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Interviews

Cindy Busby Previews A Whitewater Romance 

Cindy Busby Previews A Whitewater Romance

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

As the unintentional go-to Hallmark star for outdoor adventure-themed romcoms, Cindy Busby is back at it Saturday night for the Countdown to Summer premiere of A Whitewater Romance. After a foray to a couple of national parks, retreats, and a hot air balloon, she returns to the scenery of Chasing Waterfalls, this time paired with her A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love co-star Benjamin Hollingsworth for director Jason Bourque in a script by Hannah Swensen Mysteries‘ Juliana Wimbles (who wrote Hollingsworth’s similarly outdoorsy A Splash of Love a couple of years ago).

In the film, Busby is Maya, a rising talent for a popular software app, who’s handpicked by company CEO Allegra (Kate Twa) for an exclusive team-building weekend wilderness retreat. Tasked by her boss, Marilyn (Heather Doerksen), to gather intel on the regional colleagues who will be joining her, who are also in the running for a prestigious new contract, Maya finds herself torn between being a spy and being part of the team.

A Whitewater Romance

While she’s friendly with colleagues Luis (Edwin Perez) and Claire (Alisha-Marie Ahamed), she struggles with colleague Matt (Hollingsworth), who has the inside track with Allegra. When they’re paired up on a series of escalating tests that find them blindfolded in a trust exercise, zip-lining, and the titular whitewater rafting, Maya has to make a choice about what she wants for herself, on and off the clock–even if it means risking both goals. GH alumni William deVry (who also starred in one of my all-time Hallmark faves, Three Weeks, Three Kids) also stars as the camp owner, Jim, who gets his own romance with Allegra.

This week, I caught up with Busby on the set of a project that will air later this year to chat about the film. After the more serious fare of their first outing, she was happy to team with Hollingsworth for a comedy. “We really enjoyed our project the first time around and the audience really resonated with that story and us working together. And so it just kind of happened. It was really nice to reconnect with someone that I’ve enjoyed working with, and I’m excited for audiences to see us together again in such a different light and a much lighter movie,” she shares.

The pair also carry executive producer titles on the movie, a first for Busby, and she takes it as a recognition of the work she usually does. “Executive producer is such an interesting title because it can mean multiple things,” she explains. “It allowed me to be recognized. I always look out for the project. I always make sure it’s at the highest of integrity and I give it my all in so many different ways, whether it’s enhancing scenes or anything like that, or just collaborating with the directors.”

A Whitewater Romance

The film also reunited Busby with Doerksen, with whom she shot a thriller a while back. “I love her so much. She is such an angel. We stayed connected after we shot Welcome to The Circle, and that was such a wild ride. As soon as I found out that she was hired to play Marilyn, we were immediately texting each other and so excited to finally get to work together again,” she says. 

“The scenes I shot with her were on the last day of filming and it was a night shoot. We had a ton of fun and it’s always nice to wrap up a movie with a friend. It was so great to have her around.”

The film was the first time Busby worked with both Bourque and Wimbles. “I had heard so many wonderful things about [Jason] in the industry and then when I found out that he was the one doing it, I was [glad that] finally we got to meet and work together. We immediately hit it off,” she recalls.

A Whitewater Romance

“He’s just such a great guy. He’s funny, he loves playing around. It was a really good connection and I would absolutely love to work with him again. It was just super easy and collaborative. I got close [to working with Juliana] a couple times, so I was really happy to get to collaborate with her.”

“She was able to come on set one of the days, and it was really nice to finally make the connection. And oftentimes we don’t get to meet the writers of the projects we work on. It was really great to get to give her a hug and say thank you for making such a fun movie.”

While Busby has become a familiar face in the outdoor romcom oeuvre, she says it’s not something she’s actively sought, but she loves it. And I’ll say here now that Hallmark needs to work on a social activation for her with the National Park Service. “It’s kind of become a niche of mine. And I’ve worked with [producer] Tim Johnson on many, many movies,” she says. 

“It’s just been a really happy kind of coincidence and I think people have associated me with this now. As long as everyone keeps watching, I’ll keep making them. It’s just such a blessing to get to visit different areas of the world and be among Mother Nature. It’s such a gift.”

A Whitewater Romance

That said, rafting was new to her, and she was grateful for the shooting conditions that made it both safe and fun. “We got really lucky with the weather. There were a couple days where it was spitting rain, but the crews really know how to hide that and work around it or work with it. Most of the days we were so hot while on set wearing those wetsuits,” she laughs.

“It was my first time ever whitewater rafting in any capacity. So I was a little bit nervous, but I am very comfortable around water and I’m a swimmer, so that part wasn’t scary for me. It was more about the unknown and the unexpected. But once I got on the boat and I experienced some of the rapids, it was kind of exhilarating and I really enjoyed it.”

“We did have a stunt team with us and they really showed us how to stay safe. And there was the rafting company that we worked with [so] everything was done in a tight-knit, safe way. I had a stunt double that day, but I ended up doing most of it. So that was really cool. It wasn’t too crazy. We make it look a little bit more dramatic.”

“That day was so stunning outside and it went really well and was such a blast. I feel so proud that we were able to do that. And I know it’s gonna look incredible and I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be whitewater rafting this year.”

A Whitewater Romance

Over the last year, Busby’s Instagram followers may have noticed that she has purposely differentiated her social media profile, amplifying a message of positivity alongside promoting her projects. “Social media is such a funny place. It can be filled with so much love, but it can also be such a scary place. And I just decided to bring a little bit more of my own personality and myself to it. And I love to create a community,” she explains.

“It’s something we really need now more than ever to feel connected. The world is a funky place, but I also think it is a magical place filled with unlimited experiences and in such a positive way. And I want to be of an impact and of service to people. And if I can use my platform to allow people to feel really good about themselves, to help share the tools that I’ve learned along the way and continue to learn along the way, that is really meaningful to me.”

“If I can maybe enlighten someone or help someone, even if only one person, that’s what my journey is about. And that almost means more to me than my work itself. Despite all of the differences in life, we are all made of the same. And so that’s what I choose to connect myself to everybody else.”

A Whitewater Romance premieres Saturday at 8 pm/7c on Hallmark Channel and streaming live on various outlets in the U.S. and on W Network in Canada. Here are a couple sneak peeks.  

Photos courtesy of Johnson Production Group for Hallmark Media. Videos courtesy of Hallmark Media.

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