Actors Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell are quickly becoming just as powerful behind the camera as they are in front of it. The dynamic duo co-wrote Hallmark Channel‘s “Three Wise Men and a Baby,” which premiered in November and became the most-watched cable TV movie of 2022. Campbell was also one of the lead actors, while Sustad made a cameo appearance as a doctor.
Though both are still acting in Hallmark movies — Sustad’s “Game of Love” premiered on March 12, while Campbell’s “The Cases of Mystery Lane” debuts on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on March 19 — they’re now such a sought-after writing team that they’re having to develop more than one movie at a time. In a new interview, Sustad dropped some hints about what’s in the works for fans to watch for.
Kimberley Sustad Reveals She’s Writing 2 New Movies With Paul Campbell
Sustad and Campbell had been working as a writing team for a couple of years when Hallmark asked them to play with an idea it had been considering: combining Campbell with two other network fan favorites — Andrew Walker and Tyler Hynes — to star in a movie based on the 1987 hit “Three Men and a Baby,” Campbell told MediaVillage.
Campbell said, “They got (us) on the phone and said, ‘We’d love to do a movie with these guys. Would you guys be interested in writing it? What can you come up with for a story?’ They kind of planted the seed and then (Kimberley) and I grew the tree.”
“My aim with Kim was to write natural-sounding dialogue in the way people speak, but that’s not always the case,” he continued. “We know Tyler and Andrew, so we knew how they spoke and had their voices in mind. But I handed the script over, and as soon as we got on set, I was no longer a writer. Anybody that came up with something funnier than what was on the page won.”
Between Sustad and Campbell’s writing, and the stars’ ad-libbing, the comedy was a smash hit, paving the way for them to keep writing the funny material they love. Right now they’re working on two movies at the same time, Sustad told TV Fanatic in an interview published on March 11, 2023.
She said, “Paul and I are writing a script called ‘My Week in Wyoming,’ which is going to be an amazing tale. It’s almost like a ‘City Slickers.’ And it’s not Christmas, but it’s really funny.”
The second movie is top-secret, she said, but one they have high hopes for.
“We’re also working on a Christmas movie that we’re writing, and I’m not allowed to say anything about that one,” she continued, “but it’s also going to, I hope, blow the doors off as well. So we’re having a lot of fun doing that simultaneously, actually.”
Many fans have expressed hopes for a “Three Wise Men and a Baby” sequel, but Campbell told Wide Open Country in December that it’s more likely the three leads will reunite in new roles.
“The consensus was that a sequel would probably be a mistake only because it’s so difficult to rekindle that magic and tell a different story, but the same,” Campbell said. “We want to take the three of us — the three boys — and keep making different movies with the three boys. Reinvent ourselves every time. And so I think we can have a lot of fun.”
At the time, he said they had “one idea that’s already percolating” which they planned to pitch to Hallmark Channel, so it’s possible that’s the Christmas movie he and Sustad are currently developing.
Sustad Says Teaming Up With Campbell Wound Up Being a ‘Perfect Fit’
Sustad and Campbell got their start as writing partners with the 2020 Hallmark movie “Christmas By Starlight,” she told TV Fanatic in an interview published on March 11, 2023. It started while they were filming a different movie, “A Christmas Godwink,” when they realized they had good chemistry and laughed a lot together.
“The movie was really sentimental, and we kept saying, ‘Oh, I wish we had the chance to do a romcom or something like that’ to really test this energy that we had,” she recalled. “Because when the cameras started rolling, it was joke after joke, and we were laughing hysterically, even though that was not the movie we were filming.”
When Campbell asked her if she’d ever considered screenwriting, Sustad remembers saying no — but also sharing an idea for a movie she had, which he loved. Months later, Campbell convinced Sustad to develop the story with him, which they did without telling anyone at the network. Then, before a Hallmark event, she said they surprised executives by showing up with a movie idea and script for “Christmas By Starlight.”
She said, “We pitched them the movie, and then we handed them the script, and they were like, ‘What? You wrote it?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, yeah. So have a read.’ And they did and loved it. And that’s kind of how we began.”
About a year later, they were filming the movie, she said, adding, “we’ve kind of just kept going ever since then.”
With several movies now under their belt, including the uber-successful “Three Wise Men and a Baby,” they’ve figured out that what started on a whim turned out to be a very smart move.
“We have very different skills that work surprisingly well together when making a movie, which I didn’t know at the time,” she told TV Fanatic. “I really didn’t know a ton about writing, but I did know a ton about story. And then, when we started putting those pieces together, it just sort of was the perfect fit.”
Campbell told Media Village the same thing, explaining their different strengths as writers.
“Kimberley has an extraordinary gift for story and for character,” Campbell said. “And she is like an encyclopedia of ’90s rom-coms. She understands story and what makes it compelling. I have a technical eye and am good with taking those ideas and turning them into dialogue. She’s like a broad stroke (artist) who gives me a lump of clay and says, ‘I think it has to (maybe) look like this.’ I go, ‘Oh, I can make a pony out of that,’ and then we work together to kind of polish it. It all just works.”