Interview with Melissa Joan Hart, Duane Henry and Jamey Sheridan of “Mistletoe in Montana” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8
This is a really cute movie with many fun scenes, and I loved the actors in it. It was great to see Jamey Sheridan as an old cowboy! I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, and this Lifetime press panel.
MODERATOR: Hi, all. Our next panel is “Mistletoe in Montana” with EP and star, Melissa Joan Hart, along with stars, Jamey Sheridan and Duane Henry. Hi, everyone.
MELISSA JOAN HART: Hi.
MODERATOR: Thank you for being here. Our first question —
MELISSA JOAN HART: It’s good to see everybody. It’s so good — like, it’s so fun to see the trailer and see we made a movie, you guys.
MODERATOR: Yes. It’s here. It’s happening. Our first question is from Mike from TV America.
QUESTION: Yeah, for Melissa, the first time that we heard from you long ago, you were a kid from New York City and here you are riding horses on a ranch and being a cowgirl and so forth. Did you have those abilities before you made the movie? How did that come about? Or did you have to learn this to make the movie?
MELISSA JOAN HART: Well, when I was a little girl, there was probably one summer that I could afford horseback riding lessons and I did it. I rode on a horse named Sprinkles and just went around a ring, you know, went around an arena, learned how to trot and maybe canter a little. But I always wanted to get back into it. And in my years in L.A., I would do trail rides. And actually, this movie is actually inspired by my cousin’s true-life experience in Wyoming going to a dude ranch. And she met a wrangler and fell in love, so this is the flip flop of that. We were actually at her wedding in Wyoming last year when she got married. And that’s where my mother and I — who produces Hartbreak Films, my mother is my partner — we were on horseback. And I said, “This would make a great movie.” And she said, “Well, do you want to be the wrangler or the guest?” And I was like, “Well, I wanna be the wrangler ’cause I wanna really learn how to be a cowgirl.” So I worked all summer on lessons, lasso lessons. I knew there was archery involved and square dancing, but I was like I’ll have to put that off for right now. I just wanna get comfortable on a horse. So I rode as many horses as I could for as long as I could, learned about different rein techniques and different ways to respond to a horse and how horses respond to you. And I had a — I mean, I had a very fast and furious lesson. There were some lessons where I went away and told my husband, I was like, “I’ll see you in three hours if you’re lucky. I might not make it back.” Because I got a little scared sometimes at some of the stuff I was doing. But I was just trying to get comfortable and it was really exciting. And the horse that I actually ended up riding, his real name was Maverick. We called him Thunder in the movie. But we had such a — I’ve never been so in love as I was with this horse. No offense, Duane, but oh my gosh, that horse and I — Duane knows — we fell madly in love. And the horse and I had a wonderful relationship, a little unlike Duane and his horse, Cherokee. But I’ll let him tell you about that.
QUESTION: And incidentally, how was the archery and the square dancing once you learned?
MELISSA JOAN HART: It was great. Actually, Kellie Martin, one of my very best friends, directed this movie. And we have a friend, (Christine Lakin @ 01:09:59), who’s a director and a fellow child star. And she helped us out with some choreography. A few nights before the shooting of the square dancing, we were like, what are we gonna do? I don’t really know how to do this. I’ve been watching YouTube videos. And so Christine laid down some stuff for us and we kind of learned a little bit of a dance. So that was really fun and exciting and different to do. And it was wonderful to have Christine help us out with that. And the archery, Duane and I just kinda figured it out, right?
DUANE HENRY: Yeah, pretty much.
MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Our next question is from Noah.
QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It is so great to be here to chat with you guys about this beautiful movie, “Mistletoe in Montana”. First off, Melissa, my question is to you. You are like the Lifetime Christmas queen. I think we can all say it. Six Christmas movies with Lifetime. Congratulations to you. Out of the other holiday movies you’ve done with Lifetime, what made this movie really special to film that viewers will get to see on December the 17th?
