Autumn Reeser has starred on numerous TV shows and in plenty of Hallmark movies, but for the first time, she took the creative reins for The 27-Hour Day, and she jumped on the phone to share her thoughts on it.
Autumn stars as a life-hack guru who needs a good dose of her own advice, and she gets more than she imagined when she's tasked with checking out a wellness retreat promising to get her work-life balance back on track.
As The 27-Hour Day's Lauren navigates a path similar to Autumn's own, she gets close to the retreat owner, Jack, and might even fall in love. Find out what Autumn had to say about the movie and more below.
The 27-Hour Day is so cute. What did you most enjoy about filming it?
Did you like it?
I did; I really did. Of course, I like both you and Andrew, so it was kind of an easy sell.
We've been looking to do a movie together for quite a while, and this is a project that I've been developing with Linda Carolei and two others for like three years. And I always wanted Andrew for this part.
I thought he would be perfect. And I was so happy when Hallmark agreed and chose him, and we finally got to make our movie together and getting the opportunity to tell this story that I've been wanting to tell for three years.
What made you want to tell this story?
I really relate to the journey that Lauren goes on in this, from being a busy New York woman, focused on the external, loving efficiency, loving how many things she can get done in a day, to a girl who learns how to be in her own body and connect with her breath and the rhythms of nature and the rhythms of life.
That's very similar to a journey that I've been on. I used to run a blog called Mood Lifestyles For Girls On The Go.
I didn't know that!
Yes, I did. I did in maybe about 12 or 13 years ago, with two of my friends, Jen Wong and Ashley Fawcett, and I used to run this blog together, and it was actually an e-magazine, and we created a brand around it. And it was really similar to what Lauren does in the movie, teaching busy women better ways to manage their life.
But when we were working on it, one of my favorite things to do were these ... We did these interviews with women called Girl Friday. It was every Friday. We did an interview with a different woman.
And what I really loved is exploring their lives and telling their stories. And that's a big part of why I'm a storyteller and why I am drawn to tell different women's stories. And I just really relate to Lauren's journey.
As someone who has since found her own connection with nature and breath and spirituality, I think it's an important story to tell.
So it seems like you had already learned how not to be plugged in and how to be in tune with your life before you got to the movie.
Yes. It's an ongoing process, of course, for many of us to switch. The culture tells us to focus on the external, "If you get this thing, if you become this thing, then you'll be happy," distracting us from the truth that happiness is always within.
And so, it's an ongoing journey, of course. There's no end goal to this journey. But after I had kids 10 years ago, it completely changed my position and who I am, and who I want to be in the world.
And I would think that 10 years later, there's more technology. We're more plugged in you. How do you keep yourself and your kids from falling into old patterns or falling into what society expects?
I think it takes consciousness. I think it takes being aware of what's happening. I noticed that when I find myself online without a purpose, I use that as a sign to check in and say, "What am I avoiding?" Because I've gone to sleep.
It's programming. I'm asleep. What am I doing? I'm avoiding something. I'm fulfilling some need that maybe doesn't exist or maybe could be filled in a different way.
So I use anytime like that, anytime that I'm scrolling as a ...
Just a way to waste time?
Yea! I use that as a trigger to go, "what am I doing? What am I doing? What do I need? Come back to center."
That's really interesting. I loved it in the movie when Lauren talks to her smartwatch that isn't on her wrist anymore. I do that. When I go to the office, I talk to Alexa!
Do you? Yes. Oh, my gosh. Well, that was the idea behind the watch. And can I tell you two things about the watch that are really sentimental to me?
So we named the watch after my dog, Sadie, who passed away six months ago.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Thank you. So a little nod to Sadie. And then the voice of the watch is my old business partner, Jen Wong, who is a really, really talented voiceover artist and who I used to run the blog with.
Oh, how fun. What did she think about being the voice of your plugin?
She got a kick out of it. She got an absolute kick out of it. She said, "It was really fun being your digital assistant today. I love you."
You're keeping all of this in your found family, the people that you ran the blog with. And now you're using her in the movie. That's kind of cool.
Well, this is my first time executive producing. So there is more creative participation that gets to happen with that. And it's something I've been working towards for a long time, and I absolutely relished the opportunity to participate in the creation of the story so, so much.
Did you use any of your personal experiences for Lauren to live through?
