Photos: Hallmark Media
Brant Daugherty and Clare Bowen star in “#Xmas” a new, original movie premiering Friday, November 25 (6 p.m. ET/PT), on Hallmark Channel (US) and on Friday, December 16 (8 p.m. ET/PT) on W Network (CAN) as part of the network’s annual “Countdown to Christmas” programming event.
Brant portrays Max, who is enlisted to help his best friend Jen (Bowen) pose as a family influencer to win a brand’s design contest.
I had the opportunity to chat with Brant about his role, what he hopes the audience connects with and what’s next.
Kat: You’re in an exciting new holiday movie, how did you prepare for the role? Did you find any similarities between yourself and your character?
Brant: Thank you! I always start preparing for roles by dissecting and understanding my character’s way of thinking. Max is such a steadfast, optimistic guy. He’s always trying to find the beauty in everything. I created a backstory for him that supports those traits and then let him loose in the world of the film. Our lovely director Heather Hawthorn-Doyle did a great job of letting us play and explore our characters in different situations.
Max and I are quite different people but we’re similar in a few key ways. We’re both very family-oriented and would do anything to help the people we love. We both aim high with lofty goals. We’re both trying to find meaning (and work!) in creative fields.
Kat: Was there anything about your role that was particularly challenging?
Brant: Max has spent most of the last few years hiding how he really feels about Jen. In a lot of ways, I’m not that patient. So finding ways to be near somebody I love without actually being with them, that was a challenge. There’s a line to walk, between waiting in the wings for your chance and overstepping the boundaries of a meaningful friendship. How does anyone navigate that?
Kat: What were some of your favorite scenes to shoot and why?
Brant: I always love playing characters with something to hide. And in this case, Jen and Max are hiding the fact that they aren’t married and living as a family. So the scenes where we come close to getting caught or have to find clever ways to keep up the charade, those are some of the most fun to me. And working with Clare Bowen was a treat. So anytime we’re on screen together, we’re probably having a great time. We improvised an entire scene together onset. Live tweet along with me during the movie and I’ll tell you which one.
Kat: Feel-good movies are more popular now than ever, what message do you hope fans take away from these types of movies?
Brant: If these movies can provide a second of relief from the craziness of the modern world, I’m happy to be a part of it! We spend so much of our time on social media comparing ourselves to everyone else. I hope you watch this movie and feel good about being exactly who you are, because that’s enough.
Kat: Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
Brant: ‘A Christmas Movie Christmas’ is, without a doubt, the best holiday movie ever conceived of or produced in this (or any other) universe, in perpetuity, for all time. What I’m trying to say is, it’s pretty decent. But I look forward to #XMAS usurping the throne this season.
I also enjoy Elf.
Kat: Do you or your family have any special holiday traditions?
Brant: My wife Kimberly and I had our son last year, so this is his second Christmas. We’re still figuring out our holiday traditions together. I’m sure we’ll develop some fun ones. Right now, I can overhear her showing him ornaments on our Christmas tree and explaining where they all came from. That’s pretty great.
Kat: What’s next?
Brant: This year has been intense. I’ve acted in a few films, I directed my first feature film that I wrote and produced alongside Kimberly. We sold another script that we’ve been writing. Right now, I’m just looking forward to taking some time off with my family and enjoying the holidays. I have some really fun things in the works already for next year and I can’t wait to share them with everyone.
Connect With Brant: https://www.instagram.com/brantdaugherty