Husband and wife Eric Winter and Roselyn Sanchez have been married for over ten years, and while the couple has previously worked together in a producing capacity, sharing the screen had eluded them. That changes this weekend with the premiere of the Hallmark Channel original movie A Taste of Summer, part of the network’s annual Summer Nights programming event. The film marks Winter’s fourth Hallmark film (if you count his two Hallmark Hall of Fame movies), and Sanchez’s first, so what took the couple so long? “We had talked about if and when we were going to act together,” Winter told MediaVillage in an exclusive interview. “It had to be the right thing and something fun and cute that was a family affair, and that's what this was like. Our son and daughter could join us, so they were on set and able to be a part of the experience. That was important and a big part of the decision. The Hallmark audience is a great fan base and very supportive, so it all just felt like the right fit.”
“For me, this was my first Hallmark movie, and it was more about the first time doing something together, and if we are going to, let's do something suitable for our daughter to watch,” echoed Sanchez. “With Hallmark, everyone knows that they are positive feel-good movies, clean and very beautiful. We never really planned on acting together unless it was something very special. We’d talked about producing more than anything, as we both have independent careers. Then this came along and we thought, ‘You know what? This would be something to sit down and watch as a family without freaking out that the material wouldn't be suitable.’”
In the film, Sanchez stars as Gabby, a sous chef making some monumental life changes. After dumping a noncommittal boyfriend, and leaving her job at a Manhattan eatery, she heads to New England to regroup and enjoy some much-needed family time. Once there, Gabby’s realtor sister starts convincing her to take the biggest plunge of her life -- open her own restaurant. Unsure if her type of cuisine would appeal to the locals, she embarks on a fact-finding expedition that leads her to Delaney’s Coastal Grille and its cocky, handsome owner Caleb (Winter). While there is an undeniable attraction, the restauranteurs are soon sparring partners, and the competition for business is not their only battle. Realizing she needs to make a name for herself, Gabby enters the annual Taste of Summer Festival, where the grand prize, and some prestigious press, would be perfect additions to her menu. However, with Caleb also in the competition, she might soon be serving leftovers.
According to the couple, that “competition” through line played perfectly into their own competitive natures. “In real life, it's just our personalities,” laughed Sanchez. “We have game nights with our friends, and Eric is much more competitive than me when it comes to that kind of thing. So, we do get into crazy banter and fight over that, but only because he gets crazy out of control. It's always in fun.”
“We did a competition once for fun on [ABC’s since-cancelled] The Chew,” added Winter. “We were promoting our children's book at the time and we had to do a competition about who could prepare all these baby things faster. Like making lunch and a swaddle, it was fun, but was also a mess, which is pretty normal. Oh, and I won!”
Both also admitted to finding a few other character traits that added to their “good fit.”
“I liked that Gabby is a go-getter,” shared Sanchez. “She's at that point in life where she wants to do something that makes sense and fulfills her. So, she went for it and that's something I've done for my entire life. I want to be happy, follow my dreams and go for it. I understood her soul and that made the whole thing enjoyable for me.”
“I'm a very simple person, just like Caleb,” added Winter. “Even though I'm from LA, I related to Caleb's small-town sensibility. I grew up playing sports like him. That was a massive part of my life and what helped shape me, so I completely understood him. I also liked how Gabby helps Caleb realize his full potential, and I'm sure that something we share in real life with the things that Rosalyn has helped and pushed me to accomplish.”
While Sanchez couldn’t have been happier to join the Hallmark family in a such a comfortable environment, there were concerns. “Everyone was lovely, but the biggest thing was it was the first time we'd acted together,” she revealed. “The Hallmark audience is very specific, and know what they like, so we were hoping that they would embrace, for the first time, a biracial couple who just happen to be married in real life, and a lead actress with an accent. It was a lot of stuff behind the scenes, hoping it was all going to work. This was a bit of a leap for Hallmark and we hope that it's effective and the audience likes it.”
The couple hopes that Hallmarkies enjoy their on-screen chemistry. “I can just imagine all these people on social media saying they had no chemistry, and that would be horrible!” laughed Sanchez.
In closing, the couple revealed that finally working opposite each other on set provided some new insights. “I would always tease Roselyn about how professional she was on set,” admitted Winter. “I like to screw around, and I kept asking her why she looked so angry.”
“I’d tell him I wasn't angry at all, I was just concentrating and trying to work,” Sanchez said. “He was trying to keep everyone laughing so much that one of the producers actually complained. That's how bad he was.”
A Taste of Summer will be telecast Saturday, August 10 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel as part of the network’s annual Summer Nights programming event.
Click on the social media tiles above or below to share this content with your friends and colleagues.
The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively those of the author and/or subject(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet, Inc. management or associated bloggers.