Tonight on Hallmark Channel, Chaley Rose (Nashville) and Nathan Witte (Charmed) star in My Best Friend's Bouquet.
Rose plays Josie Hughes, a hopeless romantic who believes in the kind of love you find in black-and-white movies, where the leading lady finds her one true love and gets swept off of her feet.
Witte plays Alex, her best friend who has secretly carried a torch for Josie since they were in college. Getting swept up in the wedding mania of one of their best friends finds Josie falling hard for the wrong man after catching the wedding bouquet.
That means Alex needs to get out of his own way to show Josie why she's already had the one right at her fingertips.
I had a chance to catch up with both stars to chat about the movie and have some fun by getting their thoughts on love and weddings and all kinds of things to get a behind-the-scenes look at how love blossoms on screen.
Rose didn't even read the script before she accepted the job. She knew from prior experience that she could work with what she was given and find her connection to the character later. "I just worked on making her real," she said.
On Witte's part, he siezed upon the opportunity to play a lead in a Hallmark production. Having played secondary characters many time, he was ready for the leading role.
"And then reading the script, I was attracted to it because it was nice that there was more of a story than just the main story of the two love interests," Witte said.
"There was also a story with the sub characters and plot lines within them. And I really enjoyed that they would really, put them all together in more of a story, as opposed to just following the to two leads. So I really appreciated that because it felt like more of a well-rounded script when I read it."
Witte shared several photos of their experience on Instagram, and it looked like they had a lot of fun during production. Witte complimented Chaley with his thought that it all starts at the top.
"Shaley definitely came on set with a very leisure, professional, but very leisure and a funny attitude. She'd really break the ice every day and that's just kind of her demeanor. She's really great to get along with sweet woman."
Since Hallmark is the "bread and butter" for a lot of working actors and crew in the Vancouver area, some people already knew each other, making the transition to onscreen friends easy.
Still, Witte said, "it isn't too often where you can get onto a set and immediately just feel like you all know each other. And that was just sort of a rare moment.
That camaradarie plays out very well in My Best Friend's Bouquet, and it fosters the feeling that the characters have known each other a lot time. And that's imperative to the film working, since Josie begins dating someone just at the moment Alex wants to reveal his feelings.
Although, like Josie, Rose isn't wedding obsessed, she did find ways to relate to her character. Something she's had to work on is "optimism and belief in romance," Rose said. "That there is this great romantic love story for me, even. And so I think in a lot of ways, I related to her like that.
"Where it's like, I believe this, I don't think this is crazy at all to have this dream. It's funny because I say to my friends, I don't want to do a dating app, I want to have a meet cute. And so Josie, there's a line in the movie where she talks about this, having a meet cute. And then that way we're the same."
It's Josie's belief in romance and the romantic spirit that causes Alex to step back and press pause on his notions toward his best friend. So, how does Alex fit into the picture?
Witte explains. "Alex, in his perspective, feels like he fits in the picture all the time, and it's only to his disappointment, but he gets to not feel that way because Josie doesn't seem to notice him."
He continued, "Alex has had a deep crush and love for Josie since college. He's been trying to put subtle hints there, as he is a little afraid to ruin a great relationship because he does really care about Josie's friendship.
"And, he kind of gets left out to dry a few times and it takes him a while to kind of pick up those bootstraps and maybe go another way, because she doesn't seem to ever look his way."
Rose sees it like this. "Josie and Alex have that friendship that is super easy. They finish each other's sentences, they just really know each other and enjoy each other's company, and they admire each other. It's insane to me that it took her that long to get it. Took Josie that long to get what she was dealing with there.
"It's just one of those friendships that's really easy. I imagine they were probably instant friends when they met in college, but the type of friends who make sense as husband and wife."
So Alex ups his game and reminds Josie of their strong bond with special outings and just being there for his friend. On one outing, they engage in a game of Cornhole, and it looks like so much fun.
Rose, a native of Indiana, grew up with the game. That doesn't mean she's excels at it. She laughed, "No, it's funny. I hate corn hole, and it's probably because I have terrible aim. So when you're watching that scene, just know that I never got one in, even if I'm pretending to have, it didn't happen."
She wasn't alone! Witte said, "I'm kind of hit or miss. Like 50/50 but, but it takes a while to kind of get your, get your vibe. It looks really easy, but once you start talking, you're just like, Oh no, that's not so good."
Neither Rose nor Witte is married, but they do have thoughts on dating and weddings, as well as the passion Josie and Alex share of watching movies, especially of the romantic variety.
"One of my favorite movies of all time is Moulin Rouge," Rose said, "which is tragic, but I love the type of concept where it's just like, there's no way this is going to work, and the end of Moulin Rouge it really doesn't.
"But I also really love science fiction, and I love epic films that typically kind of draw masculine audience. And I love the ones that have a great love story intertwined. So, I'm definitely not the film noir, black and white movie kind of girl, but I do love romance, and I love it when it presents itself in an unusual way.
