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Bethany Joy Lenz Previews What You Need to Know About Hallmark’s ‘Savoring Paris’ 

Bethany Joy Lenz Previews What You Need to Know About Hallmark’s ‘Savoring Paris’

Hallmark’s Savoring Paris is one of those movies that, as soon as it ends, you get the urge to book a ticket on the next plane to the City of Love, Lights, and Chocolate Croissants. Oh, and cheese, glorious cheese.

Savoring Paris

One Tree Hill alum Bethany Joy Lenz stars as Ella, who finds herself in a rut at work and in life. Instead of staying in a job where she’s not appreciated or buying a place like her mom wants her to do, she makes a monumental decision. She returns to Paris, where she once had a game-changing time and ate a life-changing cheese. She’s counting on a little bit of that OG magic to come back to her life.

Once Ella touches down in Paris, she’s on a deadline to shake off the burnout she’s feeling. Her journey includes fun fashion, friends, a shaky command of the French language, beautiful locations, falling in love, and finding a purpose. At first, accomplishing her goal is easier said than done. Can all the pieces fall into place before she heads back to the United States?

According to Lenz, Savoring Paris is everything you love from Hallmark…and more. “You’re going to be able to get the comfort food that you’re used to, but you’ll also be surprised by the grandiosity of the film and how we were able to share Paris through the screen. And hopefully, it’ll inspire you to take some self-discovery trips of your own.”

Je M’appelle Ella

Playing Ella turned out to be an exercise in slowing down. And that presented a challenge to Lenz. “Most of the characters that I’ve played, particularly in Hallmark, have been very close to my own personality — bubbly, I talk fast, and I talk with my hands a lot.” Well, that’s not Ella at all. “I enjoyed the opportunity to slow down,” she adds. “This is a proper Southern girl who is trying to do everything the right way and appease her family, and her mom, and the people she works with.

“She just is always trying to do everything. And in order to do everything, you have to slow down and you have to make sure that you’re taking your time with things. And that is not a physical existence that I normally embody. So that was a big challenge. I knew that it would be good for me — Joy — to have an excuse to really force myself to do that.”

Ultimately, the podcast co-host finds Ella relatable, but not for the reasons you’d think. “I can relate to feeling like you are not taking up space,” she explains. I think I kind of went the other direction in areas of my life where I felt like I maybe felt less than or inadequate. My fight-or-flight mode would kick in, and I would sort of go big or go home or double down.

“But Ella is not that way. So she feels the inadequacy, she feels the ‘I don’t belong,’ and she shrinks back,” Lenz continues. “So even though her physical manifestations and muscle memory around how she behaves when she feels that way is different than mine, it’s still coming from the same place. So I really related from that perspective.”

Vive La Paris, France…and Sofia, Bulgaria

Believe it or not, the movie wasn’t solely filmed in France. “We were in Paris for a week,” the OTH actress reveals. “It was a 15-day shoot, so we shot the other time in Sofia, Bulgaria. Which is a fabulous city. An amazing crew. So professional. So creative. And they are the fastest crews I’ve ever worked with, and [it’s] this really vibrant artistic city.”

During the Paris portion of the filming, Lenz says her daily routine included eating a croissant and a noisette, “which is what I always order when I sit down at a cafe in Paris. I sit down and say, ‘Une noisette s’il vous plait.’ And then I have them bring me a croissant, and I enjoy. And sometimes I do it twice a day.”

Viewers will find that her Savoring Paris character really finds cheese — or fromage en Français — a glorious experience. Maybe even an out-of-body experience. Well, guess what? The actress feels the same. “If I could just exist on bread and butter and cheese and olive oil…I think I would live on charcuterie with no problem!.”

Unsurprisingly, the creator and curator of the Modern Vintage newspaper had to call on her French skills. “I know very little French. I understand more than I speak, and I read French pretty well. But speaking it fluently in conversation — I’m not there yet. I used to speak better French than I do now.”

In fact, she says she has an excellent French accent. “I guess it’s my musical ear. My inclination is to go into a French accent when I’m speaking it. But in the movie, Ella is really a novice. Plus, she’s Southern. So, basically, she spoke French too well. “I needed to make it sound worse,” she laughs.

Son Amour

While Ella tries to navigate life in Paris, she develops a couple of connections. One of the options is a fromagerie named Serge. He’s this grumpy cheese store owner, which, of course, is the perfect place for Ella to hang out. Look for the two to face internal and external obstacles on their way to either friendship or something more.

French actor Stanley Weber plays Serge, a man who doesn’t seem to have much joie de vivre, but looks can be deceiving. Serge and Ella have to deal with each other’s walls, issues, and insecurities. It turns out cheese could be their conduit to a stronger, deeper dynamic. Needless to say, Lenz adored working with Weber.

“Stanley was such a star,” Lenz raves. “He is incredibly professional, very kind, and he’s very sharp, he’s got a quick wit, and he’s capable of rolling with whatever is thrown at him. He always has a lot of layers that he comes in with. He’s quirky and interesting.”

And he really put in the work. “He spends a lot of time with the character before he comes in,” she explains. “He’s got a book that he’s all marked up. And he’s got notes on all of his lines of dialogue, and he put me to shame a hundred percent. I was like, ‘I am so lazy compared to this man.’ He really loves it and just takes it to heart.

“He definitely inspired me to make sure I’m invigorated about my characters before I step on set. It was a humbling experience. He’s a really wonderful actor.”

Savoring Paris premieres Saturday, June 8, at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel and will stream live on various outlets in the U.S. and on W Network in Canada. Here are a couple of sneak peeks.  

Photos and Images — Hallmark Media/Photographers: Eric Caro, Elena Nenkova, Sven Boecker

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Bethany Joy Lenz Previews What You Need to Know About Hallmark's 'Savoring Paris'

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2 Comments

  1. Judy

    I just love this actress, Bethany, she is my favorite of all of Hallmarks actresses, loved this movie last night, Savoring Paris, loved all of her outfits, of course she has the figure to wear anything, can’t wait to see her in another premier movie.

    1. Tina Charles

      We loved the movie as well. Thanks for reading!

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