Hallmark Channel favorite Lacey Chabert will be back on the network she calls home this weekend in Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe. The film -- a modern-day retelling of the Jane Austin classic novel Pride and Prejudice, based on the book by Melissa de la Cruz -- marks Chabert's sixteenth outing with the Hallmark family. Given her love of the festive season, she was delighted to get a head start by doing the movie. "I am obsessed with Christmas," Chabert said when she sat down for an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "Growing up it was always my favorite time of year and I wished it could be longer. So, the fact I get to experience Christmas from summer onwards is perfect. Typically, we film [the Christmas movies] in the summer, then I promote them around Thanksgiving, and I just love it. I can't get enough Christmas!"
In the film, Chabert stars as financial advisor Darcy Fitzwilliam, who upon returning to her hometown for the holidays is thrown into a whirlwind of charity event planning for her mother’s Christmas charity gala. However, there's a downside: Darcy is forced to work alongside her high school debate team nemesis Luke Bennett (Brendan Penny, pictured at top woth Chabert). As the two attempt to develop a cohesive working rapport both start to feel a connection, which has them reconsidering the hasty judgments made in high school and Darcy re-evaluating her entire life.
"I'm always attracted to the question, ‘What is the character’s journey and where is the heart in the story?’" Chabert said of the appeal of the project. "I always have to connect to the heart of the story to really bring it to life. In this one in particular my character is at a crossroads in her life. She's a successful financial adviser, but something is missing. So, what better way to assess her life than go home for the holidays, step back and unplug?
"Luke ends up bringing out a different side to Darcy and she finds herself laughing so much more again," she continued. "He really gets to her heart and she realizes what they have is something that's missing in her other relationship. She discovers a lot and sees him in a new light. I love how playful they are together and that they have this really fun banter. It's a sweet movie."
Despite their on-screen animosity, Chabert revealed that off-screen her relationship with Penny couldn't have been more different. "Brendan and I laughed so much together," she smiled. "He was such a joy to work with. We'd get into these giggle fits that we couldn't stop. It was such a fun set and I think that translates to the screen. It's great to laugh after a take as it brings your senses to life and helps you connect with the other person."
One person whom Chabert is making sure she connects with is her two-year-old daughter Julia, who accompanies her on locations like Ontario where the film was shot. "It's such an ideal situation for me and I am so grateful," she said. "The movies shoot in three weeks, and for the most part I'm able to bring her on set or have her nearby. I don't want to miss a minute of being a mom, but at the same time my career is incredibly important to me and being fulfilled in that way makes me a better mother.
"It's also an example I want to set for her," she added. "It's hard to have it all at the same time and while I'm doing my best, the juggle is real. It's probably not always perfect, and there's a lot of 'mom guilt' that comes with it, but it's the same struggle every working mom has. I am very thankful I've been able to continue my career, but obviously, she is my No. 1 priority."
When it comes to the holidays, Chabert is a little busy. She's headed to Belgium in December with her family to film a Hallmark Channel Valentine’s Day project. "It's a place I always wanted to visit and it's going to be so magical as it will be holiday time," she said. Then it's home to the South for Christmas Eve. "Christmas for me really is like a Hallmark movie," she laughed. "I go home, disconnect, spend time with the family and talk about the year that passed. One of the things I do love about holiday traditions is they make me feel like a child again and really give me a sense of nostalgia."
She's also hopeful that Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe will become a holiday tradition for others. "I genuinely mean this," she began in closing. "It's incredibly rewarding to be a part of something that brings joy and happiness into people's living rooms for a couple of hours. I consider that an honor, so the thought that maybe I'm a part of someone else's tradition by being one of their favorite movies would make me so happy. Especially now as a mom, my world perspective has changed and I am even more grateful to be a part of something that's so positive."
Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoeis telecast Friday,November 23, 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel aspart of its Countdown to Christmas programming event.
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