Andrew Walker Talks Three Wise Men and a Baby and A Maple Valley Christmas
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
As we covered over here, Three Wise Men and a Baby was a no good, very bad, terrible time for all involved. And also, that’s a lie. I jumped on the phone this week with Andrew Walker to corroborate Paul Campbell’s story of the madcap shenanigans unleashed in the service of bringing you a delightful holiday comedy.
In the film, Walker and Campbell are two of three brothers–the third is Tyler Hynes, Walker’s real-life cousin-in-law–tasked with caring for a baby whose mom left him at the firehouse of Walker’s character, Luke, the week before Christmas.
It’s one of two Christmas movies for Walker this season. Earlier this month, he was over on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries in A Maple Valley Christmas. We’ll get to that one in a minute.
For Three Wise Men and a Baby, Walker felt incredibly fortunate to go to “work” on such a fun, and familial, project. “It was a blessing. This movie was highly anticipated by myself and the fans. It was definitely a movie that I had been wanting to work on and two guys that I wanted to work with for so long,” he shares.
“To have this opportunity, with the script the way it was, is so special. It is such a great story. It’s so funny. It’s got tons of heart to it. We spent all of our lunch hours together. We spent every moment that we could spend together, always for the greater good of the movie.”
“We were always working to problem solve if there was an issue, if there was something that just didn’t fully make sense to us, or if there was a joke that we wanted to make better, or a moment or beats or whatever relationship thing between us as brothers and our family, we just kept on trying to collaborate.”
“There were no egos involved, which was such a beautiful thing. And [it was] really surreal to have finished it and to walk away feeling the way that I feel about these guys and the movie. I’m so proud of it, really proud of the work, and really proud of what we accomplished.”
Aside from the hijinks–and there are plenty–the story also explores how the brothers did or didn’t recover from their father leaving. While Luke initially comes across as the most together of the trio, we see that he felt the change of their family dynamic most acutely. “I love when [we] start to discover the reason behind their dysfunction as brothers and what it really is, because you don’t really hear it until about a third or even halfway through the movie where it starts unraveling a little bit,” he explains.
“My family, my upbringing was incredible. I had a really great upbringing, [but] this movie is very, very familiar to me in that my family never really talked about stuff. It was always swept under the rug, so I liked going down that road and [recognizing that] this happens with a lot of families. They just don’t want to talk about the thing or the couple of things that were the elephant in the room for so many years. This was very true to what people go through.”
As for super-fun homegrown social media campaign, he explains, “We have a writer and a filmmaker on set. And so this is how we spend our free time, creating content.”
Walker hopes to join Campbell and Hynes for the RomaDrama screening in a couple of weeks, timing that coincides with filming on a new installment of Curious Caterer in Vancouver, so it will be dependent on scheduling. “I’m hoping [to come] because in Hallmark, you never really get the opportunity to sit there and watch a movie with all your fans,” he points out.
Walker is excited to pick Curious Caterer back up again. “Having an opportunity to spend a little more time with [a] character is an actor’s dream. I very rarely get the opportunity to keep exploring and to keep going deeper into who the character is. Especially with Nikki [DeLoach], because she’s such an amazing collaborator and we have the same work ethic and we we approach all of our movies and our scripts pretty much the same way. We’re working together with one of her coaches actually on this next one, called Grilling Season.”
“I felt like I barely scratched the surface on who Detective Tom Shultz is. Now that I have one under my belt, I have a blueprint of who this guy is [and can] go deeper into the things that make him tick and the people, the relationships around him, and how he treats certain people in his life in this new town that he’s in. It’s gonna be fun.”
Walker’s other Christmas movie, A Maple Valley Christmas, was a more serious affair. “They were pretty much on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Maple Valley was, on paper, more of a traditional Hallmark movie. But when you get into the nitty gritty of it, what interested me in this movie was the father-son relationship because I felt like I was the voice of all the guys out there in the world who never lived up to their father’s expectations,” he explains.
“I think that it’s something that a lot of guys go through, a lot of kids go through, so that relationship was really interesting to me to play out. And the other [draw] was how quickly these two people fall in love in this really deep, passionate love story. It was this undeniable connection from the minute they met each other, unlike other Hallmark movies that I’ve done where it’s a little bit more of a slow burn.”
“This was love at first sight. And to be able to explore that a little bit more was a lot of fun for me. And to do it with Peyton List, too, was so great. She’s a new face to Hallmark, and she brought something really fresh and, unassuming, and she has this mysterious thing about her, too, which was really fun to play with.”
Last April, Walker was one of the first Hallmark stars to be announced with a multi-picture deal at Hallmark Media and he’s immensely grateful for his longevity with the networks and their vote of confidence to continue developing projects with him. “I’ve done these movies for so many years, it’s been ten years now, I think, and 25 movies in, and as much as I loved doing these movies, I never realized how the network would develop to where it is today,” he says.
“It needed these incredibly talented women at the helm now who are so passionate about these stories and open to diversity and broader storylines and contrasting stories, whether it be comedy or dramatic piece…Here we are now in this whole new era of Hallmark and people are obviously responding to it.”
“As an actor for the network, I just feel like I somehow arrived at this point in my career where I have this bit of tenure now, and I’ve done enough movies for them that I feel like I can have creative input when I’m on set without feeling like I’m potentially speaking up where I shouldn’t be.”
“I’m collaborating with producers and directors on set, where, if this was a network television show, if I’m not a name guy, I wouldn’t have the ability to do this. Hallmark has allowed me to be in this safe, creative bubble, and have the confidence to continue to hone my craft, and do it for a network that I really know and that I’m really passionate about. They’re doing everything under the sun.”
“We’re just telling real stories and I feel very fortunate to cap the year with Christmas Con and RomaDrama. It’s the cherry on top because we do these movies for the fans, because they are escape movies for fans. They’re movies that really can bring the family together around the television.”
“I always compare these Hallmark movies to Disney movies when I was a kid. We would go to church in the morning, we’d come home, I’d go play football or go play with my friends or ride my bike around. And then evening time would hit, we’d have microwave dinners on our tray tables and watch a Herbie movie or a Disney cartoon. And we’re all sitting there as a family watching these family-friendly movies. And this is what Hallmark is.”
“I watched Maple Valley Christmas with my son. We watched it together. He had a bunch of questions. I obviously covered his eyes during the kiss because he still doesn’t understand. Meanwhile my wife is critiquing the kiss,” he laughs. “What a perfect situation that I get to watch my movies now that I do with my kids and my wife.”
“And to have this face to face interaction with fans is so unique and inspiring and just makes us want to go back to work and do our jobs even better.”
A Maple Valley Christmas is running now through the holidays on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Three Wise Men and Baby premieres Saturday at 8 pm/7c on Hallmark Channel in the US and W Network in Canada. In case you missed it, my chat with Paul Campbell is here.
And for Walker’s longtime fans like me who remember his pre-Hallmark library, Tubi TV has some of his cheesy fun Lifetime movies streaming for free, and the thriller feature film, Bonded in Blood, which he co-produced and stars in and we spoke about here back in 2016.
Here’s Hallmark Channel’s Facebook Live with the the three wise men!
Photos courtesy of Hallmark Media.
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