Josie Bissett and Jack Wagner are costarring again in Hallmark's My Boyfriend's Back: Wedding March 5.
They've had the opportunity to work more closely together with their collaborations on the Wedding March film franchise and When Calls the Heart than they did when costarring on Melrose Place.
Their ever-growing connection makes their on-screen characters sizzle, and sharing a conversation with them is utterly delightful.
What is it like having such a long and successful working relationship like you two do?
Josie: I just feel so blessed, it's amazing. I mean we, Jack and I, didn't get to work a lot with each other during our Melrose days.
First we knew each other, but our characters didn't cross paths much, and so knowing each other as well as we do and getting to know each other on a different level -- the amount that we're working together and creating these amazing wedding march movies -- it's kind of like a dream come true for me as an actress.
Jack: I agree, it's sort of like a rebirth of an old friendship that was sort of just a casual friendship, right Josie, and Melrose, because we didn't have bed scenes, we didn't have really intense storylines together.
And then now to come together for these romantic comedies, I think we're both beyond happy and grateful to play something lighthearted and fun-loving than have obstacles that these characters overcome and that we can collaborate on.
In many romantic stories the characters only get to the starting line before the credits roll, but with the Wedding March movies, you two have been able to explore these characters through many different phases of an adult relationship.
What has that been like, especially since you've been in the business for so long, to bring this relationship to fruition?
Jack: First of all, can I tell you that's one of the best questions I've ever had asked?
Josie: I know.
Jack: That was a really great question. I think that's a great word, explore, and that's the opportunity I think Josie and I will agree we've had.
I mean we get to really explore, and given the fact that I'm executive producer and we really know the directors we hire so well, we collaborate a lot on set. We really are able to kind of work the material and be honest with one another in terms of “Wow, I think we can get more meat on the bone here; I think we've got an opportunity here.”
So yes, it has been a real exploration of how these characters can evolve and grow. How can we make each movie to raise the bar?
Josie: That's right, and the other thing, too, is these five movies that we've done and completed, they were not all planned out, so each script we do is sort of a new exploration in itself because when we finish one, we're not sure if we're doing another one. Does that makes sense?
Absolutely. And what do you like the most about the relationship that they share?
Josie: I love the fact that they're like any other relationship in real life, where there's ups and downs and tears and good times and bac and all of that; it's just real. That's what Hallmark does best.
I love playing more realistic things as an actress because I can obviously connect more to that, as opposed to sci-fi, that would be my worst nightmare.
Jack: I have loved the obstacles. That what I love about this franchise, these Wedding March movies, and I think the first four were really about, and I think most people can relate to this, that man, we are in a rough patch. This is a rough patch, right?
And the obstacles have really been more about Mick not getting his needs met or getting things the way he wants them, and Olivia's sort of standing her ground as an adult saying, be patient. So I think, finally, in The Wedding March 5, they've reached a common ground, and that's what I think gives us a lot more charm, lightheartedness, and really a beautiful ending.
You know, the way I see it, there are at least five more movies that you can make in the series before you run out of weddings for both family and friends.
Josie: It really could go on and on.
Are you both willing to do as many more movies as Hallmark will allow?
Josie: Absolutely, we just love it. We have so much fun and all the actors that do it, that play other characters all just enjoy it so much, and the crew and everyone, we have the best time. We sometimes just feel like we're not even working; it's just so wonderful.
Jack: True, and the whole germination of this franchise was really about how to create a Love Boat, a wedding lodge that facilitates weddings, and all of a sudden it turned into this couple, Mick and Olivia, and their story and how they've evolved.
Now, as you can see, the leads are more about the wedding party, about what happened with them. We're kind of the backstory and then become the main story by the end of The Wedding March 5, so that actually is a great question, and that has been the goal; how do we create something that has a lot of legs?
And even after they get married, is there more room there, is there more meat on the bone for the franchise, to also have different obstacles that enter their lives as a married couple, running the wedding lodge, family members, the different wedding parties.
And so we'll see, the goal is to, how do we raise the bar every movie to make it charming, interesting, romantic yet with the same sort of chaos that comes along with weddings.
It's not the first time that it would be done, but have you or Hallmark entertained the idea of making Wedding March into an ongoing, episodic series rather than a movie franchise?
Josie: We would love that.
Jack: I think that's sort of what it is though, right Josie? If you think about it, we've done ten episodes, two hours each, but I don't know if it really hasn't been talked about, but I think we're pretty satisfied.
We tried to do a Valentine's movie, to be really honest, and it didn't go so well, so they really feel that this being just part of a June weddings month. For right now that is where it's going to have its biggest value for Hallmark and ourselves.
