[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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
Alison Sweeney Talks About What’s Next for Hannah and Mike After Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery
[Warning: Spoilers for Carrot Cake Murder.] Everybody OK after that Hannah Swensen Mystery twist? Thankfully, our favorite crime-solving couple is still on speaking term, even if they’re on a break (hopefully not that kind of break). Most importantly, we already know this isn’t the last film in the series. No…
Counting Down to From Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] We’re just shy of two weeks away from Season 2 of last spring’s obsession, From, which premieres at 9 pm/8c, Sunday, April 23rd, on MGM+ (formerly EPIX). If you never picked it up last year, now’s your chance, and you can do it for free, catching…
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 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 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…
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…