MELISSA JOAN HART: Well, the things that were really special for me were things like it came from a real-life experience. It was something that I kind of created from scratch and then we got a wonderful writer, Don Perez, who had written some other movies that we produced. So we had this wonderful writer write this fun story that was a true-life event for me, so that was really fun. And then, the horses and then our cast, Jamey and Duane and we had a stellar cast. I mean, we had a lot of fun. I will say it was the most challenging movie I’ve ever been on. But to come out of the other end of that — I mean, the amount of challenges between the fires that were taking place in Montana this summer, the heat. Jamey, I know you can attest to the practical heat stroke we suffered on the set with how we were dressed in a heat wave in Montana. But the riding of the horses and the fact that we made a beautiful movie out of this and it’s gonna be seen by hopefully millions just is a wonderful reminder that these things have legs and they can be enjoyed by everybody hopefully around the holidays for years to come.
QUESTION: Now, Melissa, there’s a scene where Duane’s character, Mark, and your character, Mary, y’all have this bakeoff on who can whip up a delicious breakfast. And it was so funny to watch. It was actually one of my favorite scenes. What is one of your favorite dishes or desserts to make during the holidays if you can share with us?
MELISSA JOAN HART: Duane?
DUANE HENRY: Oh, my favorite dishes — put me on the spot. Well, unfortunately — well, fortunately, I’m a lightweight but I enjoy eggnog.
MELISSA JOAN HART: Wait, wait, when you say lightweight, you mean like an alcoholic version?
DUANE HENRY: (Laughs.) Yeah, I just get a little bit fluffy after a couple of eggnogs, but it’s my thing these days I’ve realized.
MELISSA JOAN HART: I’m more of a — I make a secret recipe pie my grandma passed down called French silk pie. There’s actually some ingredients in it that you can’t eat if you’re pregnant, so I try not to — it’s not quite — it’s not alcohol or anything like that. But it’s raw eggs, but it’s still the most delicious thing ever. I only eat it at Thanksgiving and Christmas and not the rest of the year. And it’s probably — it’s my favorite thing. I can’t have the holidays without it. Jamey, you got any?
QUESTION: Jamey? Yeah. I don’t wanna leave you out.
JAMEY SHERIDAN: Homemade sweet potatoes. My sister used to make homemade sweet potatoes every Christmas. That’s my favorite dish.
QUESTION: Those are good. Those are good. Thank you, guys.
DUANE HENRY: Cheers.
MELISSA JOAN HART: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Those all sound great. Jay, you’re up next.
QUESTION: Thank you. Jamey, hi. My question is for you. It seems like when we see you, we often see you as this dressed-to-the-nines urban professional. And here, you’ve got this great character role that kind of holds the tradition of Christmas TV movie dads but also kind of frontier dads, too. Can you talk about what your mindset was in developing this guy, bringing him to life?
JAMEY SHERIDAN: I’m losing — I’m up to frontier dads. I lost you there.
QUESTION: Okay. Just in general, what were your thoughts about bringing this guy to life?
DUANE HENRY: Frankly, I wanted to be on a horse. I wanted to be on a horse real bad. And it kinda — you know, it hit the target for what I was feeling and — but I just liked him so much as a father. I sort of need father models for my private life being a father as often as I can and Stan’s pretty great. He’s a pretty good guy. So that drew me to it and also, it’s the personnel. Melissa and her mom and everybody was so kind and so open to my ideas, like a scraggly, ugly beard. And everybody said, “Oh yeah, scraggly, ugly beard, let’s do that.” So it made life easy.
QUESTION: Did you see this as a great break from the kind of roles you normally play?
JAMEY SHERIDAN: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, I think what it is is that I see it as the way I am every day of my life off screen. So it was kind of an opportunity to get something from my real life on screen. You were talking about these well-dressed city guys. I don’t think I ever know what I’m doing when I’m dressed as a well-dressed city guy.
QUESTION: Thanks a lot.
MELISSA JOAN HART: I’d like to add to that that our director, Kellie Martin, her husband is from Montana, so she has a long history with Montana and felt very tied to this film. And Jamey’s character was like, she had such a vision for him and she wanted him so much to be an authentic — and she was so excited with casting Jamey because he just had that sort of natural ruggedness and that Montana man, mountain man kind of vibe to him. And he pulled it off so beautifully.
JAMEY SHERIDAN: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Steven.
DUANE HENRY: We had a lot of fun.
QUESTION: Hey —
DUANE HENRY: I’m just gonna say I don’t know if this is gonna be heard.
MODERATOR: Yeah, go ahead.
