Hallmark Channel movies have a way of hitting on areas in our lives and the new original movie The 27-Hour Day is a reminder that we have to slow down and smell the roses. Star Andrew Walker talked with me about what it was like bringing this very timely movie to life, and he revealed that it’s loosely based on an experience from his costar Autumn Reeser’s life.
Walker is a familiar figure among Hallmark, appearing in a number of movies like The Perfect Catch, My Secret Valentine, Love in Design and Merry & Bright. He’s getting close to two dozen Hallmark movies under his belt, and we talk about what keeps bringing him back to the Crown Network time and time again.
Andrew Walker opens up about his new movie The 27-Hour Day
(Sarabeth Pollock) I have to say, before I even watched the movie I was blown away by the timeliness of The 27-Hour Day. It’s a great idea for a movie in general, but after the past 18 months it hits a little differently, doesn’t it?
(Andrew Walker) It does, doesn’t it? It’s such a timely film and every interview that I’ve had so far – and Autumn and I have been on a couple of them together as well, and the conversation always goes back to the year that people have had, and how everyone has shifted their priorities and how timely this movie is because people need digital detoxes, or detoxes of some sort, so they can prioritize their lives.
It’s just you take the bad with the good, but I think a lot of positives have come from such a negative thing with COVID and the pandemic and stuff. People have prioritized their lives, and put family first, and health first, and spend more time with family and being at home and doing all of the things that they really want to do, and saving time as well.
It’s a good reminder to not go back to the way things were. Let’s keep learning and embracing those things we learned.
Definitely. We’re all on the wheel. You come out of it, then you go back again and you come out. But it’s just about changing patterns. You’ve got to change patterns in your life.
Speaking of patterns, this is a great time for the movie to come out because we’re just coming out of July, and Christmas in July is a big deal for the Hallmark Channel. You’ve done your fair share of Christmas and non-Christmas movies. I’m curious what you look for in scripts and what drew you to The 27-Hour Day?
It’s the story first. I want to be part of a project where I believe in the story, and the cast members that I’m working with. The lead female is obviously a big deal for me. I want to work with people that I feel like we’ll have a great rapport, and that’s par for the course when it comes to working with the women on Hallmark movies specifically. I think they’re amazing at casting very talented, honest, open and kind people. I think the network breeds that and that’s really what the ethos of the network is.
And the story. It really comes back to being stimulated by the telling of an interesting storyline that I think will be challenged in some way or another. I have actor friends that work on other networks and TV series and they say, “Andrew, how do you find stimulation in each one of these Hallmark movies that you do” because the storyline is technically the same in a way.
But I feel like with every movie that I do, I find challenges in building the relationship and finding that relationship. It’s just like falling in love. It’s like falling in love with somebody. It’s a beautiful journey that you can go on, and the nuance in what makes somebody tick and how they respond to you in a certain way, and that just goes back to the talent of the actresses that Hallmark has brought together here. They’re amazing, the women that I get to work with, and I feel so fortunate that I’m able to be a part of this journey.
And as you say, that chemistry is so important because if you don’t have the chemistry then the movie doesn’t really work. Hallmark really does a great job finding the perfect people for every role. And Autumn is so perfect as Lauren…you almost get secondhand anxiety from her perfectly organized life.
Funny enough, the story is loosely based on her life. She wrote a blog years ago about saving time and she ran it for a bunch of years and she was run ragged. She was basically writing this blog and teaching people how to save time and doing life hacks and stuff life that, and then she realized she was doing it for everyone else and not herself, and not focusing on what makes her happy or fulfilled. So that’s how she pivoted out of it and started doing other things, and then her acting really started taking off at that point, right around when she was on The OC.
She was one of the producers on the project as well. The story is very, very close to home for her and so there’s no better person to have told the story than Autumn. And I feel so privileged because she said I was one of her first choices for this movie to play Jack. I’m forever grateful that I was able to do it with her. We’re close acquaintances, so the ice was already broken when we jumped on this project.
Another thing I love about Hallmark is that every movie offers an element of escape for viewers, and part of that escape is going to amazing locations. Every location is so spectacular. Could you tell me about where you filmed and what the experience was like, because that location was gorgeous.
Look, I think that first off the set decorators don’t get enough credit on Hallmark movies. Same as the location people. There’s so much pressure on them, and I don’t mean from the network. People have come to expect these unique and gorgeous vistas, and beautiful set design. So the expectations are high from everyone. The network puts emphasis on such high quality set designs and locations so people can feel exactly like they can escape.
