The last time Hallmark Channel favorite Natalie Hall graced the network, she portrayed an incognito princess in the heartwarming A Winter Princess. Fast-forward 12 months and the engaging actress is returning to the Hallmark this weekend in You’re Bacon Me Crazy as part of the network’s Spring Fling programming event. The movie finds Hall (pictured at top) in a very different role (and environment) as Cleo Morelli, the proprietor of a successful Portland-based food truck, whose hopes of winning $100K in a competition are squelched when competing food truck operator Gabe (Michael Rady) also enters the contest. After filming at a sprawling ski resort in A Winter Princess, Hall was excited to accept the challenges that come working within the confines of a food truck. “I went from a princess to a food truck owner," she laughed during an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "Two very different roles, and very different characters. Cleo is a girl with a small business, and that's something we wanted to bring attention to. Small businesses are very important -- especially now with what's happening. It's such a hard time for [them]. Hopefully, this movie will provide a little bit of entertainment and relief and ignite some excitement for restaurants when life gets back to normal.
"I have to give thanks to Hallmark for always [entertaining] people," she continued. "Be it during the holidays or any of the other special programming events. I admire that they’ve always provided these love stories; that’s why they’re the No. 1 network. People love to sit down with their families and watch a sweet Hallmark movie. I’m thankful to them for letting me be a part of that, and these totally sweet, lovely stories that people like to immerse themselves in."
Hall said it was while working on a project in Canada that she became aware of You're Bacon Me Crazy. The title alone was enough to excite her. "My manager called to say, ‘There’s a script called You’re Bacon Me Crazy,’” she recalled. "I thought great! I’m going to be baking. He said, ‘No, bacon!’ I was still thinking of pies and being a baker and he said again, ‘No, bacon!’ I thought it was really funny. Would I be making bacon? But it’s based on a book, and while Hallmark often changes movie titles, there is no better title than [this one]. Who doesn’t love a good pun?
"When I read the script I fell in love with Cleo and the story," she added. “Her joy and passion for her work, her enthusiastic personality, her love and passion for the people around her. We had great fun filming outside in an actual food truck which was very interesting. I’d also worked with the director Allan (Harmon) on A Winter Princess and we really became a team, so I’m grateful to have had this experience."
According to Hall, everything from working with Rady (pictured above), whom she describes as "a genuinely great, talented and funny guy," to the sets Hallmark provided, made this project one of her favorites. "We actually filmed in food trucks," she explained. “No cutaway trucks, no sets, which I loved. I got to experience what it was like to have a food truck and learned to make sandwiches from some great chefs. I do love movies where you get to eat, and I never ate any of the catering because I was getting these delicious sandwiches handed to me.
"Filming in the truck was challenging, but also made it exciting and fun," she continued. "It felt like I was in a play because we had a lot of steadicams, which involved cameramen holding the cameras. It was very tight and there was a lot of choreography regarding movement, hitting your mark and moving around the camera while acting. It was almost like being back in New York again doing musical theater. We just had the best time! I wouldn’t have changed a thing."
The change of scenery and enjoyable performances from Hall and Rady, combined with the film's message -- "Above all, have a passion for what you do and do it with love" -- form the perfect recipe and make You’re Bacon Me Crazy the perfect distraction during our current situation. "That message is something I've always believed in and resonated with me," Hall said. "It’s so strange that just a few weeks ago I was on a food truck serving people sandwiches. [This is] an unusual time for everyone and I feel so much for the families and parents who have lost their jobs.
"I work with a nonprofit called Kid Works, and so many people are going through stuff right now," she added in closing. "I wrapped a movie that a friend of mine wrote called Christmas in Solvang, and this current situation has impacted a few things I was in talks to do. But with everything that’s going on what's most important now is following protocol. We’re all in this together, so stay inside! Stay safe and stay healthy! Hopefully, we can return to our normal lives at some point soon."
You’re Bacon Me Crazy will be telecast Saturday, April 4 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel as part of the network’s annual Spring Fling programming event.
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