After 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.”