So just to talk about our locations on The 27-Hour Day, and this is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever been a part of.
The campground scene and the campfire, and the campground when we all take the hike up the hill. We get to look out over the vista. That’s called the Golden Ears. The Golden Ear Mountains in Vancouver. I’ve never seen them so clear and so close. The neighborhood they found was such a special place. It’s my second time shooting at this location and I absolutely love it. It’s called Harrison Hot Springs and it’s on a lake surrounded by mountains. You feel like you’re in the Alps. It’s a one of a kind place.
Everywhere you look, it’s picture perfect. Every day I was like “where are we going now?” I couldn’t wait to experience where we were shooting. It’s nice to be a part of that.
It’s so great to hear you say that because Hallmark actors are all so genuine, to the extent that it doesn’t sound like work at all. And it’s that passion that really helps sell the movie and sell the reality that everyone wants to be there.
If you speak to any Hallmark male actor they have very little to complain about. It’s a 15 day shoot and the women carry the movies on their backs. So for the women they have almost double the amount of lines as the men do. We get two, three days off in the 15-day shoot. I just have to show up and basically be supportive of my female lead, and bring it. I do have to bring my A-game for sure.
The best way to describe it is that it’s acting with your heart. It’s like acting with your heart and soul. It’s not having to dive into a character that is so far off of who you are as a person, which I’ve had to do in previous projects. Once you find the character, I find that it’s almost easier working on a Hallmark movie where it’s very genuine and it’s a very close version of yourself.
I feel like this specific character was very close to who I am as a person. I’m an outdoors person. I’m a wilderness guy. So this character was very close to me, but it is acting with your heart, with your soul, and it’s about creating this connection.
I was about 8 or 10 movies in with Hallmark and I really started to get it. It’s almost like doing yoga. It’s never perfect. I don’t think I’ll ever leave a Hallmark movie and go “that was perfect” or “I’ll never do a movie as good as that again”, you know? I think every movie is its own, imperfect but a really beautiful journey.
Hallmark treats their crews, their actors, everybody with such class, and there’s a no asshole policy, too. You’re not working with people that you don’t want to be around.
Speaking of working with others, you had some great costars in this movie, both human and animal.
Yeah, I feel very fortunate to be working with Geoff [Gustavson] and Karen Holness. I’ve worked with them on separate projects before, one on Lifetime and one on Hallmark. I felt like it was a real all-star cast being brought together.
The pig, there were two of them. The pig on the other hand, I couldn’t wait to work with the pig, but man is a pig demanding. A little baby pig. The pig was around two months old, both pigs. And they were just nonstop. They were so loud if they didn’t get their way. Little primadonnas. They should have had their own director chairs with their own set of umbrellas and stuff.
Oh my gosh.
Yeah. They were something. But very cute. Very cute. A couple people have asked what I’ve learned from working with a pig. I’m like, “One, I learned that I don’t want to eat them anymore, and two, they’re way louder than I ever could have imagined.” The screams that they let out are just so ear piercing…I have a year and a half year old who has major lungs, and he doesn’t come anywhere close to this little four pound pig.
People say it’s the hardest thing to work with animals and children, and it is tough because you never know what kind of day you’re going to get with them, but it brings everybody back to reality. There’s purity in that.
I love asking this question because I always get the most interesting responses, especially from people who have done a lot of Hallmark movies. If Hallmark came to you and said, “Andrew, we want to offer you the opportunity to do a movie and you can pick any location you want to film in”, do you have a dream destination in mind?
Great question! I have had opportunities to potentially work in Ireland, and in Scotland. I would love to go to one of those places, to see that part of the country. I’ve been to England before, and I’ve never had the opportunity to go further north, but I would love to see that part of the world. And really, I haven’t been able to go outside of Vancouver a lot just because of the ages of my kids right now. I haven’t been able to travel for a few years, and my wife and I were talking about going to that part of the world eventually.
Greece would be incredible. I know they’ve shot a bunch of movies in Italy. So yeah, it’s tough. There are so many places I’d like to visit, but if I were to pick one of them, or two, I’d say it has to be Ireland or Scotland.
We want to thank Andrew Walker for taking the time to chat with us about his new movie. The 27-Hour Day premieres Saturday, August 7 at 9pm ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel.