|ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK EP AVAILABLE ON ITUNES TODAY!!!|
Oh yeah, so did I tell ya that I went to North Bay Ontario Canada a month and a half ago and made a Hallmark movie? Yeah, so, I did.
If you follow me on instagram then you probably saw this picture of me standing in the snow... in May. See, the movie is supposed to take place around the fourth of July, but looked like a White Christmas, as you can imagine, this was quite the predicament. I thought, hmm, maybe they'll reschedule, but you know what they say, the show must go on! And go-on we did, in temperatures roughly 6 degrees celsius, which in fahrenheit translates to, Cold. So imagine standing outside with bare leggies, and a gust of icy wind comes a bustin' through my silk summer dress, you could see my breath and every hair on my arm was standing tall, teeth chattering... remember, I hail from Arizona, and reside in California where we exist in one season pretty much all year long, I'm basically a lizard, and yet there I stood, a human ice cube... it was an intense practice in mental toughness, I've never had to act so hard in my life! We all anticipated that glorious word, CUT.. when they would instantly throw floor length parkas on us. It took a few weeks for me to defrost, or shake the chill in my bones. Watching it back you'd never know it, thanks to movie magic, a snow blower and some pretty flowers, it looks just like a beautiful summers day in Pinewood Hills!
Just a few days later after shooting most of our outdoor scenes, the sun came out, melted away the snow, the trees sprouted leaves and revealed probably some of the most gorgeous weather and scenery I've ever seen, the sky was blue and the bay was pristine... andouldn't ya know we headed in to shoot all of our indoor scenes. Isn't it ironic?
It was a fast and furious shoot, however I loved every minute. Acting is really fun hard work. The days are long, but I just didn't mind. I think what I love so much about making a movie is that it is a true collaborative effort. The cast and crew become your fam for a few weeks, they are there to support you and catch you when you fall. From our incredible director Don, to our camera guys Rod and Andreas, to wardrobe, hair and make up, AD's and craft services. Everyone plays an important role, and you grow to love these folks that you will likely not see again. It was wonderful to have my London close at hand, who would come to visit me on set and sit in my lap and eat (my) lunch with me everyday... everyone got to know my Loo. Even Dave was there for the final week of filming.
This role was different from my last, although I play yet another musically inclined lady, this gal is more conflicted, and has a few more walls built up around her and her heart that has been broken by the business and her past. I got to rummage through a bunch of feelings to be her and relate to her story, I maybe even yell a little... :)
Probably the most rewarding part however was writing, recording and then performing the songs for her and the band to sing in the movie... obviously music is a bit more familiar territory for me. I wrote two new originals, Sun Up Sun Down which is the bands big hit, which has a more up beat, clap your hands, stomp your feet, americana vibe. Then there is "fly fly fly" a more raw emotional ballad that I play on the piano, with Mitch accompanying me on the guitar and singing harmony. I co-wrote songs for Change of Plans, but have never really written with such a specific purpose or theme on my own, I usually just write whatever I am feeling in the moment and allow the song to dictate itself. However I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly they came and how inspired I felt... it was kind of a break through for me as a songwriter. I can't wait for you to hear them, as a matter of fact the songs are available on a four song original EP as of today, as in RIGHT NOW! You may also recognize XYZ and VOICES that Jack and I released last year. I was excited that they also placed these songs in the film! Feel free to take a listen over on itunes :)
The cast was a small but super talented bunch. Mercedes Ruehl plays my mom... if you don't know much about Mercedes, you should google her. Academy award...check, golden globe... check, tony... check... basically she is an Emmy shy of an EGOT. She is rather legit you could say, and for being so successful and distinguished in her craft, couldn't have been more generous to a mere rookie like myself on the set. This isn't my first rodeo, but it's my second. She gave me some truly valuable advice to help me level up to the task of a lead role. This lady is a riot and it was an honor and a privilege to be under her tutelage. As it also was with Christian Campbell, who plays my older brother and former bandmate, who also has an extensive body of work. He really makes acting look easy, which it's not. Like a real big brother would, he took me under his wing and ran lines with me, we broke down the script and figured out subtext. Preparation equals confidence, and I came to set feeling like I knew my scenes, thanks to the kindness and talents of Christian. Then there was Mike Barbuto, who plays the drums, and our brother as the third member of the "the Banner project" band. Nicest guy ever, and also helped me discover the art of crying on demand. You'd think this would be a slam dunk for an uber sensitive emo weepie like me, but it's not! Unless you're Mike, then it is, it's a real skill. Of course this is a Hallmark movie, so there is a hint of romance, and Chad Connell, brought it with his symmetrical features and super debonairness (totally expected that word to not really exist, however I see no dotted red line, so I am going with it) Yes, I said DEBONAIRNESS!!!
But really this movie is about the family. I play Desiree Banner, former singer and songwriter for the Banner Project, a small town band that she and her two brothers Mitch and Johnny started over a decade ago. Just as they were about to make it big time with their smash hit single "sun up sun down", she was swept away from the band by a producer from LA who convinced her she needed to make it on my own, leading her into a doomed marriage, and breaking up the band, causing bad blood between her and Mitch. Fast forward to now, when they hear the sobering news that their mom, Rosalind has had a heart attack, bringing them all home to exist under the same roof together for the first time in ten years to look after her while she recovers. Now she finds herself forced to face the music (budum-ching). While she tries to deal with Mitch and the angry elephant in the room, she also discovers that her hometown of Pinewood Hills is in extreme economic distress potentially forcing them into bankruptcy. Her mother, who also happens to be the Mayor however, who has been known to always have a plan up her sneaky sleeve, secretly schemes up a way out of all of this mess while on bedrest...
and with all that, you're just gonna have to watch the rest to see what happens :) you could also watch a little trailer right HERE.
Ahhh! So set your DVR's my friend, SATURDAY, JUNE 29th 9p/8c on the Hallmark Channel! Join me on twitter while I'll be nervously watching this movie for the first time!
PS- If you live in Los Angeles, I will be performing "sun up sun down" on Good Day L.A. this Thursday morning!
And then on the Home and Family Show on the Hallmark Channel on Friday... Woohoo!