Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is giving viewers a double dose of new sleuths with the premiere Sunday of Nikki & Nora: Sister Sleuths. The film stars Rhiannon Fish (pictured above right) as Nora and Hunter King (above left) as Nikki, estranged fraternal twins who inherit a small private detective agency courtesy of a mysterious benefactor. Nora, a successful lawyer; and Nikki, a struggling actor, are already at odds with one another -- trying to agree on how to best liquidate their newfound asset only makes matters worse. Nikki is out to make a much-needed fast dollar, while Nora really doesn't want to be bothered with any of it. It's only after discovering the dead body of an associate from Nora's law firm that they realize their windfall could be the start of something new.
For Fish, who has a string of Hallmark Media movies to her credit, stepping into the lead role of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries project was something she jumped at. "Honestly, I love any excuse to do a mystery movie," she said during an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "I've always loved that film genre. I’m constantly watching things like When a Sociopath Cracks Under Pressure on YouTube. I love all the true crime of stuff and watching the interrogation room videos that are also all over YouTube, which means I'm scared all the time. I recently bought extra locks for my doors because the more I watch, the more I'm sure everybody is a murderer. I don't think it's good for me, but I love this kind of stuff.
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"When I discovered the story was about two sisters, that to me was greater than any love story that has ever been written," she continued. "To me, a sister relationship, especially twins, is one I think is incredibly special. I also liked that these [sisters] are polar opposites as human beings. There's something that exists between siblings, especially twins, that we just can't explain. There's kind of a soul connection these two characters share, which I very much felt with Hunter. It was very cool to explore that kind of relationship with somebody that I very much have that feeling for in real life."
Fish hadn't worked with King beforehand, and despite their characters being at odds throughout most of the film, their off-screen friendship was instant. "We met for the first time at a read-through we did with our director Kevin Fair," she recalled. "It was a few days before we started filming, and we instantly hit it off! It was easily the easiest chemistry I've ever had with anybody on screen. If we're lucky enough to keep this going for as long as I hope to, being so close to her is a blessing. I do consider Hunter to, literally, be my best friend."
In addition to co-starring with her new friend, Fish enjoyed exploring the complexities of her character, and trying something new. "Nora is sort of tough, but has a soft side," she explained. "She's very sensible, whereas Nikki is on the other end of that spectrum. I usually play the more bubbly and excitable characters, maybe a little goofy. It was cool to play this badass woman, which I would love to be, and not necessarily how I feel! Our director wanted this to be a story about badass women. We set that up in the opening shot, and I [loved] being the high-powered lawyer. It's not something I usually play, and not something I feel in my day-to-day life.
"Nora also has a sensitive side," Fish added. "It was cool to explore the idea, which I feel very deeply about. I wouldn't say I’m closed off, but I don't get emotional in front of anybody. My sister is one of those people that will ask, 'Are you okay?' She's that someone we all have in our lives who asks, and you instantly start crying. Nora has built up a wall because she had to. She lost both parents, then in a very real way lost her twin. We do see a whole lot of other bad things happen to Nora, so it was nice to have Nikki be the one to let [Nora] break a little bit. This script is very well written and while any trauma is never a good experience, that [aspect] was really beautiful and very honest."
It's undeniable that Nikki & Nora: Sister Sleuths brings a refreshing youth element to the network, and with this being her ninth project for Hallmark Media, it holds a special place for Fish. "Often you make movies, and you never know where they will air," she explained. "While I played the leads in A Splash of Love and Journey of My Heart, this was the first movie I've made that was greenlit by Hallmark. I couldn't have been happier. There's something special and magical about their films. While there's always a place for the movies where everything is going to be okay, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is a little different. But at the end of the day, there's always love and goodness, whereas in the world, it's not [always] like that.
"I do believe there's a special place for these movies," she reflected in closing. "Having the opportunity to come into the Hallmark family is something I'm so grateful for, and I so hope this movie resonates with the audience so we can do more. We have so many great future undercover ideas -- I hope it's not the last we see of these sisters."
Nikki & Nora: Sister Sleuths will be telecast Sunday, October 2 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
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