Sam Page on His Latest Movie for Hallmark, the Deeply Emotional "One Summer"

By Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Archives
Cover image for  article: Sam Page on His Latest Movie for Hallmark, the Deeply Emotional "One Summer"

Over the past decade actor Sam Page has amassed quite the following at Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, thanks to a slew of romance and holiday themed films. This weekend the popular actor returns to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in the premiere of One Summer, the tender tale of a family grieving a sudden loss. The movie, his 10th overall for Hallmark, deals with the subject realistically, and it was that change of tone and storytelling that attracted him. "This is the first one I've done that isn't attached to a holiday," he shared in an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "It's certainly, for me, the most interesting script I think I've had come my way from Hallmark.

"When they said, 'Okay, you've got an offer for this movie, here's the script, read it and tell us what you think and if you're interested,' I started reading it and thought, 'This doesn't feel like a Hallmark movie or anything I've done before," he recalled. "So, I actually did double-check that the script I was reading was the one on offer from Hallmark and not some other source. It was refreshing to be able to dig deep and sink my teeth into what is much more of a drama than anything else I've ever done at Hallmark, and they allowed us to do that. My resume away from Hallmark, tonally, is not exactly upbeat stuff. Maybe that's where my sweet spot is performance-wise, and I do like to feel challenged and let yourself feel the emotions of the character and of the story."

Based on the novel by David Baldacci, One Summer follows widower Jack Armstrong (Page) and his two children, Mikki (Madeline Grace Popovich) and Tyler (Gavin Borders), who, while they are coming to terms with the sudden loss of their matriarch Lizzie (Amanda Schull,pictured below), take a trip to her family beach house in the hopes of healing and furthering their connection to her. As each family member discovers a way to move past their grief, Jack turns to an abandoned lighthouse, his late wife's favorite spot, and begins restoring it. It's there he discovers how truly magical the place is and how to begin rebuilding his life.

"It certainly has a darker, more subdued, tone," said Page of the film. "We dealt with topics that felt very real, but also very universal -- loss, healing, growth and the ways to heal as a family when the family unit feels shattered by sudden loss. Tonally it made for a different kind of movie than I've made before, and I also got to give a performance that was different from anything I've done before at Hallmark, which was really, really, something special and I embraced it. I also got to work with such an incredible cast. I mean, wow! Up and down the call sheet were just really high-level professional actors in every stage."

For Page, working with Hallmark regulars Amanda Schul and Sarah Drew (pictured above), who plays the friendly café owner Jenna Fontaine, coupled with director Rich Newley helming the project, made for a dream shoot in Wilmington, N.C. "We just had so much wonderful leadership on set," he revealed. "And you always love having [people] who've been there before because they know exactly how to pace their energy for the week, and for the shoot. That's big because we shoot very fast. Everybody was so collaborative with scenes and so professional on this. It was incredible.

"Working with somebody like Sarah who is, not that we saw it, on her worst day an incredible actor and an amazing presence on set, it only gets better from there," he added. "I experienced this with Amanda also. When you have a scene where emotions are running high, you kind of look over to your scene partner, whether it's Sarah, or the kids, or Amanda, and you just get so much back from them as they're so generous. They've [all] made these movies before and know what works, what's valuable, and what our endeavor is. It's all there and you never want for anything. I think [people] are going be able to relate to and see something very different with this movie. I'm really excited about that."

Reflecting on his time with Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Page can't help but feel blessed. "It's pretty great and I am very grateful to look back on a decade with Hallmark and look at the success we've had," he reflected. "It's a wonderful feeling to work for a company that really values and cares about their casts, crews and everybody that works on their projects. Then to also get the validation and support of the fans ... It's just the best of all worlds."

Sadly, Page doesn't have a Hallmark holiday project in the works this year. "It's all got to do with timing and schedules," he explained. But after tackling Godwinks, romance and the emotional rollercoaster of his latest, there's one holiday he'd love to explore with Hallmark. "I don't think they do these, but I'd like to do a Hallmark Halloween movie," he laughed in closing. "Let's get that happening!"

One Summer will be telecast Sunday, October 3 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

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