Hallmark viewers have been praising the new Hallmark Mysteries film, “Unexpected Grace,” starring Michael Rady and Erica Durance. But Rady recently revealed that the first version of the movie’s script was very different before Hallmark changed it.
The First Version Was Much Darker
“Unexpected Grace” is about an unexpected connection developing between Noelle (Erica Durance) and Jack (Michael Rady.) Noelle’s daughter died two years earlier, and Jack’s own daughter is still struggling with the death of her mother. They find healing and hope when a wayward balloon connects the two families.
But Rady revealed to Media Village that the original script for “Unexpected Grace” was very different and much darker than what viewers saw on TV.
“Full disclosure, the first draft of this was incredibly different,” he said. “I thought it was an independent film Hallmark purchased as it was very dark. Jack was an alcoholic, barely getting by, and tripping over himself. I was like, ‘This is really dark, but it’s exciting.’ I guess I knew that it would evolve, as it wasn’t quite Hallmark.”
He said the script was changed to help it line up more with the Hallmark genre.
“Then it went through the Hallmark machine,” he explained. “I don’t think many people knew of the original script except me and Erica; when we mentioned it, everyone was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ We’re like, ‘That’s the script we were sent!'”
Rady added that even after it was changed, he felt the movie was very different from what we often see at Hallmark.
“I’ve never seen characters offer something or say something along the lines of what these two people are struggling with, which makes for a very unique union,” he said.
The story was more about the grief journey than a romance journey, he added.
“By putting one foot in front of the other, she is bringing beauty into the world, even though the most beautiful thing in her world is gone,” he explained.
Durance told TV Goodness that she has some experience with grief in her own life, though it’s very different from the movie.
“I’ve never had that specific type of loss or grief, but I do know what it is to grieve and to lose things that you thought were always going to be there and people that you thought were always going to be there…” she siad. “Grief is a very funny beast of a thing that becomes a constant companion. And I just really liked in this story how it spoke to the fact that not only should we not judge ourselves through our process, but to be open to whatever could come our way, and that there’s always something positive and beautiful that can come out of our suffering.”
She told Monsters & Critics her experiences with grief helped her role.
“I’m going through quite a big change in my own life, and I’m managing my own level of grief,” she said. “This movie came along, and I could identify with it. [What] I’ve been trying to balance is my experience of how we walk with the loss of something, how we walk with our own grief and yet stay open to possibilities in the future of new experiences.”
Rady Said He’s Happy to Be with Hallmark
Rady told Media Village that he loves working with Hallmark and is always surprised by how many different people watch the network.
“Hallmark movies are wonderful and always fun to make,” he said. “…Often, I’ll be in an audition and the casting director on the way out will be like, ‘By the way, I love your Hallmark movies.’ I’m so grateful to be a part of that…”
Rady’s credits include “Magnum PI,” 11 episodes of “Chicago Med,” “A New Year’s Resolution,” “The Christmas Bow,” “The Baker and the Beauty,” “You’re Bacon Me Crazy,” “Two Turtle Doves,” “Christmas at Pemberley Manor,” and more.
Durance is known for her role as Lois in 141 episodes of “Smallville,” along with her role as Dr. Alex Reid for 85 episodes of “Saving Hope.” She’s also starred in “Supergirl,” “Batwoman,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Color My World with Love,” “Girl in the Shed,” “North to Home,” “Open by Christmas,” “The Enchanted Christmas Cake,” and more.
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