Yes, absolutely. Oh, my gosh. Gosh. I mean, there have been three years of conversations, three years of phone calls, and creative meetings. So there's a lot of me in this story. There's a lot of the former me in the story; I should say, of the journey that I went on, of what you have to release attachment to and the ways of being that you have to be willing to move beyond. So I found it really fun to play those up as much as possible.
I love when her first morning at the ranch, she absolutely cannot relax. She's got to go out and go on a power walk. And during the power walk, she's pretending she's doing a podcast, narrating every second of her day. She cannot turn off.
And she doesn't give that up easily; that's probably the thing that she continues doing the longest throughout the movie is narrating her life.
Yes! I loved that. When our writers put that in, I just busted up. I love Lauren's pretend podcasting, Lauren's pretend narration of her life, of her storytelling. It was so much fun.
I was waiting for somebody to walk up on her. "What is happening here?"
We should have done that. [laughs]
What about animals? I love the pig in the movie. Was that your doing? Obviously, Sadie was important to you, so you're an animal person.
Originally, we wrote in a baby horse, a foal. There was a baby foal being born. And then we realized that it would be absolutely impossible to film in a Hallmark movie.
And so, I think it was Jessica Callahan's idea to make it a little pig, so that's what we ended up with. Little pigs are much harder to film with than one would imagine. They're very squeeze-y. They talk all the time.
Aw. Did you have your boys with you?
No, not on this one, no.
How much would they love that little pig?
They really would have. I know. That would've been so special to get to share that with them. I really loved the dog, Poppy, too. She was such a sweetheart, and this was her first movie.
How'd you find her?
She had the same owners as the little pig.
Well, that's handy.
I know. She's so cute.
Have you ever been to a retreat like the one in the movie? What made you focus it around the retreat?
I think the idea was wanting to create a scenario to take Lauren as much out of her comfort zone as we could, to have her basically go kicking and screaming, which is why you have that scene where her detachment from all of her devices takes 10 minutes practically, to really play that up that, that is her identity at the start, her connectedness, her perceived connectedness.
It's a journey from a perceived connectedness to real connectedness, connectedness to spirit, to nature, to other human beings. And we really wanted to create ways to emphasize that arc.
Do you have a lot of that outdoorsy-ness in you?
I do. I'm actually going backpacking next week for six nights.
Yeah. So very much so. I feel really, really comfortable in nature and connected in the way that I stay centered.
And you don't have to be plugged in.
That's right. I love it. I love when I don't have service. It can confuse people sometimes. They're like, "I called you two days ago." I'm like, "Yeah, I didn't have service."
There's nothing so urgent that you absolutely need to be in touch with me, even though people will try to convince you that there is. I mean, certainly not in my industry, which is entertainment. In other industries, which are literally life-saving industries, of course, there's urgency.
But I have a hard time playing that game within my industry because we're not curing cancer here. We're storytellers, and I'm sure the phone call can wait until tomorrow.
And part of the movie is, do things that matter to you instead of doing them so that you can say you did. I love that.
Especially in 2021, when people are falling off the edge of the cliff, trying to get a selfie.
Exactly. Yeah. Isn't that crazy?
Yes. Do you have people in your life that you see doing that? And do you try to urge them to embrace this? How do you deal with them?
No. [laughs] Haven't you found that doesn't go over well, trying to tell people how they should live their life? It really doesn't go well.
Oh, yes, absolutely.
I really relate to what Lauren says at the end of the movie, which is when she's discovering who she is; she says, "I'm somebody who is always trying to help, even when my intentions can come across as pushy."
Sometimes I think that was me in my 20s, too, when you really want to help, and you really want to be of service, but maybe you're not asking for permission.
That's been a lesson that I have learned, that I think a lot of us have to learn, but knowing that your intentions are always good and just learning how to shift, how you communicate those.
And so, a lot of what I'm trying to do now is to create stories that share the shifts that I want to see in the world, to be a part of creating the stories, to be a part of the creative team and not just to be the instrument, which is what you are as the actor, and also be part of the creative team from this, from the beginning.
That's what I'm really working on shifting into. And this is the first movie where I have an executive producer credit. And I'm really, really proud of that.
Do you have other ideas that you're hoping to bring to fruition?
I do. I have quite a few other projects in development, and I've actually been co-creating a musical for the last year that we're work-shopping really soon, coming up, with an amazing, talented group of young actors. I'm really excited to keep developing that story.