QUESTION: Now we’re here and it’s so exciting to have you, Melissa, just knowing that — I mean, you are a legend in this game. Let’s just keep it real.
MELISSA JOAN HART: (Laughs.)
QUESTION: And honestly you’ve entertained so many of us for many seasons and many years. And I’m very grateful to have you on and I just want to know, what are the challenges that an executive producer has to have when balancing still being an actress, as well?
MELISSA JOAN HART: Well, this one I will tell you was really tricky. I mean, the location was difficult. We were trying to find an empty dude ranch in July. And that wasn’t easy because these dude ranches are up and running only for the months of June, July, August. So we couldn’t find a place to shoot, so location was really difficult. Once we found location, no Wi-Fi, no cell phone service. With the shortage of rental cars this year, no one had a rental car. Duane got…some funny stories about that.
DUANE HENRY: (Laughs.)
MELISSA JOAN HART: But you know, it was challenging. The location was so difficult, the communication was really hard, the fires and heat wave that surrounded us. And being the executive producer and feeling responsible for my fellow actors and my crew, it was really hard to pull this one off. I mean, there were a few times — we had some breakthrough COVID cases right at the beginning. We lost our DP and our first AD right off the bat. And we’re in the middle of Montana, in like the mountains of Montana. Everyone was terrified the first few days of grizzly bears and then it became — like, that was a real fear, right Duane? Everyone carried their bear mace and we had the whole thing ready to go. And we stayed tight as a crew. But you know, we just had so many challenges on this one. And as an executive producer, you hate to have that with your cast and your crew. And this crew has worked with me many, many movies, so it was a little heartbreaking to have it go — be really difficult to produce. But at the end, we have a movie — like, I kind of can’t believe it, watching that trailer and just seeing the final product is just like, we did it, you guys. We made a movie that hopefully people will enjoy. So that’s one of the challenges of (inaudible @ 01:18:51).
QUESTION: I just want to know what are the parallels between you guys as a person and your characters on the show?
MELISSA JOAN HART: You guys take one. Duane?
DUANE HENRY: I’m sorry, can you repeat that?
QUESTION: Yes. What are the parallels between you as a person and your character? Do you find anything that you can relate to with your character?
DUANE HENRY: Well, primarily I can, obviously, being an outsider coming from the UK and just trying to find my feet in, you know, America and just trying to find some sense of this place. Yes, going to the ranch I guess is just the same sort of parallel energy. I’m just bringing my outside influence and just take from it what I can. And I’ve applied that philosophy throughout my life. So just being on a ranch with my kids, it was almost an element of rehabilitation almost. And I think everyone deserves that and to be forced to do that with my children — I know it’s only a story but if everyone gets to do that, experience something like that, it’s definitely priceless in their lifetime to have a look back on, you know?
MODERATOR: Thank you so much. That is all the time we have for this panel. Thank you to all our panels for being here and make sure to tune in on December 17th only on Lifetime. Thank you all.
Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME Programming Event Beginning November 12th, Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas
Los Angeles, CA – September 28, 2021 – Get ready for the most cheerful holiday season yet! Lifetime announces its largest holiday movie slate ever for the network’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming event, kicking off November 12th with five new movies Fridays and Saturdays, and a premiere on Sunday, November 21st. Then, once the Thanksgiving feast is over and for the first time ever, Lifetime will premiere 30 new movies, in 30 days, with a new movie EVERY DAY from November 26 through December 25. As the #1 holiday movie destination, Lifetime’s 2021 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate will feature 35 new movies and over 1000 hours of holiday programming.
In case that’s not enough excitement for you – get ready for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Holiday Movie Preview hosted by Tia Mowry (star of this year’s Miracle in Motor City)! This special will preview Lifetime’s upcoming 2021 Christmas Movies and will be available on VOD beginning October 24 and will premiere on Lifetime November 7 at 10am ET/PT. In addition to sneak peeks and cast interviews, Tia will share a special holiday treat or cocktail recipe to go with each movie previewed!
At Lifetime it’s never too early to get in the spirit! Beginning October 15, Lifetime VOD will have 10 of your favorite holiday titles available to screen. And if you just can’t get enough – starting November 12, LMC will have 50 of Lifetime’s best holiday movies available to stream!
Proofread and Edited by Brenda