Loveuary could also be over, however Hallmark reminds you that it is all the time time for love with Recreation of Love.
Kimberley Sustad and Brooks Darnell star on this cute Hallmark unique a few recreation designer named Audrey and a mission supervisor named Matthew who should get previous their variations to ship a brand new recreation in document time.
We touched base with Kimberley to get the news on the film, step again in time to debate somewhat Christmas magic, and speak about her love of writing and performing.
Please benefit from the interview, which has been edited for content material and readability.
So earlier than we speak about Recreation of Love, we have now to revisit Christmas to speak about Three Sensible Males and a Child. I had no concept that you simply and Paul Campbell had been writing companions.
Yeah, we’re. That was a whole lot of enjoyable. They’re like The Beatles now, these three boys.
Proper. I imply, you should be over the moon about that film’s success.
Yeah, it had a whole lot of issues going for it, and I knew that it could hit Hallmark audiences the best way it did. I wasn’t anticipating it to type of break the glass ceiling and go right into a wider viewers area the best way that it did.
It is greater than you’ll be able to hope for whenever you’re writing these items or making these motion pictures in order that much more folks can see them, get pleasure from them, and have fun the vacations over them. In order that was actually nice.
How did you get taken with script writing within the first place?
Paul and I did a film, our very first film collectively, which was Godwink Christmas, and it was extra of a sentimental film. And Paul and I are each humorous, as I found once we had been doing this film.
The film was actually sentimental, and we stored saying, oh, I want we had the prospect to do a romcom or one thing like that to actually check this power that we had. As a result of when the cameras began rolling, it was joke after joke, and we had been laughing hysterically, despite the fact that that was not the film we had been filming.
And I believe in the future he was like, “Have you ever ever thought of writing one?” And I used to be like, “Oh, no, no, no, no. However I do have this concept.” And I tender pitched him Christmas by Starlight, and he mentioned, “Oh, that is an important concept. Let’s write it.” I used to be like, “Are you insane?”
And Paul’s a kind of guys that, when he says one thing, he follows by way of. I believe it was 5 months after we completed wrapping that film, came visiting with cue playing cards, and he was like, “Let’s do that factor.”
We type of bumped our means alongside, and we wrote this script on spec, and we walked into Hallmark once we had another occasion to go to. We requested, “Hey, can we are available for a fast assembly earlier than the TCAs?” And we handed them the script and pitched them the film.
Properly, we pitched them the film, after which we handed them the script, and so they had been like, “What? You wrote it?” And we had been like, “Yeah, yeah. So have a learn.” And so they did and beloved it. And that is sort of how we started.
It was extra everyone’s shock. I believe lots of people in all probability say, “Oh, I am scripting this factor, or I am engaged on this factor.” We sort of simply did it quietly.
I believe it took us in all probability 9 months or one thing like that, a very very long time — I suppose not for lots of flicks. I believe it was a 12 months later we had been taking pictures it, and that was Christmas by Starlight, and we have sort of simply stored going ever since then.
Wow. That is good to have someone you get pleasure from performing with who may join with you on the writing degree.
Yeah, we have now very completely different abilities that work surprisingly properly collectively when making a film, which I did not know on the time. I actually did not know a ton about writing, however I did know a ton about story. After which, once we began placing these items collectively, it simply type of was the right match.
Okay. I’ve to imagine you’ve got bought much more on the again burner now.
Sure, we do.
I can not wait. I can not wait to see what you give you subsequent. I believe your expertise in making these motion pictures goes an extended option to making the content material exactly what works for the viewers.
That is proper. And what you discover is a whole lot of the issues that I do as an actor once I’m in a task or prepping one or filming one has a whole lot of components wanted to make a script as properly.
Since you’ll see gaps or by way of strains, or I used to get in there, and simply sort of negotiate my means round with the director and the producers and are available out with a product that I felt was somewhat clearer, somewhat extra streamlined, or somewhat funnier or no matter it’s that the script could also be needing.
I had no concept I may switch a few of that to writing. I’ve realized quite a bit over the past couple of years doing it. Starlight was sort of like a quick Masterclass as a result of what occurred was I do not assume anybody anticipated to make that film as quick as they did. As a result of as soon as COVID hit, I believe materials and all these motion pictures bought sidelined.
And right here we had our little Starlight. Randy Pope at Hallmark was nonetheless creatively operating that finish of issues, and he mentioned, “We will do Starlight.” And we’re like, “What?”
Three months away from even having the second draft. And Randy is like, “We will make it occur. So what can we bought to do?” And we simply wrote madly. Even whereas we had been there filming it, ending issues in order that there was the reward of COVID that gave us an opportunity and the beautiful folks at Hallmark that gave us an opportunity.
