This is the second part of our interview with Andrew Walker.
We chatted with him in advance of Sweet Autumn, which closed out the Fall Harvest series on Hallmark Channel and for Christmas Tree Lane, the first Miracles of Christmas movie, airing this Saturday.
Be sure you check out the first part of our interview with Andrew, if you missed it, and settle in and enjoy our first talk about Christmas for the season!
Let's talk about your first Miracles of Christmas movie, Christmas Tree Lane. Can you tell us a little bit about the movie and your character, Nate?
Sure. Christmas Tree Lane is your quintessential Hallmark movie. It has a big developer planning on coming in to take over the little guy, and Alicia Witt's character is putting on a benefit concert to save this block of businesses that her family's been a part of for 40, 50 years, a music store owned by her family.
And so, with that kind of quintessential Christmas story, Alicia's incorporated her music into that. So that's what really stands out for me or what will stand out for viewers for this movie, just seeing Alicia's original music and how talented she is on the piano and vocals.
And also for me, it was nostalgic because I grew up in a big musical family. All our holidays were based around music. So it's going to be a great story. Something familiar to people, but with an added bonus of having the music incorporated.
My character, Nate, and I said this in a previous interview, it's kind of one of those things where it's interesting playing a character that you feel is a little similar to you and the things that I try to improve on myself because I'm always busy. I'm always doing something, and it takes a lot for me to sit in my stew in whatever my issues could be that day or the month.
And so, I fill my time with just projects. And I feel like Nate was very similar to me in that regard. And when I thought about Nate, I was like, "Wow, this is interesting, because Nate is so busy." He's trying to appease a lot of people, including his father.
He's stuck between Alicia's character's music store and the history and also falling in love with this girl. He's quickly realizing that he has to drop this news to her, that his father is going to be taking over or developing the businesses in that area.
It was almost like therapy in a way, where I tried to improve on myself as I was working on this character. And also, it was the first project back after COVID.
So I think we were all kind of going through some sort of transition or just things that we were processing, coming out of COVID and having this opportunity to work and to have our masks off and to kind of live a somewhat normal life in a way, to get back to work and what we had been doing months before.
I felt so honored that I was able to be the first person back with Alicia on this movie.
So was it any different? I mean, obviously, it's different. But I mean, the atmosphere, did it change at all, the making of the movie, or just the production of the movie?
Yeah. You know what? Outside of people having masks on and being a little bit more respectful of distance, no. I mean, everyone was just getting back to work. And I think the one big difference was how grateful people were.
I think that that's the positive that have really come from COVID, that people that have the opportunity to get back to doing what they were doing before have a sense of gratitude. And that's kind of what was the world of the movie was. The model of the movie was just gratitude.
You and Alicia have both have done a lot of Hallmark movies. What was it like being two seasoned vets and getting together in your movies for the first time?
Well, I love that about Hallmark. And a lot of the fans, they love seeing the chemistry between people, and they have these ideas of like, "Oh, well, put this person with that person. I wonder what that's going to turn out like." And it's funny and fun, because ultimately, the stories all end the same way, but kind of how you get there is always different.
Obviously, I've been very aware of Alicia's career. I think she's a phenomenal actress. I didn't even realize how talented of a musician she was. So to have the opportunity to play alongside her in this movie was a real treat.
She's so versatile. And I think what was so cool about working with Alicia too, is that she and I, we improved a couple scenes. We threw away the lines a couple times, and we knew where the scene had to go because we had just done little tweaks here and there.
But sometimes, the through-line or that one through-line of the story may have changed, or you haven't touched on it in a certain scene where you feel like you have to remind the viewers of this very prominent part of the story in a scene.
So we just knew in a couple of scenes, that we had to like bring up a subject matter or do a callback on something. We both knew this, and we both trusted each other in where we're going to go with it.
And Alicia was also an executive producer on this movie. So I just tried to bring my A game and make her feel like she chose the right guy for the role.
Everybody always says that Hallmark is so respectful of everybody and their craft. And it's so nice to hear that you get that leeway with two people who have done this so many times and know so well how it goes, to just be able to make those little tweaks. That's really impressive.
