By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

Andrea Brooks Previews A Lifelong Love 

Andrea Brooks Previews A Lifelong Love

[Editorial note: This interview was conducted in June, 2023, ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike.]

Friday night, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries premieres its newest summer mystery, A Lifelong Love, which follows Annika (WCTH‘s Andrea Brooks), a rising poet with a solid social media following, as she tries get a book of poetry published and suddenly finds herself saddled with her ex-boyfriend, Ryan (Patch May), a street photographer, who happens to be pitching his own book at the same time. The marginally interested publisher rep offhandedly suggests a words and pictures collaborative book, and realizing it’s likely their only shot at ending up in print, the duo begrudgingly agree to the terms.

The focus of the book is love stories, which intersects nicely with Annika’s grandpa, Abe (Tom Young), as he attempts to find his long ago first love, Ruth Barlowe (Brenda Gorlick). Along for the ride is Ryan’s niece, Ellie (Averie Peters), a mystery buff and amateur researcher who helps complete the quartet. Nicholas Humphries directs a script by Caroline Portu.

A Lifelong Love

The film marks the second project for Brooks, May, Humphies, and producer Lexi Lewis after The Wedding Fix, and the allure of reteaming with them brought her back to work earlier than she’d planned following the birth of her second child earlier this year.

“I was three months postpartum when I got the phone call. When Calls the Heart wrapped [Season 10] and I went off and had my baby. I promised myself that I wouldn’t overwork myself. Even with my last pregnancy, I worked right up until the baby was born and then seven weeks later I was back on set,” she explains.

“So with this one, [I said], ‘I’m just going to take a second.’ And I got a phone call and I [didn’t know] if the timing was right. And then they said Lexi Lewis [was] our producer and Nicholas [Humphries was our director] and I was an immediate yes because I adore them both.”

The film was shot in Winnipeg in the spring, and despite what the calendar said, Brooks shares that the weather was a factor in the production. “We were there for March and April and there were freak snowstorms, which I guess, I shouldn’t say freak because it’s Winnipeg, so I should have probably seen that coming,” she laughs.

A Lifelong Love

“I did bring winter gear just in case, but I did not know that we were gonna be in the middle of a complete whiteout to the point where one day we had to stop shooting at lunch because it got so dangerous to be on the road. So that was an adventure, but so fun.”

“I’d never shot a project in Winnipeg before. I had an absolute blast. Their crews are so good, so professional, so much fun. I had to go out there with 10 extra plane tickets because I had to fly out childcare and my baby and all this stuff. It was a lot of coordination, but it ended up being one of my favorite movie experiences ever. We had a ball.”

While Hallmark projects often follow the professional arc of a writer, Brooks enjoyed digging into the world of publishing for this role. “Getting to explore those unrealistic expectations of the publishing industry right now was interesting. And those complications kind of added fuel to our conflict and friendship turned romance between myself and Patch’s character. That was obviously very fun to play off of because a lot of these stories contain elements of writers or people who write for magazines and copywriting or stuff like that,” she says.

“This one was a little more modern, [exploring] how social media plays into getting a project together, what you need in order to make this happen, why the expectations are so high, and why the turnarounds are so quick? That was different for me. I hadn’t ever explored anything quite like that in one of these movies before.”

A Lifelong Love

The twist for this film is the multigenerational arc that finds Annika and Abe, and then Abe and Ellie, spending a lot of time together to solve the central mystery. “Marrying that into the multigenerational aspect was quite fun because you have a grandpa who makes this reveal at the beginning of the movie that he has this long lost romance and he’s always thought about her. And then you have Annika who’s desperately pulling strings, trying to make her dream come true,” she points out.

“And then the fact that that’s able to be brought together is super fun. What a wonderful way to connect the grandpa and a leading lady in a movie. And then the conflict with Patch’s character coming into play, as well.”

“In a certain respect, this is a classic romcom, but we have so many mystery elements, and there’s just so much that needs to be sorted out. It’s not all about the hearts of the leading couple. You also have the heart of the grandfather to consider, the heart of the niece to consider. I was really rooting for this multigenerational theme in a way that I don’t think I’ve explored before in a movie.”

“It’s not something that I saw coming. When I accepted, the script was very, very different. And then there were a lot of rewrites that happened very quickly. Another writer was brought on board and then they really amplified the mystery element. And they really relied heavily upon the grandfather and the niece characters to support this entire adventure. And Tom and Averie both played those characters so brilliantly.” 

A Lifelong Love

“It was just such an unforeseen connection that when I had first read this, I wasn’t even thinking that that could be a possibility. But seeing this little family come together and amplify itself as the movie progresses was just so much fun. And even just as actors, we all got along so well and had such a ball getting to do this, especially all those car ride scenes. It was an absolute joy.”

Among those joys was fighting off a case of the extreme giggles during a pivotal moment in the film. “There was a day we were shooting in Ryan’s apartment and we were on a couch. I think these were some of our more touching moments where Ryan’s opening up and, and they’re kind of confronting their histories and sadness. And for whatever reason we shot a lot of that late into the evening and we were just losing our minds,” she recalls.

“I feel like in every movie I have one or two scenes where I get the giggles. And of course it just so happened that we had giggle fits during one of the more serious parts of filming. And we couldn’t stop ourselves. And I adore Patch. We get along so famously in real life. And the two of us just go off on tangents. We still have handfuls of inside jokes from our previous movie that we’d done together.”

A Lifelong Love

“And I don’t know what it was, he told a silly joke and we got through the scene, but it was challenging. We’re wiping tears away as we’re trying to get through this rather serious discussion. Those are the moments I kind of live for. That’s what makes filming so fun.”

“You’re so tired. These movies are such whirlwinds. They’re always shot in 15 days or less. And you just have to go, go, go. And then finally when you reach that breaking point and when it’s with your friends, people that you adore working with, who you support, who support you when you have those little giggle fits, they’re just so, so wonderful. We needed to leave it at the door because we needed to get through [the scene] but I’ll always remember shooting on the couch because we were laughing, the tears came in, and it looked like something else entirely.” 

A Lifelong Love premieres Friday at 9 pm/8c on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and streaming on Peacock. Check back in two weeks for the second part of our interview where we chat about the upcoming tenth season of When Calls the Heart. Here’s a sneak peek of Friday’s premiere.

Photos courtesy of Cartel/Hallmark Media; videos courtesy of Hallmark Media.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.