After which Paul and I lastly bought to do a humorous film collectively as a result of we wrote it. After which it was all these three issues aligned very well. And I believe audiences actually preferred that one quite a bit.
And who is aware of your strengths higher than the 2 of you? So you could possibly write what you knew would match the invoice.
Properly, I am an encyclopedia of ’90s romcoms, second to second. I really like them a lot. I grew up watching these again and again. These are extra my Disney than Disney was. So I can pull again each element, each scene of all of them. I am an enormous fan, and so I believe you are profitable on the issues that you are a fan of.
I used to be watching a grasp class on-line. I believe it would’ve even been Spielberg. He was saying, and I am not placing myself on his degree by any means, however I believed that is a very good level. He mentioned, “If you go in to jot down one thing, beginning someplace that you realize nothing about is not normally the place. I write issues that I am a fan of.”
And ever since he was eight years outdated, he was a fan of struggle. He simply had all these little plastic toy troopers. He would arrange these epic landscapes stuffed with them and dramatize the entire thing perpetually for 20 years doing one thing to the extent of that.
And I used to be like, “Yeah, that is so true.” As a result of I have been watching these motion pictures for thus lengthy and am such a fan of them, having the ability to write them and produce them to life now’s so enjoyable and pleasurable and quite a bit simpler as a result of I am a fan of it.
And is not that why you watch a Masterclass? Since you wish to get these nuggets of knowledge that sort of bolster your ideas.
Sure. How do you do it? How does it work for different folks? And you discover like, wow, no surprise you are a fan. With the films he comes up with, I believe he is greater than only a fan of one thing.
Properly, by now, sure. But it surely needed to begin someplace.
Yeah, you are going to begin someplace. And that, I suppose, is the place I began and the way I began.
You are additionally a prolific actress. You are still performing in different folks’s work. How do you see writing and performing working collectively as your profession continues?
I actually do not discover it bizarre to jot down the issues that I am in. I believe Paul and I are a film for us to be a pair on display collectively. That is a whole lot of enjoyable being concerned with that. And creatively and behind the scenes, it is actually satisfying.
I haven’t got an issue handing it off and letting different folks do their jobs with it. I really like the collaborative course of, and in order that’s the way it actually works once I’m engaged on issues that I’ve written. I additionally love watching different folks carry these characters to life, as properly.
That’s terribly satisfying and a lot enjoyable, particularly if a whole lot of the time you will have these voices in your head, after which an actor will do it, and you will go, “Wow, that is means higher than it was in my head. That is wonderful.”
I suppose once I’m not writing them, I attempt to do the identical justice to these scripts or folks’s arduous work when it comes to writing and dig into greater than what’s on the web page and make a completely rounded character or a completely rounded individual, actually not a personality. And that is sort of how I’m going at it as properly.
So I wish to dump this on you since you’re a fan of 90s Romcoms. I hope that as Hallmark has been altering up their content material fairly a bit, you sort of go into the straight Romcom and never simply do vacation themes or seasonally-themed motion pictures.
So I believe that you simply and Paul ought to write one. It is like a conventional rom-com for Hallmark in order that we will get that ball rolling. I place confidence in you.
Do not you are concerned. Do not you are concerned. I believe so too.
Good. I like speaking to individuals who can get issues completed. [laughs]
Three Sensible Males rode a effective line. They did a ton of Christmasy issues, nevertheless it did not should do with Christmas. The story itself.
It came about at Christmas. And so we’re step by step getting there. And there was a whole lot of dialog and a little bit of fear on the chief aspect as a result of the departure from that could be a scary one, particularly whenever you’re coping with their Christmas, which is their massive time of 12 months.
I am going to have at hand it to them like, “Okay, Christmas is not ruling this factor, however the story is, and we’re effective with it. We will let it go.” And I believe they noticed the ability of that.
Proper. And now that different networks like Netflix are pulling out these varieties of flicks, theirs are far much less Christmas pushed, but in addition round Christmas. I believe Hallmark can transfer in that path and get again a few of that viewers.
Yeah, a number of of them. If you do a story-driven script, it is bought to be absolutely rounded. It is not simply the sentimentality of Christmas anymore.
It is no matter’s taking place in these folks’s lives and that story that is entrance and middle. And so it takes somewhat bit longer and digging into a whole lot of, “what is that this film about? And what’s the story we’re making an attempt to inform?” Difficult.
At first, Recreation of Love looks as if a Valentine’s sort film, however I do not assume that it is nearly love any greater than Three Sensible Males and a Child was about Christmas.
That is proper.
What about that position appealed to you?
What I beloved about Audrey was that she’s extremely aggressive to a fault. However we come to search out on the market’s simply this have to show her value. And I believe it is one thing that we will all relate to.
I believe we get somewhat misplaced in issues, typically making an attempt to determine or be recognized by one thing that may give us worth, and discovering that you simply may be sufficient simply as you might be, is just not solely scary but in addition relieving.
