Katrina Law is starring in the Hallmark movie, Christmas With the Darlings on Sunday, November 8.
We had a chance to catch up with her to talk about the movie, why she enjoys Hallmark productions (she's been in some of my favorites!), and what it was like saying goodbye to established TV Fanatic favorites, Hawaii Five-O and Arrow.
Find out what she has to say below!
What do you like about working with Hallmark and Christmas movies in particular?
I really, truly enjoyed working with Hallmark because it is a feel-good network. And you know that you can just put it on during the holidays or anytime of the year, and it's just going to make you feel good by the end of it.
It's a family-friendly environment. It's also one of my dad's favorite channels, and I'm not joking when I say all year long my dad has the Hallmark channel on.
It's great because I also have a one-year-old daughter, so it's nice knowing that this channel can be on, and I don't have to worry about something horrible or inappropriate popping up for my daughter to see. I love that it's a family-friendly, feel-good network.
Tell me a little bit about your character, Jessica, and why you boarded Christmas With the Darlings.
Okay. So Jessica Lew has been a loyal assistant to her employer, Charles Darlington for the past, I think, two years and during that time period, she was working on her law degree. She finally gets her law degree, and she's about to step down from being his assistant to go work for his company, the same company, as an attorney.
In the meantime, she finds out that his orphaned nephews and nieces are coming over from Australia to stay with them, with no one to help them watch out for the holidays, and they're about to get sent off to boarding school.
Of course, Jessica can't handle that, so she basically volunteers to help Charles' younger and very charming brother, Max, watch the orphans, the children, over the Christmas holidays. And of course, love ensues and new families are created.
The reason why I wanted to do this movie was one, I've been looking for another Hallmark movie to do for a while now.
There have been a few opportunities that came up, and it just didn't work out timing-wise for either myself or for Hallmark, and my sister-in-law, Tracy Andreen, wrote this one and called me up. She's also the writer of Snow Bride, and she asked if I wanted to star.
Oh, how fun.
I know. It's like you said, it's truly like a family-friendly environment, even to the hiring process for me. When she asked me if I wanted to be a part of this movie, it was no brainer because I love my sister-in-law. I love Hallmark.
I think my sister's a fantastic writer, and I had such a great time shooting the first two Hallmark movies that it was a no brainer. Does she writes some of these movies with you in mind?
Yes, she did. Whether or not they get offered to me is a different story, but she definitely pitches me as the lead.
Oh, that's so nice. I've had no idea.
Nepotism at its best. [laughs]
Well, you know what? Sometimes it's who you know, right? Nothing wrong with family.
It worked out. If I could do my sister-in-law's movies, whatever movie it is, the rest of my life, I'd be a happy camper, so I think she's so talented.
You mentioned that you have a daughter now. This particular movie is very family oriented. How has having a daughter of your own changed the way you approach material?
Well, my mom retired in general. I find it easier to hit emotional levels because I don't have to dig as deep because as everybody says, when you have children, you're wearing your heart on your sleeve because your heart is now no longer in your body. It's now running around in the form with a child.
It was a lot easier to hit these emotional levels, and as an actor, the easier you can hit them, the easier it is for you to come out, which is lovely and kind of convenient, especially in the scenes where we shooting, with the thought of losing the kids or having to be heartbroken.
I just thought about my daughter saying, well, not that she's not that she can speak it, but when, if she ever said those things, how it would just shatter my heart. And I was like, "Oh God. Okay." So yeah, having a daughter just makes it easier to relate to children in general, I think.
Carlo Marks is an absolute doll, and you two had lovely onscreen chemistry. What was it like working with him?
Oh, I loved working with Carlo. He's so much fun, so I really think that he needs his own Hallmark show. I'm pitching that. I'm putting it out there. Anybody who agrees should send Hallmark a letter because he is amazing and fantastic and working with him, we got along like two peas in a pod.
Hopefully, it doesn't come off like this, but he felt like a brother to me in real life that we were just teasing each other back and forth. And when we were acting on set, the banter was so easy and fun because he just really was present and available and just a really great scene partner to have.
So yeah, he's a wonderful gentleman and Hallmark, give him his own show, please.
I think that that kind of camaraderie actually works well for this particular movie because they were friends first and had that kind of connection like a brother and sister, even though Jessica doesn't know that he has more feelings for her.
So it worked out well.
Yeah. Well, one point during the kissing scene, there was a whole COVID new criteria for how we had to do these things, but in any of the scenes where we had to actually look at each other in a loving way, it was really hard for both of us not to laugh.
Well, you pulled it off just fine.
Oh, thank you. Thank you.
In the movie, Jessica had an odd choice for her favorite Christmas cookie, so I'm wondering, what's your favorite Christmas treat?
My favorite Christmas treat? Oh, I just made this amazing... I think it's called challah bread. I made it from scratch. I put a bunch of raisins in it, and then you have to do this braid. It was like an eight-layered braid.
