Exclusive: An Interview With Vanessa Lengies From “Take Me Back For Christmas” A Hallmark Channel 2023 “Christmas In July” Original Movie


Kat Harlton

Photos: Hallmark Media

Vanessa Lengies (“True Lies,” “Turner & Hooch”) and Corey Sevier (“Key to Love,” “A Dog Lover’s Guide to Dating”) star in “Take Me Back For Christmas” a new, movie premiering Saturday, July 15 (8 p.m. ET/PT), on Hallmark Channel (U.S) and on W Network (Canada) as part of the network’s annual Christmas in July programming event.

Renée (Lengies) always dreamed of starting her own business but when her mom got sick, she and her husband Aaron (Sevier) moved back to the suburbs to care for her and were forced to put their dreams on hold. Now 10 years later, she is officially stuck in a rut with mounting bills and a dead-end job putting pressure on her normally happy marriage. After a particularly disheartening day working at a local gift shop, an elf running the Santa display offers to grant Renée a Christmas wish. Although skeptical, her exasperation gets the best of her, and she wishes for a different life…only to wake up in a New York City high rise as CEO of one of the most successful meal kit delivery companies in the world. To top it all off, her mom is still alive. It looks like her wish came true and her new reality is seemingly perfect, except for one thing – she is no longer married to Aaron. In a desperate attempt to win him back, Renée hires Aaron, now a successful chef, to develop a Christmas dinner meal kit benefiting local food banks. With her new plan in place, she and Aaron begin to fall in love all over again, bringing her one step closer to “having it all.” But as complications arise in this new reality and the clock ticks closer to Christmas Eve, Renée is forced to ask herself if going back is the key to moving forward in life and love.

Take Me Back For Christmas. PC: Hallmark Media

I had the opportunity to chat with Vanessa about her role, what she 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? 

Vanessa: Preparing for the role of Renée involved a lot of line memorization, at home rehearsals, and big zoom table reads… that, and trying on all the wigs!

Kat: Did you find any similarities between yourself and your character?

Vanessa: Just like me, Renee loves her mom to the moon and back. The bond I have with my mother is otherworldly and I really see this movie as a gift to our relationship, forever and always. 

Kat: Was there anything about your role that was particularly challenging?

Vanessa: I think the biggest challenge of becoming Renee was the emotional rollercoaster she took me on — you see the whole movie play out from her perspective which means I was in every scene. We only had 13 days to film and that required being at the highest highs and the lowest lows on the turn of a dime, non stop. A challenge I truly LOVED however! 

Kat: What were some of your favorite scenes to shoot and why? 

Vanessa: I really enjoyed shooting the hockey sequence, being outside on a rink in the Canadian winter brought me back to my childhood. We also had a lot of fun playing around in the scene where Corey cooks the dinner for the Christmas meal kits, mostly because we got to actually eat the final dinner and it was DELICIOUS, true holiday flavor perfection! 

Kat: Feel-good movies are more popular now than ever, what message do you hope fans take away from these types of movies? 

Vanessa:: I hope these movies keep giving people a reminder that the simpler pleasures in life — love, family, gratitude — are the most valuable. 

Kat: What’s it like to have your Christmas movie premiere in July?

Vanessa:: This is my second straight July with a Christmas movie premiering within a week of my birthday—so, for me, it’s such a gift to be able to share it with the world year round!

Connect with Vanessa on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/littlelengies

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