Autumn Reeser on Working Overtime for Hallmark's "The 27-Hour Day"

By Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Archives
Cover image for  article: Autumn Reeser on Working Overtime for Hallmark's "The 27-Hour Day"

This weekend’s premiere of The 27-Hour Day is a special one for its star Autumn Reeser (pictured above). Not only is the film her twelfth for Hallmark (that's Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries combined), it’s also the first time the popular network regular has starred in and executive produced a project for them. “Getting to executive produce was amazing, so amazing!” she beamed during an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. “This [movie] is something that Linda Carolei and I pitched to Hallmark maybe three or four years ago based on an idea by one of our writers. We developed it, and it was a great experience.

“It's gone through so many different iterations and I'm just so, so happy with where we ended up,” she continued. “Part of the reason I wanted to make it was because it's a really personal story to me and one I related to, being a girl who used to run a blog about being a busy working woman.”

In the film, Reeser portrays Lauren Garrett, the owner of a profitable lifestyle brand aptly titled The 27-Hour Day, designed to handle life’s daily tasks with greater efficiency. Lauren has a podcast that is full of tidbits and helpful hints, yet the one thing she can’t prioritize is her personal life.

Desperate to expand her brand (and at the suggestion of her business idol with whom she wants to work), Lauren takes a week-long trip to Meadow Lawn Retreat to un-plug and reboot. Without the distractions of the Apple Store she carries in her purse, she’s forced to take stock of herself. There she meets Jack (Andrew Walker,above center), co-owner of the retreat, who’s looking to expand his brand. As the two get to know one another it’s clear there’s more than a friendship forming. But with Lauren not about to give up her business, what are the chances of anything more?

“This is me from my 20s and not remotely me from my 30s,” explained Reeser of her character. “I loved being a girl on the go, having ideas to share with other women about how to do life more efficiently. I had a blog with two friends called Move Lifestyle and it was so much fun. Then I had kids, discovered spirituality, so many things in my life happened. Much of my journey has been about learning how to be present and learning how to be a human being instead of a human doing. That's what's happening in this story. It's really personal to me. Our culture invites us as a distraction to focus on the external when the real journey is internal.”

Reeser, the mother of two, admits obtaining her inner peace wasn’t easy. “It started with the birth of my first child when I was 31,” she recalled. “Being around children calls you to be present and that was hard for me. When you're present, you feel all your feelings. We don't have support in our culture around how to do that. It's uncomfortable, so we distract ourselves. We self-medicate, we post on Instagram twice a day, all the things we do to look like we're living instead of actually living. Finding meditation was a big part for me, along with finding a spiritual community and discovering how to be with me -- the good and the bad.”

Despite the film's idyllic retreat setting, pulling double duty as both star and executive producer meant she didn’t get the chance to fully practice what the film preaches. “I didn’t get to relax,” she laughed. “But I have really good self-care in place when I'm working now, which is good, as I didn't use to. I’d burn myself out over and over. Now when I'm working, I don't have distractions. I meditate every day, don't drink, and take care of myself so that I can show up fully. The hours can be long, and to be fully in creative service you have to take care of your body and your soul. In the mornings I’d get up and walk along the lake, then hit this amazing little hiking trail.”

One advantage to being an executive producer on the project was getting to choose her co-star, and while Reeser admits she’s been very lucky in that department, nabbing Walker for the role of Jack was a dream. “From the beginning, he was my No. 1 choice,” she revealed. “We'd been looking for a movie to do together and Andrew was perfect! He's got this great rugged quality. He's authentic, and I loved that his character was written as a male who’s also a nurturer. We don’t get to see that archetype enough and I enjoyed exploring the masculine in that way. I thought Andrew would be perfect, and he was. He’s also a great dad to his two little boys.”

However, another co-star turned out to be a real ham. “Oh, the rescue pig!” she chuckled of the piglet with whom she shares scenes. “We had two, and they were adorable, but gosh, never write a pig into a script as they’re so noisy. We had to voice over every scene because they chat the whole time! We also had to rewrite a lot of their scenes. If you've ever wondered if piglets like to be cuddled, the answer is no. We wanted to make sure they were comfortable, so we kept them on the ground. They were happier and maybe two-percent quieter. But incorporating a rescue element into the story was important.”

Reeser believes viewers will relate to this movie on many levels -- especially the rescue element that goes beyond the piglet. “I think Jack rescues Lauren,” she reflected. “And she rescues him. He's given up moving forward on something important to him, but she encourages him to go after his dream and be out in the world more. I loved how this Hallmark movie does things a little differently.”

Next for the busy actress is a project she’s also thrilled to be a part of, one that unites her with two Hallmark Channel favorite leading ladies. “It’s a trilogy also starring Lacey Chabert and Alison Sweeney with the working title The Wedding Veil,” she shared in closing. “We have a wedding veil that gets passed from friend to friend, so we have three different movies we are each executive producing. That has been a really beautiful experience.”

The 27-Hour Daywill be telecast Saturday, August 7 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel as part of its annual Summer Nights programming event.

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