Valentine's Again showcases Aussie actor Nicky Whelan as Kat, a hard-working young woman searching for her soul mate.
The only problem is that Kat spends so much time with her nose to the grindstone that life's beauty is passing her by, and she's not picking up on clues that could lead her to her heart's content.
After Kat runs into a mysterious woman (Marina Sirtis) who prompts Kat to give things a second look, she's shocked to discover she's not experiencing déjà vu but a chance to see things more clearly and land the love of her life.
We had the chance to chat with Nicky, and we're bringing excerpts of that conversation to you today. Be sure to tune into Valentine's Again on Sunday, February 14 at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.
How did you get involved in Valentine's Again?
The script was given to me by my agent, and I just loved it. I thought it was really cute, really sweet, and it was like one of those repeat storylines, which I'm a big fan of. So I got an opportunity to do one of those movies.
How do you, Nicky, like to spend Valentine's Day?
There are those people that are very like, "You should give love every day," and all this sought of stuff. But I'm all about a good holiday, whether I'm single or in a relationship. I've got to be honest with you. A couple of years ago, I was single, and so I arranged this big dinner at AGO in West Hollywood, which is now sadly closed, with all my single friends -- guys and girls.
And we got this big table of 10 people, and I bought a single rose for everybody, and we all had this fabulous dinner. Because there are some people that get weird about being alone on Valentine's Day, so if I happen to be single around that time, I'll just create something with single friends.
And if I'm in a relationship, a lot of the time, people I've been with over the years have been like, "Oh, I don't celebrate it." I'm like, "Well, I do, so game on. Let's go." I make sure they're ready because I get gifts, and they wake up, and there are things in the house and bits. I like it. I celebrate it, single or not. It's another holiday. I'm one of those people. I make Halloween a big production. I make Christmas a big production. I love it.
In the movie, I was kind of concerned about Kat's approach, not only to Valentine's Day but to online dating. It seems like she left out a really significant detail before she was considering her Valentine's Day potential soulmate.
So if you were online dating, what do you think are the most important things that you'd want to share with any potential date?
There are definitely things. The thing is with online dating, which I find so bizarre, there are people I know that have had successful relationships from online dating, and then I've heard nightmare stories. It's just with anything in life.
I mean, you can say, "We both love animals, and we both love this, and we both love that." But once you get face-to-face with someone, energy doesn't lie. I'm a huge energy person. So you can put anything down on paper. People can look great on paper together. But until you're sitting across from someone, I truly don't feel that a true connection can be made.
And I'm not saying it can't be, but I'm a believer in energy. So again, that's why online dating for me in my personal world is kind of weird. With COVID, it's been incredibly hard, but when you walk into a restaurant, or you walk somewhere, and you meet someone in the line at a cafe or something, and that organic connection.
I know it's not as easy these days, but there's something about that. There's some draw that you can't explain, whatever it is. And I think that's the magic in relationships, that unspoken language.
Another lesson that comes out of this movie is that you really need to pay more attention to the world around you.
And I really liked how the movie unfolded, and with each new experience that Kat had, she opened herself up a little further into the world. What do you think about that?
The underlying message about the script, which I thought was beautiful, is exactly what you're saying. You can have something right in front of you, but if you're not in a mentally healthy space, or you've got one way of thinking, you literally won't see it, and it will pass you by every single day. The universe will keep giving you the same lesson. It's about breaking those patterns and those cycles, and once you do...
It's so weird how you view the world. Like, nothing changes if nothing changes. If you change your mindset, you can walk into the same environment and be so in love with it the next day. It's all about how you perceive things. So I feel like that's the beautiful message in this, that she kept getting these sort of situations happening to her until she woke up.
And that's the message that we're all living in. We're living in these bubbles, in this very specific mindset. And when you break out of that... People go, "I need to go on holiday," or, "I need to travel," or, "I need to get out of here."
