Alison Sweeney Interview: "Days of Our Lives" Star Talks Hallmark's "Time for You to Come Home for Christmas"
Image attributed to Hallmark Channel
Alison Sweeney is known for her portrayal of Samantha “Sami” Brady on the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives. In 2007, she became the host of The Biggest Loser and left the series in 2015. She starred in the Murder, She Baked film series, based on the cozy mystery novels written by Joanne Fluke, for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
In 2019, Sweeney starred in and executive produced the Chronicle Mysteries series also for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Premiering December 8, 2019, on the Hallmark Channel, she stars in Time for You to Come Home for Christmas with Lucas Bryant (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). The movie is produced by Blake Shelton and is a sequel to 2018’s Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas.
"It was really fun to be offered this amazing movie that is the second one produced by Blake Shelton. I read the script, and I loved it!"
Smashing Interviews Magazine: How did you become involved with Time for You to Come Home for Christmas?
Alison Sweeney: Well, actually, I was approached by Hallmark. It sort of happened because I didn’t do a Christmas movie this year, and some of my fans and other people were asking me about it. So I thought, “Why didn’t I do a Christmas movie this year?” It was really fun to be offered this amazing movie that is the second one produced by Blake Shelton. I read the script, and I loved it!
Smashing Interviews Magazine: How was it to work with Blake Shelton?
Alison Sweeney: He’s obviously so talented and such a hilarious, outgoing personality. But I didn’t really get the opportunity to work with him much in this movie because I came in so last minute. But the movie’s a beautiful story based on the first one with the song he and his mother had written, and it still has Blake’s Christmas song in it. So it’s got a lot of things in it people loved from the first movie, but it has a different twist.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Tell me about your character.
Alison Sweeney: My character (Kat) is a woman who lives in the city and is raising her son by herself. It’s revealed in the early part of the movie that she’s a widow and that she has avoided coming home for Christmas since her husband passed away. I just thought it was a really beautiful story about a woman dealing with the loss of her husband and helping her son get through those feelings. She’s doing the best she can, but maybe she needs some outside guidance, and she gets that from her mom who kind of really strong arms her into coming home for Christmas.
Then she meets a handsome stranger who offers her a little perspective on the situation she and her son are going through. She’s smart enough to take his advice when she hears it, and a beautiful story unfolds for her and her son to find each other again.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: I think both Kat and the handsome stranger are on separate journeys of their own.
Alison Sweeney: Yeah. Exactly. I like that there was a mystery involved, too. He had his own past and his own reason for being there. One of the things I thought was so clever is that part of the reason they bonded and connected and Kat let him in at the beginning is that feeling you get because she thinks she’s not going to see him again. There’s a freedom of getting to know someone or opening up to someone that you think, “This is the last time I’ll ever talk to you, so I can tell you more about myself than I would normally.”
So that part, I thought, was really well handled by the writers and producers that they made it all come together in this way that allows my character to meet this guy, open up to him, connect and bond, think they’ll never see each other again, and they do (laughs).
Smashing Interviews Magazine: During the ice skating scene, was your fall staged for romantic purposes?
Alison Sweeney: Oh, I do ice skate, and yes, that was a fall written into the story for the purposes of the connection and the romance. That was really fun to play. I had to work with Lucas and the director to find the right way to make that fall look really believable. The director of photography told me that I did the best job he had ever seen of some pretend falling. It’s hard to make that look believable and realistic on the exact correct mark every single time! It was a fun challenge for me.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: I wouldn’t have any problems making the falls look real because I’m landing on the ice every time (laughs).
Alison Sweeney: Aw, that’s no fun to land on the ice. Another thing, I was very fortunate to get to work with Lucas because he’s a hockey player, so he knows how to do that. He and I came up with a strategy, and in the end, I was like, “Just so you know, I’m going to let you catch me.” Every time, he saved the day.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: You and Lucas are on the cover ofTV Guide. Congratulations!
Alison Sweeney: Thank you! That was super exciting, wasn’t it? I just loved it.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: What is your most important Christmas tradition, Ali?
Alison Sweeney: The most important, I suppose, is the time spent with my family. We plan nice events with our family and go away on trips together. We like to go up to the mountains and get some skiing in and be in the snow.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: You cooked a few dishes at Thanksgiving. What about Christmas?
Alison Sweeney: I do love to cook all the time actually, not just at Thanksgiving. It’s fun to do it with the kids and have us all be together. I really enjoy that, and it was fun to use in the movie.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Yes. You were very convincing as a baker!
Alison Sweeney: Aw, thank you.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: By the way, your son’s name is Will in Time for You to Come Home for Christmas. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this (laughs).
Alison Sweeney: Yes. It certainly was fun for me to deal with that. It was easy for me to remember.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: So with Sami’s son Will in prison, is there a chance she will return soon?
Alison Sweeney: Oh, there’s always a chance. In fact, I love being at Days. As you know, Sami is so important to me. So it’s always fun for me when they invite me back.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Well, your name was mentioned recently, so you know what happens on a soap when a name comes up.
Alison Sweeney: Yes. Exactly.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: What did you think about Days fast-forwarding a year into the future?
Alison Sweeney: Oh, I thought it was a clever idea. When they told me about it, I thought it was really smart. I love that kind of thing. I watch a lot of shows that kind of do that, so for me, it was sort of fun. But more importantly, it’s how the fans reacted. Also, I think it’s important to remember what it will do to the story when they do something like that and if it pays off. Give them a chance and see how it pays off in the story.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Did you ever doubt that the show would not be renewed for season 56?
Alison Sweeney: No, I never did. I mean, it’s easy for me to say being on the sidelines these days, but I know how much the fans love the show. I know how much it’s important to them. So I was always confident it would happen.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Are you directing more episodes of General Hospital?
Alison Sweeney: I haven’t been able to do that lately because of my schedule, but I’m always on alert for the opportunity.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Are you executive producing the Chronicle Mysteries for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries?
Alison Sweeney: I do executive produce these movies, and we are developing stories for next year. I love the characters, and we’re always looking for some fun twist to put in the next mystery, which is fun for me. It stretches my creativity, and I love that. I have a lot of fun with the actors and the crew. We love it.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: I’m sure spare time is rare, but what do you enjoy on your time off?
Alison Sweeney: I spend time with my kids, sometimes it’s just as simple as staying at home with them because they’re got school and stuff they need to do. For me, it’s important to create that stability for them in their lives. I love being a mom, and I love everything that we do. It’s been fun to spend time with them at home even if it’s just making dinner or helping them with their homework. Sometimes we like to go away on the weekends or Megan and I ride our horses together.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Any other upcoming projects?
Alison Sweeney: (laughs) I think you’ve stretched my limit. You got me. I’m maxed out (laughs). About 37 things I’m doing at the same time. But I’m excited to tweet with everyone on Sunday night and see what they think of this movie. I’m excited for all of it.
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