Disney Channel alumna Kyla Pratt made her Lifetime Christmas movie debut last year in The Christmas Pact, a heartwarming story that asked the question: Can next-door neighbors fall in love? (Hindsight spoiler alert - - they did!) This year Pratt returns to the network, starring in another holiday tale of young love, No Time Like Christmas, opposite Ed Ruttle. (The two are pictured at top.) With two Christmas movies in as many years, is this becoming an annual tradition for the talented young actor? “I don’t know, maybe?” she laughed when MediaVillage recently spoke with her about the project. “The Christmas Pact was my first experience with Lifetime, and such a great one, so this time it was kind of like, ‘How could you not want to be a part of this family, especially during this time?’”
No Time Like Christmas tells the enchanting tale of Emma (Pratt), an advertising copywriter who visits a vintage jewelry shop and stumbles upon a watch she had engraved for the college boyfriend she let go years later. Believing it’s a sign, her sister concocts a plan to have the two “encounter” one another at a Vermont bed and breakfast, knowing Emma’s ex, Fletcher (Ruttle), now a successful stage director, will be staying there while in town to work on the annual Christmas show. When the couple finally re-connects, Emma is surprised to also meet Fletcher’s daughter Lola (Sophia Bachart), and soon finds herself enlisted to help with the theatrical production, including writing an original song. Emma also needs to complete an important work assignment, and with familiar old feelings of love getting in the way, the race against (and for) time is on.
When Pratt took on this project, it was the opportunity to again create some Christmas magic that most appealed to her, along with some relatable parallels to filming it. “In the film, my character has 16 days to create something, and we shoot these movies in about the same amount of time,” she explained. “So, it was a little stressful, but like my character Emma, I enjoy a challenge. I came onto the film right before they started shooting, so it was like, ‘We have to get you ready to travel.’ Having kids, I had to get all of that situated, so taking on this character, who basically had the same type of thing going on, was very relatable.
“I also thought it would be exciting,” she added. “I loved the whole concept of the Christmas watch. I loved the back story of the relationship between her and Fletcher. While reading the script I kept saying, ‘When are you two going to be together? I was yelling at the pages! I'm not saying if they do or not, because it might not work out, but during that process I realized how interesting it was for me to read, and that it would be for the viewer, as well. Also, my character had to sing. That was scary, but I'm like, anything scary, run towards it! You have to challenge yourself, so it was hard not to say yes.”
The film's musical element, as intimidating as it was, ended up making the project even more appealing to Pratt. “The original song I perform in this the movie is beautiful,” she said. “It makes you feel warm inside and happy. For me, the holidays are about spending time with my family, and I make sure to teach my kids it’s not all about the presents. It's about the energy and the time you're spending with your family and loved ones, telling stories, keeping Christmas traditions.”
Speaking of traditions, Pratt recalled that her family gathered together last year to watch The Christmas Pact, an experience she describes as “crazy” but fun. “I was like, ‘Hey kids, look at this movie that mommy did,’ and my kids, who are six, nine and 12, asked, ‘Who is that boy?’ They’re daddy's girls, so I reminded them it’s just pretend!”
In closing Pratt told me she’s not sure if Christmas movies will be all she ever does for Lifetime. But whatever is on offer, she’s happy to oblige. “I have no problem doing anything for them,” she said. “I've gotten so much love and respect from Lifetime, that I’ll do Christmas and beyond.”
No Time Like Christmaswill be telecast October 27 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
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