I really do believe a major part of it is if you just change the way you think, you can walk into the same house, the same work, the same everything every day and feel different if you think differently. So I think that's the nice message about this movie.
Someone I knew used to think that if she moved, her life would change.
I said, "But you're still in it. You are still the constant in that world. So you're holding yourself up." But a lot of people don't see that.
And what I really liked about meshing those two things together was that it just so happened to be that the reason why Kat was missing the most important part of her day was because her face was in her phone.
And since we spend almost every living moment with our faces in the phone, I thought that was a really great message.
Again, it's so relevant now more than ever, and being locked at home this past year with COVID, we're on our phones and social media more than ever.
I mean, once upon a time, that would be so rude, so rude. And I wonder... Like even last night, I zipped down to the supermarket with my boyfriend, and I left my phone at home on purpose. I put it on the charger, and I was like, "I don't need you to go to the supermarket," and the whole way there, he's texting, he's texting through the supermarket. And I was like, "Wow, that's me. That's usually me, too."
And I didn't have my phone. And when I was walking down the aisles of the supermarket, it's like, "I don't have a phone to look at it." So I was actually looking at food that I'd never seen before. It was just that 30 minutes without having my phone in my hand, just walking with it. And it was weird. I felt like, "Oh, I need my phone." And I was like, "No, I don't. I absolutely don't need it."
I just think something needs to happen where we lift our heads up. Or make little goals for our day like, "For the next two hours, I'm going to put my phone down and not look at it." I lived in an era where we didn't have mobile phones ,and we were fine. We were just fine.
I think we were better. I think we were actually better. I had more friends then. You have more to propel you out the front door because you weren't with a bunch of faceless people all the time. It's a good excuse now to not be present. It's like a fake-out. You think you're present, but you're just not.
It is actually really sad.
Do you know what would be nice? If the universe... If there was some universal button they could press and turn our phones off for two hours a day.
Yeah, that would be nice.
Do you know what I mean? And just so everyone could just reset. Imagine someone had the power to just press a button and turn everyone's phones off, just for two hours. When I walk my dog, people have just got their heads down on their phones. Walking the dog is a nice thing to do to meet people, and the dogs connect. And everyone's just on their phone. It's affected us terribly, and it affected my character.
It did. Yes, it really did. But it was a great story because of how you found that she was present and where she wasn't.
And what a huge difference it made to the times when she thought she was going to meet somebody and she thought this person might be interesting, but it's only because she was there and aware. And just how quickly you can miss something if your face is buried in a phone.
In a split second, literally, split right there. It's got some beautiful little messages in it, this movie, it's very sweet.
Another message I liked was from the fairy godmother, trying to point out that there's a difference between your wants and your needs. And I think that's very important, too, because people want to live by a checklist, and they want somebody to tick all your boxes, but that's just not reality.
The reality is that the person who lights your fire, or that initial meeting where everything lights up, and you feel, "Wow, I would've never seen this happening, but now that I'm here, I realized that that's what I need, not what I want." I thought that was a great message.
I know. And it couldn't have been delivered by a better person -- Marina's fantastic. I just love her so much in real life. She's hilarious. And she just plays such a great role. She's so wonderful. But it's funny how when you listen to lectures on love and why people come together, we do have these checklists.
And a lot of the time, people will say, "Once you get what you think you want, it's actually not what you want at all because what you're vibrating and what your frequency is and what you need for growth usually comes in a relationship." So you run around going, "I need this and this and this and this."
Most of the time, you have all of that. It's just that you want an enhancement of that. But what you really need is what you need to grow and heal and understand.
That's why relationships bring up so much in people because a lot of the time, they're mirroring the things we need to heal in ourselves or learn about ourselves. They're not always like, "Oh, I'm with a fabulous person that's got this, this and this and this and this." There's nothing interesting a lot of the time about that.
I think it's nice to get with someone that you can grow with, go through a lot of rollercoaster ups and downs with, and eventually can get to that place. But I think for your grossest personal growth, we're always changing. I feel like it's about the need than want, want, want.