Witte, too has eclectic taste when it comes to love stories. "There are a few actually. One that definitely gets the heart strings going is Titanic, for sure. And then another one would be Love & Basketball. Two totally different movies, with love on two different paradigms, but love stories nonetheless."
As for his favorite way to break the ice with someone he's getting to know, Witte turns to laughter.
"One of my favorite dates would be going to like an improv show where even if someone is really wound up pretty tight, it's hard not to go to an improv show and have a laugh, you know? "Maybe not laughing at everything, but definitely breaks the ice and gets everybody in a good mood.
"And then after that, living here in Vancouver, it gets pretty easy to do some romantic stuff; just going down to the beach and watching the sunset at the end of the night would be a great go-to for me."
When it comes to weddings, both Rose and Witte appreciate the good time to be had with the celebration.
"I love going to weddings," Rose said. "I think that witnessing the union of love is a beautiful thing, but I really love a good wedding reception. I just think it's the best party.
"It's like everyone, both families, can breathe a sigh of relief. The stressful part is over, and hopefully, there's a really good band or DJ, open bar, and good food. I love weddings."
And Rose has some experience the area having seen her three best friends through their nuptials. She has a close group of friends, all of which she's known from the fourth to the seventh grade onward. But when it comes to the bouquet, you won't see her leaping for it, no matter how close she is to the bride.
"I side step away from the bouquet. I don't know where that came from. Maybe my attitude now has changed because I feel like I'm in a place now where I am ready to meet someone and get married. But up till now, I was the, 'let me just take a little step to the last and just avoid, just avoid this thing,'" Chaley laughed.
"But also, there are women there who are really passionate about it, and you know, I'm not matching them on their level. So I'm just going to let them have it. I do think I've caught it before, but I think I was like 12. So the lore did not work on me. I was not a child bride."
It turns out that Witte has been a hit at past weddings and is welcome to participate in future endeavors. "Well, I'm not married, but I've definitely been to a few weddings. I was the best man at the wedding of a very good friend of mine two , three years ago. And I was supposed to go to two other weddings this year, but of course, that got shut down.
"And so I'll be MC at these two weddings. So I guess people really appreciate my humor, which I think there is lack of most of the time," he said.
Both actors are also looking forward to getting back to work again, maybe not as normal, but at least as normal as things will get in the near future.
Chaley feels very fortunate to have done My Best Friend's Bouquet. "Because people aren't working, and so it felt so good to feel like I was contributing to society in some way. And to be out in the world during lockdown.
"I actually voiced a character in a Sci Fi short, called Void, which was really fun and totally in my wheel house beause I love Sci Fi. It was so exciting for me to do that, and playing kind of an ever-present-theory character called Program. And I have another friend who's written another short; his name is Lamont Magee.
He writes for Black Lightning and lots of other things. He wrote a short that was meant to be shot in the real world. So he's rewritten it for Zoom. I'm going to shoot that. Just trying to stay creative as best I can.
"I left my old team, I have new managers. It's just like, you're not anchored to anything, which you can really play in your favor when you're ready to shake things up. So, who knows, there could be nothing but opportunities ahead."
The discussion with Witte wasn't as concrete, but he's open to opportunities, including revisiting familar charcters, such as Robles on Batwoman. "That would be very cool. I had a lot of fun on that set, and it was definitely an interesting part of my career just because a show like that is very tight knit and a lot of information doesn't come out as readily.
" So I was in the dark half of my time on set, but I didn't even realize the character, I was, I knew I was mobilized, but I didn't know to what extent. Even the directors on some of the shoots didn't even know, so they couldn't even tell me.
"That was definitely an interesting point in my career to try to trust enough that we're giving exactly what the audience needs.
"And I guess I was trying not to allude to who I was potentially going to be, but yeah, I would love to come back for Batwoman. The show is going to be going in a completely different direction. So I think that would be very interesting to be a part of."
The direction he's talking about, of course, is courtesy of Javicia Leslie donning Batwoman's cloak as the first African American in the role. Witte is eager to see how it plays out.
"I think it's great because Batwoman is a fictitious character, and when it comes to fictitious characters in the world of acting, I don't think it should really matter, necessarily, what the ethnicity of the person is," he said.
If someone can bring the caliber of acting required and exudes the characteristic needed, then he thinks we should be open to that.
Citing Shakespearean plays in which men played all the roles, male and female alike, he thinks it especially works with well-known characters. "Because we know those characters so much, it's like, we almost like we become essentially blind to what a person's ethnicity is because we're already so involved in the character."
Charmed is another show that features Witte, who plays the villain, Godric. "Tthey left it open-ended, and I would be thrilled to come back to that set," he said.
But for now, it's all about My Best Friend's Bouquet, a Hallmark movie about love and friendship. It's definitely one to watch, and you can do that tonight at 9/8c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.