The last few years have been quite the rollercoaster ride for Amanda Kloots. After tragically losing her beloved husband Nick Cordero to COVID-19 in July of 2020, a year later the popular co-host of CBS' The Talk was channeling her grief into dance as a competitor on season 30 of Dancing with the Stars, where after an emotion-filled season, she placed fourth. Now, Kloots is ending 2022 on another high note by starring in the uplifting CBS holiday movie Fit for Christmas, which she co-created and executive produced. She plays fitness instructor Audrey, who after suffering a financial setback (and a break-up) returns to her hometown of Mistletoe, Montana, to assess her life and reinvigorate her workout business. But, when she discovers the beloved recreation center her deceased mother taught at for years is under threat of redevelopment into a ski resort, her mission becomes its preservation.
Based on an idea by Kloots (a former fitness instructor) and shot during her hiatus from The Talk, she's still pinching herself as to how the project came to fruition. "This has been an absolute dream come true for me," she beamed while recently promoting the film. "I can't still believe it happened. It was a lot of fun to film, so I'm excited for everybody to see it.
"I co-created the idea and definitely helped conceptualize the entire movie right up till we started filming," she added. "Anna White wrote it, and it was amazing! There was a day on set I'll never forget. We were filming at the Mistletoe Inn, and it was so perfectly Christmas. It was like right in the middle of filming, the cast had really bonded, and it just felt like magic, literal Christmas magic. I looked around and couldn't believe it was happening. I literally pinched myself because I remembered being in bed in July of 2020 thinking of this idea at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, so having it come to life was beautiful."
"I [had] followed Amanda's story and my heart went out to her," shared White. "A mutual acquaintance [had] said, 'Amanda has a great idea for a Christmas movie and needs a writer.' We had our first FaceTime [meeting] and everything clicked. We hadn't seen a fitness instructor Christmas movie yet. I thought it was a great idea and if anyone was going to do it, it would be Amanda Kloots.
"From there, we kind of went back and forth," White continued. "We came up with a longer synopsis, pitched it to CBS, and then worked on it. I'd send every draft of the outline, and script, to Amanda first. She'd give her notes, then we'd both be on the notes calls with CBS. That way, anything they wanted changed, Amanda and I could bounce ideas off each other. It was great having Amanda as a partner. If a note was frustrating, I'd be like, 'Isn't this note crazy?' She'd be like, 'Yeah, [it is].' Then we'd figure out how to do it better together. And then seeing her come alive on screen as the character was just … This is her first scripted movie/television role and she's a natural. I'm excited for everyone to see her acting chops."
Working alongside Kloots is the Cary Grant of Hallmark Channel (and When Calls the Heartstar) Paul Greene, who is no stranger to Christmas movies following a slew of them for Hallmark Media. After playing the 'nice' romantic love interest, it's fun to see Greene turn on the charm as Griffin Weston, the (almost) mustache-twirling real-estate developer with a mushy center, who also gets to be funny thanks to his wry delivery of a very witty script, coupled with some hilarious high-energy workouts.
"This one was special," Greene (pictured above and at top with Kloots) said of Fit for Christmas. "It's my first of these with CBS, so there was a lot of excitement, a lot of trust, and a lot of newness to it that made it just super fun.
"I'd worked with Anna on a prior movie," he continued. "That was a really great experience, and there's a lot of serendipity with Anna as [we] go back 20 years. But what made this so different was working with Amanda and knowing that this was her first experience with this. It just had this crackling newness and possibility that was really unique. Immediately, there was this chemistry and friendship between us, all of us actors really, but especially between Amanda and me from the first minute. We were like long-lost friends, which quickly translated into a feeling of having each other's back in scenes and improvising, which Anna loved!"
All that behind-the-scenes excitement absolutely translates to the screen, as the movie is entertaining and charming. Having gone through the deep darkness of a sudden and unexpected loss, Kloots is happy the film will provide some hope and light to others during the holidays.
"I can't believe that CBS was so generous in taking a chance on me," she added in closing. "I'm so grateful to them for having faith that I can act and executive produce, and I can create something. I'm just blown away by the idea of how life can change, and how it can change so quickly, and how dreams can come true."
Fit for Christmas will be telecast Sunday, December 4th at 8 p.m. on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
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