You're right. I like what you said about growing together because that's kind of what makes the relationship. It's not everything that you come into a relationship with; it's everything that you create together that makes a long-lasting relationship.
Whether it's a friendship or a love interest, it's everything that you build as a part of spending time together that makes your relationship significant.
Yes, I agree.
And what was it like working with Greg Vaughan? You guys didn't get to work together nearly as much as other romantic interests in these movies get to.
It was just the way we shot. But I've known Greg around and about over the years. I mean, he's such a sweetheart, he's such a good guy. He comes from an incredible family. I think he's married now, and they've got like a ton of kids. He's just a good, hardworking, all-around lovely guy.
I mean, we were in Bulgaria shooting this, hilarious, in the freezing snow. I mean, the conditions were hardcore. And he was just professional, fun. I don't know. He's just a great guy to work with. And he's been in the business a long time.
So it's always working with guys like him that I learn so much. They're professional and easy to bounce off with. And he's a sweetheart. We had some good laughs on set together in freezing conditions.
Wow. You shot that in Bulgaria?
Yeah. Just where the location was chosen for this, and it was snowing there at the time. So we love to make these movies sort of with that vibe.
If you had a fairy godmother for a day, how would you want her to intervene?
Oh, my God, that's a good question. How would I like my fairy godmother to intervene? I'm very reactive. I'm very reactive to things. And I've got some great girlfriends that know me really well. So whenever I get into a situation where my anxiety will go up really quickly, I have some great girlfriends that are like fairy godmothers that sit on my shoulder and go, "Okay, you're not going to react to this."
When something goes wrong, or I get triggered easily in a relationship, I would love to have a fairy godmother that sits on my shoulder and says, "Breathe. Wait a minute. Don't react just yet." There is something to that. And every single time I wait and give something a breath, the answers come, or the solution comes, or the understanding comes.
I like your answer because you didn't go for what you would want. You went for what you believe you need, which is also the theme of this movie.
Exactly. I think as I've gotten older, I've realized that because the truth is I'm independent. I'm a working woman. I've always been taking care of myself and working by myself. So when I think about a list of things I need from someone, it's not like, "I need a man."
I'm not your traditional sort of woman. It is also a great avenue to take; it's just not the avenue I took. I have everything I need, especially material wise. I have a home, and I have a car, I have a life, I have work, I have money.
So when I look to a relationship, I'm looking for a partner to grow with. I'm looking for things that I really need emotionally, but that's come in time. And in growing up and learning and making lots of mistakes. So it's taken me a minute to get there, by the way.
It takes everybody a minute, some many more minutes to get there. What else is coming up for you?
So I shot, beautifully and luckily, very grateful. At the end of last year, I shot two movies, which was fun. So they'll be coming out this year. I also have a cute little independent movie that's doing the festival circuit now.
And now with COVID, to be honest with you, I've worked a lot, and I'm very lucky, and I'm always busy, but this year is a little bit of a slow start. So I do have a bunch of stuff coming out, which will be nice.
And I'm so happy that this movie is coming out on Valentine's Day because that'll boost the energy and lift the spirits.
And it's a really cute movie. I loved shooting this. I loved being a part of it. And I'm just glad everyone will get to see it. So hopefully, some things will spring off from this, and I can help promote my other movies,
Our festival seasons are gone, and all the fun with them. It's a pretty sad time in Hollywood, to be honest with you. So it's time to dig deep and get more creative and come up with new ways to work with COVID. It's a challenging time for everyone.
And to be honest with you, we're so lucky in our business. So I don't like to harp on how sad it is for us all, but it's just got to get more creative and keep the spirits high. And hopefully, this movie will... It's a cute movie. It's fun. I'm all about doing fun, happy comedies. I love that energy. It helps.
Be sure to tune into Valentine's Again on Sunday, February 14 at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel.
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.