In the original movie, easygoing former caterer Jenny Fintley (Chabert) co-inherits a quaint bed and breakfast in Bucks County with Wall Street wheeler/dealer Brian Hudson (Elliott). However, life isn’t all roses as the two are soon at loggerheads about everything. “At first we didn’t care for each as people as we inherit this house together,” explained Chabert. “It’s through our differences that we fell in love.”
This new installment of their love story picks up a few months after the original -- and much has changed for the unlikely couple. “We are already very close and deeper in our relationship,” she revealed. “We are in love, engaged and we’re opening the bed-and-breakfast together while trying to plan our wedding -- and there are some obstacles.”
All of My Heart: Inn Love marks the third time Chabert and Elliott (pictured above) have shared the screen for the Hallmark Channel (All of My Heart, A Christmas Melody and now this movie) and like their characters, the actors have also grown close. “Being friends now did make a difference going into [this one],” Chabert said. “In the original Brennan and I didn’t know each other as people. Our paths had crossed about 15 years prior on something but we didn’t really know each other. Now we are even friends with each other’s families. So it kind of worked for that [original] story. We’ve since gotten to know each other as people so that works for this one.
“Working with Brennan is a treat too, and we love playing these characters so much,” she continued. “It was a blast getting to do it again. Honestly it’s such a compliment and I feel blessed to be able to do it [especially] when it’s something that connects with the audience. We do make these movies for them, so when they make it known and are so persistent about wanting more of a particular story it just thrills me.
“Because there’s a lot of respect there it makes for a much more comfortable environment to bring these characters to life,” she added. “It makes it so easy to show up for work because we have that foundation of friendship and trust each other as people and as actors, so it’s fun to play. We shoot these movies in 15 days so it’s a fast pace and when you have the trust of the other actor it just makes for a more stable shoot.”
Since shooting the original All of My Heart much has changed for Chabert, too. In September 2016 she gave birth to a daughter, Julia Mimi Bella, and tells me the role of mom is her greatest achievement yet. “I’ve played a mom a couple of times,” she revealed. “But it’s very different when you have your own. There’s nothing like your own child looking back at you with so much love in their eyes. I can honestly say that becoming a mom has made me a better actor. I’m so much more in touch with my emotions as you just can’t imagine loving someone so much. She actually [had her first birthday] on our last day of filming and for a split second I almost felt guilty that she wasn’t having a party with her friends on that day. We did have a little party at lunch and that meant so much to me.”
Next for Chabert is another Hallmark movie, The Sweetest Christmas (presented as a part of the network’s Countdown to Christmas programming). However, there are two previous characters she’d love to revisit. “A Party of Five reunion would actually be a dream of mine,” she admitted. “To reconnect with everyone and explore those characters all over again. It was such a special experience.”
The other: A sequel to her 2004 monster hit Mean Girls. “That was such a blast and I really appreciate and enjoy that everyone, years later, still quotes that movie,” she laughed. “On a daily basis on social media people tell me how much they love that movie and what it meant to them so I’d absolutely be open to doing something. I’m not sure it will ever happen, but I feel like my character (Gretchen Wieners) would be married by now, have a lot of babies and have taken over the toaster strudel empire.”
All of My Heart: Inn Love premieres Saturday October 7 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
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