Hot on the heels and outsize success of Marrying Mr. Darcy, which has rapidly become Hallmark Channel’s highest-rated and most-watched “June Weddings” premiere ever, the network's annual celebration of love and marriage continues Saturday with another sequel. This time Hallmark reunites Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith (pictured at top and below), the stars of last year’s hit The Perfect Bride, for The Perfect Bride: Wedding Bells --and as with the cast of Mr. Darcy, the stars of Perfect are thanking the fans for the chance to continue their love story. “It's almost a year to the day the first one premiered and a sequel is something you never fully know about,” Hutton told MediaVillage in an exclusive interview. “But almost immediately after the first one aired and was so warmly received Kavan and I started brainstorming ideas for the sequel and started talking to Hallmark about it. It was all very casual but we were all throwing around ideas; whether it would work and whether there actually was a next chapter in these characters’ story. Sometimes there isn’t, but we felt like there was more to tell and in January it was cemented.
“It was absolutely a collaborative effort in the best possible way,” Hutton continued. “Everyone was so positive and so on board to create something wonderful. The movie has a real sense of fun and levity and I truly believe that’s something you can't get if people don't genuinely like each other. Kavan and I are very close friends and we work really well together. We share the same style and approach to work so it's a very symbiotic relationship.”
Wedding Bells picks up a year after former marriage counselor turned trainer Molly (Hutton) and boyfriend Nick (Smith) met. She wants to buy the gym she trains at while he’s forgone his career as a wedding photographer in favor of creating photographic art and holding his first gallery exhibition. All is perfect for the couple, and when Nick proposes to Molly she’s thrilled. That’s until a mix up with the date booked for the wedding venue has the couple rushing to the altar.
“Where we pick up we are very connected in our relationship,” Hutton explained. “They’ve passed the dating stage, their careers are taking off and it appears everything is amazing. The engagement is wonderful, but then they’re faced with challenge after challenge so [the movie] has that theme of ‘what is perfect?’ Is it attempting to attain your dream at all costs? Or is it more important to just go along for the ride and let the chips fall where they may? They go back and forth trying to figure out what is the definition of perfect for them.”
Hutton told me in real life she’s a “let the chips fall where they may kind of girl.” She’s never had much success trying to control or manipulate situations into being perfect and has found the best moments in life are the spontaneous ones. She’s about to celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary and could absolutely relate to the stresses of planning the perfect wedding. “Anyone who says planning a wedding isn’t stressful is lying,” she laughed. “I had a very small wedding at our lakeside cabin, my husband and I wanted it to be intimate and simple. But it's hard to factor in things like my in-laws trying to sneak in extra people! Did they think we wouldn't notice the strangers?”
Playing Molly again was a treat for Hutton. “There's a realism to her,” she said. “She's not this pristine character who's always doing the right thing and making the perfect choice. She kind of has a little chaos in the mix and that makes it interesting for me. Some of her has rubbed off on me. Her grace under pressure is a beautiful thing and something everyone can learn from.”
In fact, Hutton so loves the character that she and Smith are already batting around ideas for a third installment. She’s also thrilled with her ongoing relationship with Hallmark. In July production starts on the sixth season of her series When Calls the Heart, and thankfully that has her working close to home. “Hallmark came at a time in my life when it was the right network, the right show and subsequently the movies,” she recalled. “My family is my priority. I have two young children. I'm very much in Vancouver [where we shoot] and Hallmark and the #Hearties are so supportive. Both Erin (Krakow) and Lori (Loughlin) on When Calls are incredibly close friends. I feel I’ve come to a point in my career where I truly appreciate gifts like that, so to be able to work on [the show] and for a network that truly understands that is truly a blessing. When all those elements align you have to really appreciate those moments.”
The Perfect Bride: Wedding Bellswill be telecast Saturday, June 9 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
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