Happy Wednesday, and Happy Fall! I say that because two days ago, we had our first day of actual autumn weather. The boys and I even went on a walk while the girls were in school, something we haven’t done in so long, simply because it’s been far too hot. So break out the sweaters and the jack-o’-lanterns, because we are in season!

And speaking of the season, time to reveal our first mystery guest for October! This one wasn’t very easy to guess, but the timing couldn’t be better because the premiere of a movie she directed is coming up THIS Saturday: “Love, Fall, and Order”. Her name is Clare Niederpruem. If you remember way back to May, you might have read the interview with Maclain Nelson, my childhood friend who directed “Small Town Christmas”.

Well, this is his lovely wife; they’re in the business together! Not only did she direct the film coming up this Saturday, but she directed “Holiday for Heroes” coming in November, AND the first new movie to be released straight to Hallmark Movies Now, “In the Key of Love”. That one just HAPPENED to star our own Andrea Brooks in the very early stages of her pregnancy, so that’s the one I’ve focused on. And now, to gear us up for this weekend’s premiere, and to give you some fun tidbits for when you get Hallmark Movies Now, (or when you start your free trial,) here’s Clare!

Photo credit: Clare’s Facebook  

HH: Hi, there! Thanks so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to chat with me!

CN: Oh it’s not a problem. Happy to!

HH: It’s so weird that you and I have never met with me knowing Maclain all my life! I don’t think I even know how you two met.

CN: We met in an improv acting class. He was teaching it, I was taking it. I got a A. 🙂

HH: Nice! Okay let’s jump right into “Key”. Were you brought on from the very beginning? Did you have a part in the audition process?

CN: The script was all written when I was asked, but other than that, yeah. I even had 3 weeks of prep time in Vancouver. Hallmark picks the two leads, then I got a say in the smaller roles

HH: The title sequence was so catchy with the movement snapping into still shots to reflect the photography, then to have “Can’t Hurry Love” as background music. Was that a design team, or was that you?

CN: It was an idea I had. I really wanted to set the tone. The network executive Ashley Squires chose “Can’t Hurry Love”. I think it turned out well.

HH: It certainly did! Where did you film? It was such a beautiful location,

CN: We shot in Vancouver, Canada. There were two island locations: Bowen Island, and Deep Cove Bay.

HH: Did the weather cooperate? I know it can be sketchy up there sometimes.

CN: We lucked out! During prep week, it was POURING! Then during actual filming, we had 3 weeks of sunshine.

HH: Laura Osnes is a fantastic Broadway star, and I know from experience that transitioning from stage to screen can be a difficult process. But Laura seemed to do really well. What was your take on the experience?

CN: It was definitely an adjustment for her, but Laura just cares SO much, and she really put in the work. We had a pretty close relationship, so she was comfortable with me directing her. She was good within 3 days, playing to the camera really well. Scott (meaning Scott Michael Foster) was also a really great help to her.

HH: Since a few of the characters are photographers, did any of the actors have photography experience?

CN: Laura is actually married to a photographer, so he gave her some pointers, and she came very prepared. Being a stage actress, she loves having a prop in her hand.

HH: Speaking of pictures, one of my favorite shots is when Laura’s character, Maggie, uses her camera lens like binoculars to see her ex, Jake, on the ferry. Was that scripted, or an idea you wanted to try out?

CN: It WAS scripted, but we weren’t sure it would work. But we just shot it, then put the filter on afterwards to make it look like a lens, and it worked!

HH: Are the any other scenes or lines you felt you wanted to try, that turned out great in the final cut?

CN: The shots of the rowboat and the trolley turned out really well. One I’m really proud of is the final kissing scene. We had 30 minutes left to shoot for the day, and that scene wasn’t ready. So I said, “Let’s go to the balcony over the water.” The sun was setting, we did the scene 4 times in a row with no break. Scott and Laura were so professional about it, and it was a great shot!

HH: Any other fun BTS (behind-the-scenes) stories to share?

CN: We got to take the ferry to work almost everyday as a cast. That was nice! The scene when the canoe tipped was so fun! It was a cold Vancouver night, at 3:00 in the morning, on our second to last day of shooting. Laura and Scott both had stunt doubles that we used for the really far shots, but I told them it would looked better if they fell in the water themselves. They were really comfortable with each other by this point, so they did it themselves!

HH: The singing was really beautiful; it made me melt! My husband asked me if the actors could really sing. I looked at him, and said, “She’s a Broadway star, hon!” He said, “Oh,” very sheepishly. Was any of the music LIVE singing, or was it all prerecorded?

CN: Most of it was prerecorded, but the campfire song was LIVE.

HH: That’s the one when my jaw really dropped! Cool! Andrea Brooks has revealed that she was in early stages of pregnancy while filming “Key”. She had just found out, so she wasn’t sharing yet, but she thinks everyone suspected because of the weird food she was craving. Did you suspect anything?

CN: I didn’t notice anything, but I never have time to go to craft services. 😉

HH: Can you describe what it was like working with her?

CN: She is such a lovely human, a fun and joyous person, and FUNNY! She brings such a positive energy to set! She was such a good sport. It was freezing cold, so she put a hoodie over that beautiful wedding dress to stay warm.

Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com  

HH: What kind of chemistry-building activities did you guys do? Did Andrea and Scott do any to get the sibling feel?

CN: We’d go out for sushi all together; we also watched “Game of Thrones” together. Andrea and Scott didn’t meet until their first day of shooting together. But they’re both from families with siblings, and they’re both so talented that they got the feel. After that, they’d sing songs together between takes, and he always helped her with her dress.

HH: What is your favorite scene from the movie?

CN: When Jenny (Andrea) asks Jake (Scott) if he still has feelings for Maggie (Laura).

HH: Well, I can’t tell you what a great pleasure it’s been talking to you. Thank you again so much!

CN: It was my pleasure. Maybe one day we’ll actually get to meet.

HH: Here’s hoping!


Well, that wraps that up. Isn’t she great! You’ll really love her handiwork! So start that free trial of Hallmark Movies Now, or grab a subscription, and enjoy! And don’t forget to tune in to Hallmark Channel this Saturday for #LoveFallandOrder. I know #POstables will enjoy it, as it stars Gregory Harrison!

Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com  

And here’s a tip: watch for the pretty Asain lady playing a lawyer alongside Erin Cahill for a scene; she’s my sister-in-law! Fair warning: even if there are no WCTH actors therein, I may have to claim familial connection, and review it anyway. Gotta keep family happy, right? I’m sure you get it! Only kidding, Shelly! I love you! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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