Well I was asking because The Good Witch started just like that with pretty much Halloween franchise movies, and it moved successfully to a series, so I'm just going to put that ear bug in there in case you're interested.
You also have genuine chemistry that's been addressed on the other Hallmark series, When Calls the Heart.
Josie, has there been any talks about your returning as AJ?
Josie: I think right now they're just getting their legs back underneath of them, and so I think there might be talk, but I just don't know for sure. Jack probably can address that a little bit more.
And I'm assuming you're returning, right Jack?
Jack: Yeah, I am.
Jack: Yes, I am returning. Judge Bill now, he went from sheriff to judge. As you can see he deputizes himself at any moment and goes out and chases bad guys. I love that part of him.
Yeah, that makes me laugh.
Jack: There was talk about it, I really just think that it's so important that the show started to re-air, and now the numbers have maintained where they are, incredibly, and it's the number one scripted series on cable, which is phenomenal.
What the next season holds, I have no idea. We just finished the final episode Sunday.
And so I do hope there's romance for Bill, and I would love for it to be AJ. There's so much romance going on now, it's truly going to be up to Hallmark and the writers, but I think it would be a great go to if Josie had more story arcs on When Calls the Heart.
Even if it wasn't romance, the capers that they got into together really added some pizazz to just otherwise romance.
Jack: Well it was, they kind of banter like a married couple, and it's like this and that and there's a kiss at the end of every time she's taken away to jail.
And Henry is getting his swan song of, , he's being redeemed, so I figure AJ can certainly be redeemed.
Jack: Oh absolutely, she's done her time, and she comes into Abigail's Café and she says she can cook and doesn't know how to light a stove.
Do you two have any plans to do anything else together?
Josie: Well right now our plate's pretty full with getting the next Wedding March going, and if that ever ends I hope that we do.
Jack: Yeah, right now it's truly a nice comfortable body of work, The Wedding March every June it seems to fir their slot, and that's where we are right now.
What can you tease for my readers about what they can expect in The Wedding March 5?
Josie: Go ahead Jack.
Jack: I would just make it real simple. That this is the fifth movie, and Mick and Olivia are finally getting to a place of deeper love and a deeper commitment.
My final question is, do you write any of the music that you get to play on the show? Or how involved are you? Because I know you're a musician, and you've done that throughout your life as well. How involved are you with that, Jack?
Jack: Well, completely. It's all my music, I write it all. I either play it live, or I prerecord it, even the song that was done in the rehearsal dance and then the wedding itself is something that I'd written and then I just went in and reproduced an instrumental of it with no vocals.
So all the music that Mick does is all Jack Wagner music, either from my past or something that I've written for the movie.
That's beautiful, and I love whenever you two sing together.
Josie: Oh, thank you.
Jack: Josie did you hear that?
Josie: I did.
Well it's about the love between them. Even if you're not entirely comfortable it doesn't matter because the characters are in love.
Josie: I was more comfortable.
Jack: She was more comfortable, but just to share with you, [chuckles] we are so open and honest with each other that she can say, “you know, I'm kinda thinking that this line reading is a little off, if you tried that,” and I'm like, “Okay.”
If I say anything about the music, her singing, if I give her a suggestion, she goes “Shut up and leave me alone; shut up and leave me alone.”
I can understand that.
Josie: [laughing] I know because then you get into your head, right? What did you say to me? “Don't harmonize.” For me to even try to harmonize, that's a big step; he just talks me down.
Jack: She'll be singing along, and then all of a sudden we'll be in the take and I'll see Josie watching my lips to make sure she remembers the words, and she's got it down completely, but when we do it live she's like, "it's so hard when you're not a singer to try to sing."
Josie: [still laughing] It is so true.
Jack: It's so cute though.
Josie: You know exactly what spot that I wasn't sure about, I don't know why. It was "Oooo," never mind. [laughs]
Jack: It's almost like when you're a kid and you're singing along with everyone else and you don't know the words, you go [mumbles incoherent lyrics]
Josie: [everyone laughing] That's so true.
In addition to Bissett and Wagner, My Boyfriend's Back: Wedding March 5 stars Cindy Busby, Tyler Hines, Aaron Pearl, Sunita Prasad, Lane Edwards, Nelson Wong, Marci T. Houser, Fabian Gujral, and John Innes.
Written by Kim Beyer-Johnson and directed by Mike Rohl, Jack Wagner also serves as one of the Executive Producers.
Wedding March 5 airs Sunday, June 8 at 9/8c on Hallmark and re-airs throughout the coming weeks.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.