So it's a musical?
Yeah, it's a musical. I come from theater; my background's in musical theater. I love that world. I have directed two musical workshops so far. And then this is the first one that I've developed with a creative team, and I'm directing as well. But that's my background, my original background.
I did not know that. Why didn't I know that about you? I've been watching you on TV for so long.
I was in UCLA's very first musical theater program. And then I actually left early, because I started working in film and television. But I still do cabaret in Los Angeles and still involved in a theater group called The Work Juice Players.
I love love, love working in theater. And obviously, that's an industry that completely shut down with the pandemic; instead, everybody is looking forward to when it's safe to come back.
Are you someone who uses those life hacks to get more free time? I mean, I assume that you do. Or are you beyond life hacks at this point? Do you even need them anymore?
No. I just cut everything out of my life that is not essential. That's what I do now. And also, I think it's just being 40 and having 40 years of experience under my belt.
So no, not particularly anymore, but I was really into them when I had my blog. I'm really into ways to help women hack their life, for sure.
I love packing for trips and having techniques and different ways of packing, and making life more efficient. Now I'm just like, I need three things, and that's what I'm bringing, and we're good. Like I'm sure things will be fine.
Well, I don't know. I'm surrendered to slow at this point. And I'm like, these are for personal problems that they don't have the right shirt for the trip. I can just wear the other ones. Like it's no big deal.
I don't know. That's just where I'm kind of at. It's a trust in spirit for me that has really allowed me to relax into life and realize that I'm going to get through it, and it's going to be fine. And there's no need for stress over most things that I'm encountering on a daily basis.
So are your other movies going to perhaps be Hallmark movies, or you're branching out into other areas? What are you hoping to do?
Ideally both. Yeah. I have two more Hallmark movies to complete this year. Lacey Chabert and Ali Sweeney, and I are doing a trilogy like a girlfriend's on...
Oh, you're kidding!
Yeah! So we shot Lacey's movie already. So each of us stars in a different movie. It's sort of like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
It's really fun to get to explore best friendships with two other women who work for Hallmark a lot. And so, we did Lacey's movie already, and then we still have Ali's movie and my movie to shoot later this year.
Okay. That might be the best idea I've heard in ages. That's so exciting.
Do you like it? I'm so glad.
Yes, I love it, because there are so many of you who I just love watching, and you're never together. You're always off on your own.
You don't get to have friendships.
Now we do!
Wow. That's fantastic.
Yeah. It's great.
And I assume one of the others is a holiday movie, maybe?
No, those are the two. I don't know that I'm going to do a holiday movie this year.
I used to try to do as many projects as possible during the year, and now I think it's really important to, like in Lauren's world, have balance. And to be able to have time to develop these other projects and be more in my creative flow with the different people that I'm collaborating with.
You've done series in the past. I would assume now that you've worked on production and that maybe that would not be something that you're interested in anymore.
I think it would be challenging. I think that would be challenging. Yeah. But again, I'm surrendered to whatever comes next that feels like it's the right next step. So there's no way for me to say I would never do this. You never know.
It all depends. It all depends on where I'm at, and it would depend on what the project is. I don't know. We get to find out.
I heard that Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clark were talking on their OC podcast about the possibility of a reboot. What are your thoughts on that?
Sure. Why not? Like I said, you never know what's coming next, and you take everything day by day.
And are there any other Hallmark actors that you have pegged that you haven't worked with yet that you'd love to see in another project with you?
Kris Polaha and I really want to work together. We were on a series together; I don't know, 13 years ago maybe. And I just love him. I would love to work with him on something again.
He's such a kind person. Such a big heart.
I know. He's such a sweetheart.
You should make that happen.
Okay. [laughs] I'll jump right on it.
And why should people tune into The 27-Hour Day?
I think it addresses one of the journeys that a lot of people went on during this last year, during the pandemic, the journey of shedding old parts of ourselves that maybe are not serving us, and even finding more space and deeper connection with self, even when we get there kicking and screaming, as Lauren did.
And as I think a lot of people find themselves on that journey unintentionally. But I think that was a journey a lot of people went on over this last year. And so, I think a lot of people will find themselves reflected in this story. I think it's a perfect time for us to be telling it.
The 27-Hour Day premieres on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, August 7 at 9/8c.
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.