Roger Cross on Exploring His Humorous Side in Hallmark Channel's "All Saints Christmas"

By Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Archives
Cover image for  article: Roger Cross on Exploring His Humorous Side in Hallmark Channel's "All Saints Christmas"

Since the start of his career some 20 years ago, popular Canadian actor Roger Cross has spent much of his on-screen time in the drama-filled sci-fi and crime realms. The actor, (who might be most recognizable for his stints on Fox's 24 and The CW/CBC series The Coroner) made his Hallmark Channel debut this past August with a supporting role in Game, Set, Love, but takes center stage this weekend as a leading man in All Saints Christmas, opposite Grammy Award-winning singer Ledisi. With this project, he gets to display his comedic talents, while entering the wonderful world of Hallmark Christmas; something he says was about time. "Over the last few years, I've gone from series to series to series," he explained during an exclusive MediaVillage interview. "Whether it was doing The Coroner, right into The Strain, then right into Dark Matter, it's just been a hectic schedule. Then in my off-season, I'd do an indie movie or something I've been waiting to do.

"The timing worked out for this," he continued. "I was scheduled to start another series, but production on that was suddenly pulled. So, when [this] came about, I was like, 'Why not? I've never done one of these [Christmas] movies. Let's have some fun,' which it was. A lot of the characters I've played have been quite heavy and dramatic, and while I love that, it's nice to be the sweet, nice guy and be out there and happy. That really was a nice change, as I'm not a very serious person. Oh, and my son (Gabriel) did a Christmas movie when he was about 10, before me. So, I had to do this as I love Christmas and always have. Having kids, it's so much fun to see Christmas through their eyes."

In the film, Cross portrays record producer Matthew Myles, the former flame of Lisette Toussaint (Ledisi), a hugely successful R&B singer. The two less than harmoniously separated two years ago, but after a chance encounter, the exes find themselves embroiled in a miscommunication that has the Internet believing they are engaged. With Lisette's career at a crossroads, the renewed social media interest provides her with a resurgence. To help seal the deal, Matthew agrees to go along with the ruse and accompany her to her parent's Christmas gathering, where their old flame begins to reignite.

For Cross, exercising his funny bone ignited an interest in doing more romantic comedies. "I've done a few in the past and always really enjoy [them]," he said. "I'm not the slapstick guy, but I love circumstantial comedy and how amid [some] dark moments, you can find levity. Even with some of my serious characters, I can find moments where I'll throw in some levity or something a little strange. I'll always ask, 'Well, what if he just kind of said something weird here?' And most of the time they're like, 'Yeah, go with that.' It just adds another layer and dimension to [a] character.

"Comedy is a part of life," he added. "[You] can be crying one minute about something terrible, and then all of a sudden you go, 'Oh my gosh, wipe that off your face.' Then you laugh. You know, it's okay to laugh. It keeps us going, and that's life! So, I love it!"

Cross enjoyed working with Ledisi (an executive producer on the film), who as a relative newcomer to the acting world was open to any advice he could offer. "I never saw her as an EP or a boss," he shared. "She was wonderful in that she said, 'Listen, this is still new to me, and I want to learn. So, anything you can do to help me, please do.' She was very gracious. She also said, 'I know singing. That's my world. Acting is your world, so, help me if you can.' That's one thing about the arts; you have your bosses most definitely, but it's about the work. You put that hierarchy in its place and forget about it because in the scene if you're supposed to be the vulnerable one, even if you're the boss or whatever, you have to be that vulnerable person. She is a talent."

In one scene in the film, Cross brings the humor by really embodying the spirit of Christmas and donning a Santa suit. Believe it or not, he felt right at home in it. "That was great," he laughed. "We used to host these Christmas parties where I actually played Santa and would entertain our friends. It started as a joke when we'd do a Secret Santa thing and then it just became something we did each year. So, the suit is always fun."

While shooting on location in New Orleans, he got to hear first-hand just how beloved Hallmark Christmas films are. "Shooting on Bourbon Street was a treat," he recalled. "I love New Orleans, and thankfully it was the off-season so it wasn't as [crazy] as it can get. But people came up and said, 'Oh my gosh, this is fun. We know you guys. We love this, and we love Hallmark movies! So, we had some bystanders in the film, and in some camera pans you see people watching us as we were shooting."

Continuing his association with Hallmark Media is something Cross wants, as he's thrilled to be a part of their expansion of diverse storytelling. "We do live in a diverse society," he reflected in closing. "You have to show diversity and I'm happy to be a part of it. Hopefully one day it won't even be that thing we need to talk about because it's just commonplace."

All Saints Christmas will be telecast Sunday, November 6 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel as part of its annual Countdown to Christmas programming event.

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