And so I believe folks will bumble alongside along with her, struggle for that, and see it instantly, but in addition fully relate when that each one involves a head. So she’s a really relatable character for all of us.
Properly, you realize what I associated to? Her carrying a hoodie. I used to be like, I’ve by no means seen anyone in a Hallmark film put on my garments. I am all the time in a t-shirt and a hoodie.
Yeah. Converse. I do not actually look nice within the hoodie as a result of I am tall. And once I noticed that, I used to be like, oh. [laughs]
You seemed so cute.
The petite women get away with the hoodies. However then I used to be like, nah, tall women can put on them too. So right here we go.
Yeah. I am tall. That is my staple if I am not doing one thing, simply one thing comfy I can dart round in and have a pocket.
Once I initially learn this, that they had her sort of amp up her wardrobe towards the tip. The stylist ended up serving to her. And I did not should struggle that arduous, however I mentioned, “Hey guys, it is 2023. Can we not change the lady to look higher so she will be able to get the man?” Thanks.
Thanks for that as a result of I seen.
And so they had it in there. And I used to be like, “Guys, that is not the story.” That is not her journey for her to undergo this complete factor after which present up having modified the factor she fought for.
Proper. Like Sandy from Grease.
She’s okay, simply as she is. And perhaps the extra she will be able to settle for that, the extra she will be able to let go. Proper?
Proper. And he or she did. She wore one thing aside from a hoodie, which was nonetheless comfy and properly inside her type vary. It made sense. So you could possibly change on the within.
Precisely. They had been like, “Properly, we will not have a hoodie all over.” I used to be like, “We’ll discover it. We’ll discover it.”
Proper. And you’ll change on the within. She grew and accepted a special aspect of herself, and that is much more necessary than altering her garments.
I had a enjoyable interview with Brooks this vacation season. What was it like working with him?
Oh, he is beautiful. Once I first met him, I used to be like, oh, that is going to work as a result of he is so cool, and I am not. Instantly, he simply has this actually chill, cool demeanor in life too.
I’m 100% extra like Audrey. I’ve no cool issue. So I believed, oh, that shall be an fascinating power on display. And we’ll see how that works. I believe it really works fairly properly.
It does. It really works out very well.
Nice. He did not should play cool. He’s cool.
I believe it is his voice.
He simply bought this actually robust, grounded presence, and he would not should assume too lengthy about his phrases, or he would not strive too arduous. He is not making an attempt to win folks on a regular basis. He is very current and grounded. And that may be unnerving typically whenever you’re like, “Like me, like me!” Extra of my power.
I believe you are past that now. I believe folks know you adequate to love you simply by your motion pictures.
I do not know if that ever modifications, although. That is the bizarre factor. I might like to be extra, “yeah, I am so assured.” But it surely’s one of many causes I’ve by no means even gone out to do a kind of Christmas conferences as a result of I am terrified.
Oh my gosh. Of all folks.
I do know. Is not that loopy?
They’re one of the best folks, Hallmark followers. They’d embrace you so warmly. I have never been to at least one, however I am like in a Tyler Hines Fb group, and oh my gosh, they’re simply over the moon with him and his work. Simply so many form phrases to say and such caring folks. And so they all care about one another.
It is not simply motion pictures. It’s bought a little bit of a motion in direction of group that individuals are discovering. I believe that’s actually particular. I am actually for that — folks from everywhere in the world.
It is like players. They join with folks in all places and get collectively on the web to play these video games. After which they get to know one another, take journeys collectively as a bunch, and all have this one factor.
Otherwise you go to Comedian-Con. And these folks have been constructing costumes of their favourite recreation characters for a 12 months. Then they get collectively. They’ve this unimaginable time in San Diego and have one of the best time of their lives. They’re a part of one thing, a part of a group.
I believe that Hallmark hat is providing that. And that is turning into extra, and extra of what is transpiring are these folks. The followers are connecting and discovering a group. And I believe that’s so stunning.
What else do you may have in your plate for the time being?
Paul and I are writing a script known as My Week in Wyoming, which goes to be an incredible story. It is virtually like a Metropolis Slickers. And it is not Christmas, nevertheless it’s actually humorous.
We’re additionally engaged on a Christmas film that we’re writing, and I am not allowed to say something about that one, nevertheless it’s additionally going to, I hope, blow the doorways off as properly. So we’re having a whole lot of enjoyable doing that concurrently, truly.
Properly, it could not occur to 2 nicer folks. I am comfortable for you.
Recreation of Love premieres on Hallmark on Saturday, March 11 at 8/7c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a workers author and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Alternative Affiliation, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of tv and movie with anybody who will hear. Observe her on Twitter and electronic mail her right here at TV Fanatic.