Brooke White faced a storm of unexpected challenges — literally — when shooting “Banner 4th of July,” her Hallmark Channel Original Movie that premieres this Saturday (6/29). Notes the beautiful blond singer-actress and “American Idol” Season 7 finalist, “My only complaint was that here we were shooting a movie about the 4th of July in the Northern part of Ontario, Canada — and if you know anything about North Ontario, the weather changes quickly. Little did I know that it would be snowing outside. It was quite exciting and hilarious and freezing and — I’ve never had to act harder in my life to appear as if I’m in a warm, sunny atmosphere!”
Brooke recalls wearing “little thin sundresses, and the wind would come gusting through, and I’d be like, ‘I might as well be standing here naked.'” The movie’s production crew would be standing by with parkas and hand warmers at the ready between takes for Brooke and her “4th of July” cast mates, including Christian Campbell, Michael Barbuto and Mercedes Ruehl. “They take care of you, so we survived,” she says with a laugh. There was one final challenge, however. “The big moment of the movie, the very last scene we did, there was a downpour of rain at night. It was about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. But they just made it work. It’s amazing what they pull off in the movies.”
Other than the weather, Brooke has nothing but positives to say about the movie, her cast mates and crew. The story has her as part of a once-successful brothers and sister family band that split up amid in-fighting — but is pushed back together when the matriarch (Ruehl) falls ill. Brooke wrote two songs for the movie. “One is called, ‘Sunup, Sundown,’ which is the big hit the band had back in their heyday, and the other is ‘Fly, Fly, Fly,’ which is more of an emotional ballad. Then there are two tunes I wrote last year with my band, Jack and White, that they also put in the movie. So there is a four song EP coming out that will be available on iTunes.”
Now there’s a great cross-promotional opportunity. “I know,” she says, “you’ve got to think like that. I know when I hear a song on a TV show and I really like it and I just want to know where to get it, it’s great to have it easily available.”
Brooke says that knowing in advance the dramatic context in which her songs would be used turned out to be a new creative approach for her, one that she expects to use again. “I’d love to write more film and television music,” notes the multi-talent, who is also a presence on the internet via her web series on girlswithglasses.com.
She’s not touring this summer, because she has an all-consuming job “that is wonderful in itself. I’m raising a very spirited one-year-old,” she says of her daughter, London.
Juggling motherhood and career “is absolutely a challenge, but it’s a good challenge.” She says she told her CPA husband early on that she was “hoping to be an M&M — mother and musician. That’s what I set out to do and I’ve done it and then some. I’m not the richest and most famous singer around, but I get to live a creative life and make it work.”
FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Max Burkholder is hoping his “Parenthood” character can “branch out more socially” in the new season, which starts production next month. That would be an interesting storyline for his Max Braverman, who is autistic. The 15-year-old actor and the “Parenthood” team have done such a brilliant job with young Max, by now they’ve received countless laudatory notes from viewers whose lives have been touched by autism.
Burkholder got to display his versatility in a big way with the current “The Purge” – Universal’s $3 million sci fi horror flick that made headlines for coming in at No. 1 in its first week of release – and made $52 million in a mere 10 days. He was immediately intrigued by its premise of a government-sanctioned night of lawlessness and killing every year — “I like it when they base things off one great concept,” he says. Were his parents concerned about his taking part in such a bloody movie? “Not at all,” he insists. His mother and father have backgrounds as actors themselves.