark Media.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Thank Me Later: Will Trent
[Warning: spoilers ahead.] I’m on record as loving and losing shows over at ABC so I’m usually very reticent to pick something up on the network until it’s been renewed, and I seriously hope I’m not jinxing it, but I took a chance on the deeply odd and very sweet…
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
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…
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…
Leave a Reply