It's really amazing. I think that's also what quenches my craving for creativity when I'm doing these Hallmark movies because it isn't just an act. I'm not just coming at it from an actor's perspective. I'm coming at it from a producer, director and actor, writer's perspective, even though I've never had an interest to direct or even write for that matter.
But when I am jumping in these projects, I want to make it the best project it can possibly be. And I think Hallmark now, after, I guess, 21 movies that I've done with them, trusts my and a lot of the female actresses that they continue to hire to come in and give their input.
Yeah, it's awesome. Whereas another network just wouldn't. You know? So I really appreciate that.
Are there any movies that you've done in the past that you would love to revisit?
I had a two-episode arc on When Calls the Heart, and I played a character named Billy Hamilton, and I loved that character so much.
I had so much fun with him. Originally, I had tested for just like a few weeks before I got offered to come up and play Billy Hamilton. I tested for the Mountie, and Daniel ended up getting the role.
I got a call afterwards from one of the producers. And he said, "Hey, Andrew, I loved your audition. We definitely want to have you on the show. Would you want to come up and play a bad guy, just coming into town and kind of ruffling some feathers?" And I said, "Yeah, I'd love that."
So I had no idea what the character was going to entail. And when I got the script, I had this idea in my head, he's kind of like a Bill the Butcher type guy.
And so, I tried to change the cadence of my voice a little bit. I grew a mustache. I was allowed to keep the mustache. I had the boiler hat. I loved wearing that old-world clothing and just that character was so much fun to me.
I would love to revisit and kind of hone in a little bit more the details of him. Because booked it, and then I was on camera maybe three, four days after I booked the role and did two episodes. And then I was done with him. And I think a lot of fans were done with him as well, because they called me, "The skunk."
But I would love to get an opportunity to come back and play Billy Hamilton again. That'd be a lot of fun. And another character, I think, any other TV shows? No, I think Billy's kind of one of these that is really at the forefront of somebody I'd like to revisit, for sure, revisit and refine.
And is there anybody within the Hallmark talent pool that you would love to share the screen with that you haven't had the opportunity yet?
Yeah, Candace Cameron Bure. I'd love to play alongside her. I know we've chatted. We talk on a regular basis, through text message and social media and stuff. And so, she'd be a lot of fun, I think, to play opposite.
Jen Lilley and Autumn Reeser. I think those three, for sure, are standouts for me.
And just on a personal note. What are you most looking forward to as we roll into the holiday season during this rather strange year?
I'm looking forward to spending time with my family, my immediate family. I'm going back to Montreal until the holidays with my family.
We've never had the opportunity to spend that much time back there. And so, just spend time with my immediate family. I think that's something that I think a lot of people have really realized the importance of during this tough year. So family is everything.
I already mentioned at the beginning of this interview that I consider you one of TV's boyfriends. So people probably imagine they know you pretty well. What's something that people don't know about you that might surprise them?
It's interesting. I've been asked this before and my answer probably changes every time. I am somebody who, I'm as much of an extrovert as I may be, I love being alone. I love my alone time.
I'm into meditation and yoga. I think people might know that of me now. I do post about my leaving yoga classes here and there, but even my friends, my closest friends, would say, "Oh, Andrew's an extrovert. He loves being around people."
But really, I do appreciate just being on my own a lot as well. And I think that it really rung true when I did my 14-day quarantine in Canada, just before Sweet Autumn. People are like, "Are you serious? Fourteen days by yourself? What are you going to do?"
And it was the greatest. I had FaceTime with my wife and kids, but I really was at peace. I was really at peace with that alone time and myself, and I guess it's good. I enjoy my own company. I'm always looking to better myself, whether it be through meditation or yoga or just reading and educating myself on different subjects.
So just somewhat of an introvert and want to constantly better myself. And I love these spiritual kind of ways of doing it through meditation, yoga.
And obviously, I'm not a very religious person, but I believe in God, and I always go back to that higher power, and reminding me that I'm not in full control of my life. There is a higher power that is in control of mine and my family's lives. I think it's just the one tangible thing that we have in the world of intangibles.
Spending our holidays with Hallmark and Andrew Walker is one of the things we love about this time of year, so be sure to catch Andrew and Alicia Witt on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries for Christmas Tree Lane.
And we'll have an interview with Alicia on Saturday, so don't stray too far from TV Fanatic for all the latest!
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.