It turned out to be like a foot longer than I thought it was going to be. Honestly, it took up my entire oven, but it was one of the first things that I baked where my dad was like, "Oh, this is nice. I'll eat it." Whereas everything else seems like, "Oh, okay."
That being said, I'd recommend buying it. Probably just easier and better probably, but I think that's one of my favorite treats. It's this sweet bread, and it's not too sweet and has some raisins in it, and then you put some butter on it. Oh, it's so good.
Also ironic that your cookie in the movie was a raisin cookie. This is just working out really well, Katrina.
Yeah. I'm adamantly against oatmeal raisin, by the way. That combination is terrible.
I have to agree, yeah, especially, at Christmas. It seems like a punishment during the regular time of year, but at Christmas that would just be cruel.
Yeah. So you want to be good to yourself, but you hate yourself and you don't want to actually bake yourself a chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are pretty good too.
That's funny. With 2020 being so unique, what are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
Oh gosh. I'm a little threatened about it.
Not to be Debbie Downer, but I'm a little afraid of the holiday season because when I think about the holidays, you think about family get togethers and doing Christmas shopping and just, not even shopping, but just being in a holiday filled area like malls where it's just decorated and everything, so I don't know if I'd necessarily want to do all that stuff.
I think I might be interested in going and driving around town to see how people decorate their houses and kind of doing that, so a little more like an isolated Christmas experience. I think I'm looking forward to people decorating their houses, so I can admire from a social distance. There you go.
I also want to take a moment to talk about closing out two long time and beloved television series because you had a chance to be a part of both Arrow and Hawaii Five-O, and they both ended in 2020.
I know. I was a closer-outer there.
What was it like? On Arrow you had a long arc, and on Hawaii Five-O you were kind of newer to the cast, but what was it like saying goodbye to two shows of that caliber that had been on the air for so long?
Let's start with Hawaii Five-O. That was a little bit more of a bizarre experience because I got the role of Hawaii Five-O because I did a pilot for CBS that didn't get picked up, but CBS was like, "Oh, we loved you in this pilot. Would you like apart on Hawaii Five-O instead?" And of course I'm like, "Oh, you want me to go to Hawaii and live there? Let me think about this."
So coming on to Five-O was actually a really scary experience for me that turned out to be not scary at all. But a lot of it had to do with, you're coming onto a show that is iconic. I mean, it's part of our pop culture for the past, I don't know, 30, 40 years between the first one and the second one, then the reboot.
So coming into that cast that is so well-established, so loved that it's been on the air for so long, it's scary, like being the new kid at school and then not knowing whether people are going to be nice to you and not knowing if the fandom was going to accept you because when you have a fandom that's running for that long, they're very particular about who joins and who doesn't.
Both of those turned out to be unwarranted fears because the cast was just fantastic and lovely. Hawaii was spectacular, the crew so professional, so good, was so welcoming. They're really all about ohana, and then the fans just turned out to be awesome.
They really loved Quinn Liu and really welcomed her on board and made my entire experience wonderful. So all of a sudden saying goodbye to the show, it didn't necessarily surprise me because it was year 10, and with Alex leaving the show, it did seem like a good place to stop filming this version. It all made sense.
It did make me sad, though, because it was such a great experience that the thought of having a couple more years on that show, living in Hawaii and being part of that world would have been a lot of fun.
Of course, my character only had a year on the show, so there was a lot of untapped storyline potential that could have been done. So in that sense, it was sad, but it all makes sense. And even though that I had a year on Hawaii Five-O was super cool, so no regrets.
Saying goodbye to Arrow, oh, that one was really hard because that one has been a part of my life for the past seven years. I came on in season two, and I've been with these people for seven years.
The great thing about Arrow is that there was a huge respect to the fandom that the entire Arrow cast would travel around the world together and we would go to conventions.
So traveling with these people, knowing that our show is airing and being a part of that family was pretty awesome.
And then, especially with our fans, the relationship that we've developed with our fans, we know a lot of them by face and by name, and I know their families, and I've actually held their children.
They come back and like, "Oh, my kid graduated this year," or like we celebrated birthdays and births with them and all of this stuff.
So knowing that this is the family that we created over the past, for me, seven years and for them, eight years, and then saying goodbye to the show, it wasn't just the casting. The vibe was also saying goodbye with the fans, and that's truly special, and I think it's unique.
I don't think a lot of shows that get to experience that, so to be a part of that was truly wonderful and I know this fandom will live on forever and being a part of the show will always be a part of my life.
But to actually say goodbye to it and know that this might be the end of Nyssa, that you ever see saying goodbye to the costume, that's kind of sad.
Be sure to catch Katrina in Christmas With the Darlings premiering on Hallmark Channel on Sunday, November 8, 2020!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.