[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Readers who’ve been with us since the jump (love you, appreciate you) know that we were all in on Haven from day one and that I’ve been yelling loud and long in the intervening years since it concluded that we needed more Lucas Bryant on our screens. Hallmark’s been kind enough to oblige (but could step it up if I’m being honest) and this Saturday, funnily enough seven years to the day Haven ended, he’s back in a second iteration of last year’s Five More Minutes called Moments Like These.
Ashley Williams stars as Kaitlyn, a single widowed mother who’s rattled by a pre-winter-break assessment from her son’s teacher just before the holidays. Told that he’s withdrawn and keeping to himself, she decides to take up her sister-in-law’s invitation to come back to the small Colorado town she called home until the death of her husband four years earlier. Reuniting with his family and returning to her former home surfaces mixed emotions about the choice she made to start fresh in LA. She’s also mulling a fantastic career opportunity that would uproot them again.
And then she meets Matthew (Bryant), who played football with her late husband, Brian (Lane Edwards). in high school and is now back in town working as a contractor for Jamie (Mark Humphrey), a local developer. Their meet cute in the park takes a couple of unexpected turns, including one that throws them together to help get her house ready to sell when it’s revealed that Jamie wants to make her an offer.
Their new friendship cascades out to her son, Adam (Brady Droulis), who also makes a few new and old friends and is moved to get involved in the community. Soon, mother and son take a leap as their Christmas wishes manifest in magical ways. Kevin Fair directs a script by Kelly Fullerton.
The film marks the first project for Bryant since The Angel Tree in 2020, after which he and his family temporarily relocated to Australia for a year and a half during the height of the pandemic. So I of course had to grab him to chat about the new movie, which pairs him in multilayered scenes not just with Williams and Droulis, but also Humphrey.
With Williams, he tapped into a similar vibe that Benjamin Ayres and Taylor Cole found in their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries outing, Long Lost Christmas, threading humor into the story–no surprise since they’re both inherently fantastic comedic performers. .
“I hope that the humor was there because Ashley is hilarious, as I quickly found out. I hadn’t worked with her before, but I was told that I was gonna have a great time with her. And that was absolutely true. She’s really stupidly funny and super emotionally available and capable as well. So she can play every possible note you could want from an actress. And she got to do a little bit of all of that in this. So that was really fun,” he shares..
“We hit it off and we definitely wanted to lean into whatever humor we could…walk the line and maintain that necessary emotional gravitas when it was needed. And I think she did an incredible job with that. And our director, Kevin Fair, was fantastic at letting us know when he wanted or needed more or less humor and just finding a way to tell that story in the best way possible. Be funny when we could be, and still maintain the heart necessary for the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries elements.”
The film also allowed for an adult relationship. “I really liked that element. His response [to an awkward interaction] is, ‘I think we should talk about it. Let’s just talk about it.’ And she’s not really able to, but they do. It is a really adult relationship, where neither of them are hiding things from each other and they’re [open and honest with each other], and that thankfully works,” he points out.
“I like that they both provided a catalyst for growth for each other. I think he’s hoping and wishing, obviously, that things can and will be something more with her, but that seems sort of impossible at a certain point. She has turned him on in new ways to being brave and going big and seizing opportunities. It was interesting to navigate.”
“Anytime that I got to play with Ashley was super fun to mess around with. When we meet and we’re sort of playful with each other it was really fun. But then sitting on the porch swing and sipping hot chocolate and getting close, but then it doesn’t work out, was the other extreme of that relationship. I loved it all.”
Bryant loved the scenes between Matthew and Adam, and working with Droulis. “That was such a great relationship. He was such a lovely young actor and so fun to have on set and brought such great energy. It was one of his first big roles like that, and first time doing a big role like that for a Hallmark movie. That relationship was super easy because he and I got along really well. And we both loved to play and we could play together. I had someone my own age to hang out with,” he laughs. “Playing football was pretty great because they just let us go run around like idiots in the fake snow.”
Bryant discovered during filming that he and director Kevin Fair had a Canadian connection. “[He] actually grew up in a town that’s 20 minutes from where I grew up. so we went and swam in the same creeks and lakes as kids and bonded right off the bat,” he shares. “He was really, really funny and fun to work with. Gave me a hard time all the time, which I really appreciate. Really every day was pretty darn good.”
The film also allows Matthew and Jamie to have a couple of “real talk” scenes as Jamie makes a tantalizing offer and Matthew has to call him out for a bad business decision. “I didn’t know Mark before this. And again, he and I hit it off really well,” Bryant explains.
“I absolutely love that guy. He is a wonderful, wonderful man and he was really fun to play with, and I thought it was super cool that his character, I guess, stereotypically could be the jerk, but this guy has a heart and he may not show it, but Matthew sees it. So that was something that I tried to bring to any interaction that we had. As much as he was my boss or a businessman, I knew that under his bluster he was a bit of a softie and thankfully he let that in.”
If you’re one of the Hallmarkies like us still hoping to see Bryant reunite with Niall Matter and Jessy Schram for another installment of Country at Heart–or any project, you’re not alone. “I would so love to pick back up and get to do it again. We tried to make that happen,” he says.
“I don’t know that it can or will but I’m definitely still very close with Niall and Jessy and we’re always talking about ways that we could possibly resurrect, if not that, something like that so that we can work together again because we we really hit it off. I loved that project so much and when I was up [in Vancouver] doing Five More Minutes, I spent a lot of time with Niall because he’s my man.”
Five More Minutes: Moments Like These premieres Saturday at 10 pm/9c on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries (note the time) US and at 6 pm ET Sunday on W Network in Canada. Here’s a sneak peek. As a reminder, you can stream Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries on Peacock here. Here are a couple of sneak peeks.
Photos and video courtesy of Hallmark Media.
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