Andrew Walker Chats Upcoming Hallmark Movies and The Project That Made Him Stick With Acting | Exclusive
Mercy: Can you share a little bit of what you've been up to since we last spoke?
Andrew: Yes, absolutely. I think we've spoken about this before but my wife and I have the juice company here in Los Angeles. We've been hard at work trying to grow that business in my down time from acting. I have now shot two movies since last Christmas. Last December we had a baby, Dec 18th, so he's almost 10 months. And then Covid happened. I was supposed to go shoot a movie, they postponed it, and instead I shot the Christmas movie. That was my first movie back this year. We shot it in Utah and we actually filmed it back in July. Christmas Tree Lane is the first movie, the first network project back out of any project in the industry. We were kind of paving the way, guinea pigs for the industry in keeping everyone safe and abiding by the protocols. They are constantly adjusting and refining things now. We were in Utah, when you'd leave set there weren't a lot of people wearing masks in grocery stores and retail shops so I was basically a recluse. I either stayed in my apartment, went to work or hiked. I hiked a lot, it's really nice in Utah. So we shot Christmas Tree Lane. It was an amazing experience. Since Christmas Tree Lane I shot another movie with Nikki Deloach called Sweet Autumn and that airs this Saturday, the 17th. So that's what I've been up to! Basically, baby, keeping the juice company alive during Covid and then shooting the movies.
Mercy: How has the juice company been with everything this year?
Andrew: We actually had a huge blessing. We had mainly moved to online where people could be working from home, we'd be keeping the lights on at least, so to speak and then an amazing door opened. We were able to get into Whole Foods. We're in all the Whole Foods which are in the Southern California region, Nevada, and Arizona. We just launched there in 60 stores. My wife has been putting a lot of attention towards making it a very successful partnership with them.
Mercy: What role have you played that spoke to you the most?
Andrew: I think there are different interpretations of what that could mean but I think for me, there's a couple reasons why I'm going to pick this one. Twenty years ago I had lived in Los Angeles for two and a half years, and I decided to pick up, I hadn't worked in eight months to a year and I was pretty down on myself about being an actor, as all actors go through from time to time. Questioning whether or not we should even continue with the industry. And I moved back to my hometown Montreal and I ended up booking a job called Steel Toes. It was a movie, basically a two-hander. Myself and this actor named David Straithern, who is a phenomenal actor (he got nominated for an academy award for the movie Goodnight and Goodluck) he and I did this movie. I played a neo-Nazi skinhead and he played a Jewish attorney. It's basically about these two characters coming together. He was almost like a father-figure to the character I played. It was based off a play Cherry Docks and that movie kind of initiated and breathed life back into my acting career, primarily because I got to work with this actor. He was incredible. We shot it at a prison called St Vincent De Paul Prison. They've shot a bunch of movies there. It's a very dark and dingy place. If the walls could talk, they'd have some amazing stories to tell. They shot Catch Me If You Can, do you know that Leonardo DiCaprio movie?
Andrew: They shot the beginning scene where he's in the jail cell in France, that's the St Vincent De Paul Prison. So we shot the whole movie there and then when I did that movie, that is actually the movie that got me hired for my first Hallmark movie! The director Gary Yates hired me for my first Hallmark movie called A Bride For Christmas and he watched that movie and for whatever reason watching me play a neo-Nazi skinhead, a super dark character *laughs* the farthest thing from a Hallmark movie and he wanted me for his Christmas movie. He gave me my first opportunity to work for Hallmark. That movie had so many elements to why it was such a pivotal part in my acting career. Working with David, the character was a very intricate character and then it was the reason I got my first Hallmark.
Mercy: So how many years have you been acting?
Andrew: I started acting when I was around thirteen years old, my first acting job was a tv show called Are You Afraid Of The Dark. It was a Canadian tv series. I'm 41 now so that's 28 years.
Mercy: Who are some of your favorite actors or actors that have influenced your own acting?
Andrew: I'd say one of my favorite actors is Phillip Seymore Hoffman. Sadly he's not with us anymore but I would say he's up there as a favorite actor. I really like Benedict Cumberbatch, I think he's amazing. *laughs* My wife is behind me going, "Tom Cruise, Tom Cruise." I love him too.
I've been influenced by so many actors. The skinhead movie that I did, I watched a Ryan Gosling movie called More About The Believer to get background on it. That movie kind of put him on the map. I watched that one. I take tidbits from everyone. I watch peoples work. It's a little difficult but I try to get movie watching in while I travel. I love Jason Bateman right now in Ozark. I think his comedic and dramatic skills - he's super adaptable. A career I would love to emulate is Tom Cruise's! He's done some really cool movies.
Mercy: A lot of Hallmark actors have moved into directing their own Hallmark movies, is that something you've considered?
Andrew: It hasn't been. I feel like I have the ability to come unto a Hallmark set, I've done 21 movies for them now, and I can come on and help with writing. I feel like I'm very active in the producing and writing aspect of my movies. I've produced a Hallmark movie now. Directing has never been something that I've wanted to do.
Mercy: Sweet Autumn airs this weekend, like you mentioned, can you share a little about it?
Andrew: Yes! This is my third movie with Nikki. and Sweet Autumn, it's a pretty amazing film. It's the first time its been about two characters. I usually come on board as a number two and it's about the lead female. Our two characters are in every single scene. Nikki has been a friend for a long time now so it was good to reunite with her.
It's basically about this matriarch who divides up her estate and Nikki and I have to find a way to come together and work together. It's a Hallmark so I'm sure you can guess what's going to happen in the end *laughs*
Mercy: That sounds awesome. I'm really looking forward to that movie! You and Nikki are two of my favorites.
Andrew: Aw, thank you!
Mercy: Can you share a little bit about Christmas Tree Lane?
Andrew: Christmas Tree Lane is kind of your classic Hallmark Christmas movie. My father is a real estate developer and I've been traveling around working for his firm and I come in to town to work for him. I'm assigned the project of devoloping this block of property, we're shutting down the businesses there and we are going to turn it into this brand new thing. Alicia Witt's character is putting on a benefit concert to raise awareness and hopefully put a stop to this place's demise. She has a music store that her family has owned for 40+ years and that is one of the shops that is going to be shut down and developed. We randomly meet at a coffee shop, don't have any idea about each others' life or what we are doing. We build a relationship and lo and behold I realize that I'm given her shop as one I need to close down. I've got to break the news that I am the guy who is heading this up.
What I love about Christmas Tree Lane is Alicia Witt, she sings and plays piano and you get a lot of her music in this. She has got an incredible voice and she was like a child prodigy, she started playing at like seven years old. I didn't even see her play piano before our scenes so my reactions to her playing is as real as you can get, I was floored.
Mercy: Lastly, do you have any other upcoming projects you can share about?
Andrew: At this point right now, I don't. I know I'll be doing a few more with Hallmark. I'm the type of actor that when I finish a project I'm like, "I am unemployed, I don't know if I'll ever work again." Hallmark keeps knocking on my door and I'll continue to take projects every time they come to me. I love the content, working on this network and the opportunity to work with the people I do, is such a treat. We'll see what happens in the New Year. As of right now I'm working on a few possible projects that I'm going to produce and we are planning on picking up and going back to Montreal for a visit as well. My wife, the kids and I are going to spend a prolonged visit in Montreal. With everything that has gone on this year we want to spend some time with immediate family and close friends. Spend time in the cold as well! With the California fires the kids haven't been able to spend time outside and just be kids so it'll be nice to get back there and get out in the fresh air and be around family.
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