Tag Archives: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

A ‘Wedding Planner Mystery’ for Erica Durance

Erica durance imageAfter seven years of comic book adventures as Lois Lane in “Smallville,” Erica Durance was glad for a shift into more serious territory with her medical drama, “Saving Hope.” Now the beautiful Canadian actress is trying something different again with the Oct. 19 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries romp, “Wedding Planner Mystery.”

“It was fun. That’s one of the reasons I picked it,” she tells us from her home in Vancouver. “It’s a mixed bag of different things, a little bit of a spy and kind of who dunnit feel, more funny than what I’ve been doing. My heart is in a lot more comedy and that’s how I do life — with a lot more positivity.”

The movie is based on Deborah Donnelly’s novel “Veiled Threats,” about a wedding planner named Carnegie whose work with a rich and notorious family in the midst of a fraud scandal leads to her becoming a suspect when a member of the wedding party is murdered and the bride is kidnapped. This being Hallmark, there’s a suave and oh-so-handsome and wealthy friend of the family who is romantically interested in our girl, and a pesky but oh-so-handsome reporter dogging her footsteps.

Might there be more movie tales of the daring, tulle-wielding Carnegie? “I know that it’s part of a series of books. There wasn’t a lot of heavy discussion about it at the time, but I know that they have other material they can pull from,” she replies. “I never make assumptions. I always come away thinking this is a one-off, a great experience. I’d never say never, but the industry is a little too fickle for me to say ‘I want to do more of these.’ I just want to enjoy this one, and then we’ll see where we’re all at.” She would love to do more work with Hallmark.

Married since 2005 to Canadian actor, writer and director David Palffy, Durance’s life revolves around her professional pursuits.

She currently tied up shooting “Saving Hope.” The series that began life in 2012 as a CTV/NBC offering went on to success in Canada, while NBC pulled its first season from the air with two episodes to go. Now Durance and company is beginning season three, and the show will be making its way back to American audiences via a newly closed deal with the ION channel.

“They haven’t worked out the schedule yet, but I believe we’re starting in January sometime,” Durance reports. “It’s been so gratifying, the people who have been loyal to the show and have found it in a variety of ways despite the fact that it’s not airing in the U.S. It’s pretty incredible — they tracked it down, found different places that it’s streaming from and got a hold of it. I’m really grateful for that kind of tenacity and that kind of support.”

Especially given its unusual beginning, Durance is pleased that “Saving Hope” has kept going. She notes that CTV “loved the show and kept it and pushed it and the fan base continually keeps growing. So I kind of think of us as ‘The Little Engine that Could.’ We keep plugging away and people find it and fall in love with it, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s certainly a different type of thing for me to be doing,” she says of the paranormal-infused medical drama in which the spirits of the comatose and the dead roam the hospital halls.

Not only does she star as Dr. Alex Reid, Chief Surgical Resident of the fictional Hope Zion Hospital in Toronto, she is one of the series’ producers. “I wanted to be able to study the art of storytelling from many different perspectives, not just the acting side. Being in more of a leadership position, learning a little bit more about the other side of things has been really interesting. You realize more fully how every single part of this working mechanism is crucial. One thing that for me was quite new was the editing — to get into that whole other world and just witness just how different your story can be depending upon how you choose to edit. It’s really fascinating.” She feels, “I’m getting paid to go to film school.”

 

Overcoming Childhood Ailment Gave Cameron Mathison Special Kind of Drive

Along Came A Nanny Final Photo AssetsHandsome and energetic, Cameron Mathison has amassed several different constituencies of fans at this point in his career. He’s known to soap followers for his long running role as Ryan on “All My Children,” his hosting of the SoapNet reality show “I Wanna Be a Soap Star” and the online “Dallas” after shows.

To “Dancing With the Stars” fans, he’s Edyta Sliwinska’s season five celebrity partner. To “Good Morning America” and “Entertainment Tonight” watchers, he’s a cheerful lifestyle and entertainment segment host.

And to devotees of the Hallmark Channel and the newly renamed Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, the Ontario-born Mathison is an engaging leading man — soon to be seen in the Oct. 12-debuting “Along Came A Nanny.”

Mathison says that his eclectic career grew on its own energy. He didn’t plan it this way. However, beneath his hearty and congenial personality is a persistent perseverance — that Mathison guesses may stem from his childhood of having to contend with Perthes disease. The disease that affects the hip socket and thigh leaves some children unable to bear weight, with a high risk of broken bones and arthritis.

“From about 2 1/2 to almost 7, I had this big metal contraption on my legs day and night,” he recalls. “It was bigger than what Forrest Gump had in the movie. It’s a tough thing for a young guy. But I have a feeling that on some level, maybe subconscious, it added a lot of drive for me to do what I want to do — to try new things, and to be very active. I’m a very active guy. I think it plays into my life in more ways than I even know.”

To be sure, those who saw Mathison doing his thing on “Dancing With the Stars” know how brilliantly he succeeded in overcoming any physical limitation.

His latest starring role is less demanding on his athleticism — but does call upon his ability to shoot hoops and do physical comedy. In “Along Came a Nanny,” he plays a police detective who goes undercover as, yes, a nanny in order to solve a string of robberies.

It turns out that as a domestic majordomo he makes a great cop.

“Some of the most fun I had was the comedic stuff,” says the actor, whose character becomes smitten with a lovely fellow nanny in the neighborhood (Sarah Lancaster from “Chuck”) in the TV movie. “I had a lot of fun being a disastrous nanny around the house, trashing the place, ruining the laundry room and the kitchen. I had a lot of fun with the kids.”

His own son and daughter with wife Vanessa Arevalo are not so different in age from his on-camera charges, Valin Shinyei and Jena Skodje.

“I got to teach this boy how to play basketball, and I’ve taught my son how to play. I literally have those scenes in my life with my son a lot. I coach his basketball team. Those were fun,” notes Mathison.

Other scenes in “Along Came a Nanny” were more intense, there being bad guys and all, so Mathison got to show some different sides.

As far as his own domestic skills? He laughs. “I’m a very hands-on dad with respect to the kids, helping them with homework and things like that. As far as cooking, I’m very good at breakfast and there are some specific dinners that I am in charge of like meatloaf that I do. In general, though, lunches and dinners are usually my wife’s doing.”

He’d love to see “Along Came a Nanny” have a life after this movie. “In any actor’s head, you know, I can spin this into a series in a heartbeat,” he says. “I would love to continue. It’s such a fun character, and it has potential, I think.

“As far as Hallmark in general, I have nothing in the books right now, but I’d love to do more with them. I love working for Hallmark. I love the kindness and the good intentions in their projects. I love the opportunities that they’ve given me to play. I love how I feel doing their scripts and in their stories, and watching the finished projects. It’s a very feel-good, family-oriented place. I’m proud of these movies, proud to show them to my kids,” says the actor, whose other Hallmark credits include “The Christmas Ornament” and “My Gal Sunday.”

He’s also glad to be a part of the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (formerly Hallmark Movie Channel) rebranding.

Mathison is so enamored of his new movie, in fact, he even imagines that he could have been a nanny in real life. “Who knows? I really enjoy being around kids,” he says. “I’m like a big kid myself.”