Hallmark continued its famed Countdown to Christmas TV movie series in 2019 with Christmas Under the Stars, starring Jesse Metcalfe, Autumn Reeser, and Clarke Peters. The movie is reairing in 2021. Read on to learn all about the cast, where it was filmed, and see the inspiration behind the movie.
The synopsis for the movie reads: “When Nick, a career-focused investment banker, is fired from his high-powered firm at Christmastime, he takes a job at a Christmas tree lot owned by a warmhearted widower. There, he meets Julie, an astronomy teacher who’s always looked to the stars for hope. As the Christmas spirit washes over him — and he begins falling for Julie — the once self-centered Nick discovers the joy of helping others.”
‘Christmas Under the Stars’ Was Filmed in Canada
Christmas Under the Stars was filmed in Canada, according to a video clip of Reeser that Wardrobe Girls (who work on Hallmark movies) shared while filming. This clip was tagged in Langley, British Columbia.
And here’s another scene in Langley:
The Author Said His Own Job Loss Inspired the Book Upon Which the Movie Is Based
The movie is based on Rikk Dunlap’s book, “The Christmas Tree Lot,” Chicago Tribune shared. Dunlap lost his job in his 50s. He’s now a maintenance worker at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He’s lived in the Chicago region since he was a child.
Interestingly, the Hallmark movie was based on his book even before his book was published.
His book was inspired by a Christmas tree popup shop that opens in Richton Park every year. He said he would pass by the lot twice a day when he worked downtown.
He told Chicago Tribune: “Seeing that just always got me into the Christmas spirit. I kept saying I have to write a story. I don’t know what, but I have to write a story… Then one year I just got into it. I started writing and writing and I created all the wrong characters and then the right character came along. And as soon as he came along the story took on a life of its own.”
In his book, the main character “squanders some money” and then loses his job. That’s when he meets the man who runs the tree lot. He learns a lot about life from the man who runs the lot.
Dunlap told Chicago Tribune that there’s a lot of himself in the character Nick. When he wrote the book, he had just lost a job after working 37 years at an engineering firm. He took a year off to write, wondering what he was going to do with his life.
And he really wished he could meet someone in real life like the man in his book who runs the Christmas tree lot.
The Stars Shared Behind-the-Scenes Moments on Social Media
Here are some more fun behind-the-scenes photos.
What’s Filming also lists Abbotsford (Montrose Avenue) and Vancouver (330 West Pender Street) as filming locations. Here are some film notices.
And here are more behind-the-scenes pictures.
Meet The Cast for ‘Christmas Under the Stars’
Jesse Metcalfe stars as Nick. He’s perhaps best known for his lead role in Chesapeake Shores. He recently starred in Christmas Next Door in 2017. He has many other credits to his name, including Dallas (Christopher Ewing), Passions, Desperate Housewives, John Tucker Must Die, God’s Not Dead 2, Insanitarium, The Other End of the Line, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, The Tortured, The Chase, Dead Rising, Smallville, and more.
Autumn Reeser stars as Julie. She was just in Hallmark’s All Summer Long in August and in Love on the Menu in February. She was in another food-themed movie in August 2018 called Season for Love. She has many credits to her name, including recently finishing Amazon’s Salvation and starring in The Arrangement. Her many credits also include Sully (a Clint Eastwood movie in which she starred opposite Tom Hanks), Valley of the Bones, Dead Trigger, Kill ‘Em All (opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme), Last Resort, The Whispers, Entourage (Lizzie Grant), No Ordinary Family, The O.C., Valentine, Pushing Daisies, Ghost Whisperer, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Star Trek Voyager, CSI, Hawaii Five-O, Human Target, Raising the Bar, So Undercover (with Miley Cyrus), The Big Bang, Smokin’ Aces 2, Lost Boys 2, and more.
Clarke Peters stars as Clem. His many credits include His Dark Materials (Dr. Carne), Love Is (Wiser Yasir), Bulletproof (Ronald Pike), An Acceptable Loss, Chance (Carl), The Deuce, The Blacklist: Redemption, Jericho (Ralph Coates), Underground, The Tunnel (Sonny), Partners in Crime, Forever, The Divide (Isaiah), Treme (Albert), Person of Interest (Alonzo), Doctor Who: Dreamland, Holby City (Derek), Damages (Dave), The Wire (Det. Lester Freamon), Night & Day (Gabriel), The Corner, and more.
Anthony Bolognese (pictured above with Clarke Peters) stars as Matt Gibbons. His credits include Supergirl, Missing, Ghost Wars, Falling for Vermont, Supernatural, Say You’re Sorry, All Things Valentine, Cadence, A Gift Wrapped Christmas, and more.
Also starring in the movie are:
- Yoshié Bancroft (Kate)
- Matthew Clarke (Dave Voss)
- Zoriah Wong (Mia Knowles)
- Michael Kopsa (Sydney Bellwith)
- Ken Camroux-Taylor (George Eckland)
- Chad Riley (Reg)
- Jocelyn Gauthier (Emily Kane)
- Brandy Le (Nick’s Assistant)
- David Stuart (Lead Board Member)
- Kharytia Bilash (Vivian)
- Moneca Delain (Rae Knowles)
- Samantha Ferris (Ellen Wardstone)
- Sean Millington (Field Manager)
- Richard Meen (Lieutenant)
- Gordon Cormier (Wise Man)
- Eric Pollins (City Councilman)
Here are some more photos from the movie. Despite being filmed in July and August, they captured that Christmas feeling perfectly.
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