Star Gets Food Poisoning While Filming Hallmark Movie: ‘Just Trying to Survive’

Food poisoning

Heavy A man holds his upset stomach

Though actor David Gridley says starring in his first Hallmark movie “was an overall wonderful experience,” it was not without its challenges. While filming “Love in Zion National: A National Park Romance” with Cindy Busby, premiering on May 20, 2023, the Hallmark newcomer got a terrible case of food poisoning on the first day, dealt with extreme weather conditions, and got completely lost in the park, he revealed in a new interview.

Knowing that he was playing a “native Puebloan park ranger park ranger” named Adam, per Hallmark, Gridley told Just Jared that he prepared in part by doing hiking workouts since the role required hiking at high elevations in Utah’s Zion National Park, known for its canyons and cliffs. But nothing could prepare him for the hurdles he wound up facing.

“It felt almost like every day there was a new challenge,” he said.

David Gridley Says He Got Food Poisoning on First Day of Filming

Cindy Busby and David Gridley

HallmarkCindy Busby and David Gridley in “Love in Zion National: A National Park Story”

Hoping to make a good impression on his first day of filming “Love in Zion National,” Gridley said he wound up just “trying to survive.”

“One of the big challenges off the bat was that I actually got food poisoning the first night, which was gnarly,” he told Just Jared.

“The first day of shooting, I’m just like trying to survive,” he explained, “and put on a (good) face because the night before I was sick all night.”

“That was, that was a unique challenge and was probably the hardest day on set,” Gridley continued. “I think we had 10 pages [that first day], so it was just, you know, a ton of dialogue and, I’m just trying to push through.”

Once Gridley had fully recovered, he appreciated that his co-star Cindy Busby was so prepared for filming in the elements. The actress has also appeared in Hallmark films like 2021’s “Chasing Waterfalls” and 2022’s “Love in Yosemite,” both which had nature themes.

“She’s the best,” he said. “Cindy is such a positive force and such a professional. She’s always prepared, always, to just be ready to help out with everything.”

That, he said, included bringing snacks she shared on the set and even thinking to bring silverware. During a Facebook Live session on May 18, Busby said that she’s learned how to be prepared for anything out in nature.

She said, “I make sure that I have lots of water — always travel with water, snacks, and maybe some sunscreen. And maybe extra socks!”

Extreme Weather Conditions Posed Unique Challenges for Filming ‘Love in Zion National’

Cindy Busby and David Gridley

HallmarkCindy Busby and David Gridley in “Love in Zion National: A National Park Story”

“Love in Zion National” was shot on location amidst the park’s famous canyons and sandstone cliffs, which the National Park Service says often attracts over 5,000 visitors a day. While beautiful, Gridley said one of the unexpected challenges the cast and crew faced was extreme weather conditions, with temperatures often dipping below freezing.

During an interview on the Suspenders Unbuttoned podcast, Busby said the filming schedule had to be pushed back due to late March and early April due to the unprecedented snow in Utah this spring. On April 5, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Salt Lake City International Airport had nine inches of snow on the ground, its highest snow depth ever for the month of April.

“We had to postpone, but we already had an air date so we couldn’t really postpone much longer,” she said. “We were certainly working around the snow and we had to change our days a lot.”

“A lot of the days we had got interrupted by snowstorms, which was crazy for this time of year,” Gridley told Just Jared.

He continued, “We’re shooting it to look like a summer movie, so we’re in t-shirts and 18 degree weather and, thankfully, there were crew there the whole time, ready to give us our coats right after we were done shooting because it was just freezing. “And we tried to like layer up underneath as much as we could, but some of the outfits had short sleeves, so that was pretty brutal.”

Gridley added, “What’s funny is right when we left, it just jumped up to 70s every day while while we shot in like 30-degree weather, 18-degree weather. It was crazy.”

On May 19, Busby posted an Instagram video full of behind-the-scenes footage of the cast, crew and park — including filming in the snow and bundled up in winter parkas.

There were ATVs to transport the cast and crew into the canyons for filming, but after one of the snowstorms, Gridley said, he and fellow actor Liam Riley Woodrum, who plays his brother in the movie, got lost while trying to get to the set.

“We ended up getting lost because our maps took us 40 minutes past where we were supposed to be shooting,” he said. “We were driving in like five inches of snow with no track. So we were just kind of figuring it out, which was, which was a little intense. But, um, it was good brother bonding for sure.”

Dressed in their ranger costumes for the movie, they eventually found some actual park rangers who helped them find their way.

“It was funny coming into the park with the costume on and then having to ask them for directions on where we were supposed to be going,” he laughed.