Hallmark is continuing its famed Countdown to Christmas TV movie series with Christmas at Dollywood, starring Danica McKellar, Niall Matter, and Dolly Parton. Read on to learn all about the cast, where it was filmed, and see behind-the-scenes photos. This article will have minor spoilers in terms of photos from the movie, behind-the-scenes pictures, and film locations.
Christmas at Dollywood premieres on Sunday, December 8 at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Central.) Encores will air on Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. Eastern, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m., Dec. 19 at 10:03 p.m., Dec. 21 at 6 p.m., Dec. 25 at 5 p.m., Dec. 29 at 2 p.m., Jan. 1 at 4 p.m., and Jan. 4 at 5 a.m. Eastern.
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The synopsis for tonight’s movie reads: “When a NYC event planner returns to Tennessee to plan the Christmas celebration at Dollywood, she’s paired with the head of operations who thinks he can handle the party just fine on his own.”
‘Christmas at Dollywood’ Was Filmed in Tennessee at Dollywood & in Canada
Christmas at Dollywood was filmed on location in Tennessee, right at Dollywood, with some other parts of the movie filmed in Canada. In fact, this year is the 33rd anniversary of Dollywood, her theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, according to Parton’s bio for Hallmark.
The movie was filmed in Dollywood in early November, Knox News shared. This is unusual for Hallmark, since their Christmas movies are often filmed earlier than this. A scene with Dolly Parton and a band on stage was filmed in Dollywood’s Showstreet area. Showstreet and the Plaza at Wilderness Pass were decorated for Christmas first this year to help accommodate Hallmark’s schedule.
Here’s a picture from the Showstreet filming:
McKellar told Knox News that the movie was a dream to film. “As great as I thought this was going to be, it’s even better, and that’s really because of Dolly. She is the most magical human being I have ever met.”
Here are some more behind-the-scenes photos and videos.
McKellar wrote on Instagram: “That’s the only way to describe working with Dolly Parton… she’s everything you hope she’s going to be and more… Generous, glamorous, kind and of course a total professional. But what might be the most astounding thing about her is her remarkable ability to make people feel wonderful about themselves… every person she encounters feels like a rockstar after just a moment or two of talking with her. She’s magical and I can’t wait for you to see her in this movie!!”
Here are what the Dollywood Christmas lights look like. You can visit in person to see them for yourself.
And here’s Dolly Parton filming and more photos from the Dollywood set filming.
Meet The Cast for ‘Christmas at Dollywood’
Danica McKellar stars as Rachel. McKellar has a long and successful history in TV and film. Her appearances include The Wonder Years (Winnie Cooper), The West Wing (Elsie Snuffin), Dancing with the Stars, Young Justice (voice), The Matchmaker Mysteries, The Wrong Woman (Lifetime), and many Hallmark movies including Perfect Match, Crown for Christmas, Wedding Bells, Campfire Kiss, and My Christmas Dream. McKellar is also the founder of McKellarMath.com and bestselling books that tackle math education. She’s not just an actress, she’s also a mathematics genius. She starred on Hallmark’s Coming Home for Christmas and Very, Very Valentine, and Love in Design. In August she starred in Love & Sunshine.
Niall Matter stars as Luke. He’s well known by Hallmark fans for his leading role in the Father Christmas series. He also starred in Hallmark’s movie Frozen in Love, Love at First Dance, Stop the Wedding, and Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. He had a supporting role in The Predator. His other credits include The Good Doctor, The Best Years, Eureka (Zane Donovan), Primeval: New World, The Good Doctor, Constantine, Supernatural, iZombie, Guilt by Association, Remedy, Watchmen, Melrose Place, 90210, When Calls the Heart (Shane), and more.
Dolly Parton stars as herself. She’s had 26 songs reach No. 1 on Billboard country charts and was the first country artist honored with a Grammy MusiCares Person of the Year award. Forty-one of her albums are Top 10 country albums. And she’s still a huge hit today. In 2016, her album Pure & Simple debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada. She has eight Grammy awards, including in 2017, and more awards in total than we can list here. And this year is the 33rd anniversary of Dollywood, her theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Garwin Sanford (pictured above, second to left) stars as Lyle. He’s perhaps best known by Hallmark fans for his role as William Thatcher on When Calls the Heart. His other credits include Arrow, Love by Chance, The Birdwatcher, Cedar Cove (Collin), I am Vengeance, Endgame, Lucille’s Ball, The Tall Man, Supernatural, Painkiller Jane, Eureka, Merlin’s Apprentice, Stargate Atlantis (Simon Wallis), The Outer Limits, Stargate SG1 (Narim), Higher Ground (Martin), Hawkeye (Capt. Taylor Shields), The Odyssey, North of 60, Booker, 21 Jump Street, Airwolf, and much more.
Christine Cattell (above, middle) stars as Ginger. Her credits include The Real Bros of Simi Valley, Dear John, Till the End of the Night, Seinfeld, Mr. Wrong, Quantum Leap, Night Heat, Big Deal, Loose Ends, and more.
Zoe Noelle Baker (above, right) stars as Ava. Her career has gotten off to a great start, and she also has credits in Christmas Town, My Wife’s Secret Life, Sacred Lies, and Alive (III).
Jason Cermak (above right) stars as Eric. His credits include My Wife’s Secret Life, Gates of Paradise, Fallen Hearts, Dark Angel, A Midnight Kiss, Pretty Little Stalker, Supergirl, Love at First Dance, The Perfect Pickup, Zoo (Greg. Mansdale), Delmer & Marta (Chad Hunter), A Fixer Upper Mystery, When Calls the Heart (Dr. Burns), Murder She Baked, Hell on Wheels, Mutant World, The Dark Corner (Steve Schoenfeld), Red Widow, and much more.
Also starring in the movie are:
- Crystal Lowe (Maggie/Announcer)
- Sarah Strange (Gail)
- Pauline Egan (Alexis)
- Barry Levy (Carl)
- Chris Shields (Mark Haber)
- Andrew Moxham (Vince Blackwell)
- Ramon Terrell (Chef)
Here are some more photos from the movie.
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