USS Christmas premieres on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on Saturday, November 28, at 10 p.m. Eastern. The movie will then air multiple times again throughout the holiday season. But where was USS Christmas filmed? The movie was filmed in multiple locations in South and North Carolina. Here’s everything you need to know about where the movie was filmed, including behind-the-scenes photos, including where those USS Polaris scenes were filmed.
Jen Lilley stars in the movie as Maddie and Trevor Donovan stars as Billy. Barbara Niven stars as Elizabeth. Steven R. Monroe directed.
‘USS Christmas’ Was Filmed in South Carolina & North Carolina, including the Battleship North Carolina & USS Yorktown
Although many Hallmark movies are filmed in Canada, USS Christmas was not. In fact, the movie was filmed in both North Carolina and South Carolina, including in Wilmington and Charleston, IMDb reported.
In September, filming took place in Wilmington, including on the Battleship North Carolina, WECT 6 reported. Battleship North Carolina played the role of the USS Polaris at times during filming, Star News Online reported. The Battleship is now a local war memorial and museum. Scenes filmed there included:
- An ornament-making event
- An archives room that Maddie visited
- A dinner with the captain
- Halls where Maddie and Billy walk after a family dinner
The crew wanted an authentic feel to the movie, so there was even a casting call specifically looking for Navy personnel to play extras. They sought male and female Navy personnel — both current and retired — for multiple days of filming. The casting call noted: “Anyone applying for the role should have past or present Navy experience and should be able to provide their own formal Navy Blues uniform and an everyday uniform. You will receive a $50 bump for bringing your own uniforms. In addition, those submitting should have in regulation hair.”
Donovan tweeted thanks to members of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for participating in the Navy Ball scene.
Big thanks to the service members from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune who participated in the Navy Ball scene in Wilmington for #USSChristmas. “USS Christmas” premieres on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. pic.twitter.com/OeMa0f4aL6
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) October 15, 2020
Star News Online reported that tours were still going to take place on the Battleship North Carolina, but the route might be changed. As of the date of this article’s publication, the Battleship North Carolina was open for full public tours because the state was under Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions. Tours are only self-guided and visitors are required to wear masks.
The movie also had scenes on the USS Yorktown in South Carolina, Star News Online reported.
The part on the USS Yorktown was filmed at the Patriots Point & Naval Maritime Museum, Holy City Sinner reported.
Christmas in September, operation Hallmark Christmas movie is underway. pic.twitter.com/346TUcoYrT
— Patriots Point (@Patriots_Point) September 29, 2020
Chris Hauff, public information officer for Patriots Point, told Count On 2: ” lot of times we may reach people that are interested in ships, or the Navy or war or veterans and now through Hallmark, we may attract people that are interested in Christmas or romance and that kind of thing that’s on the Hallmark channel… Something like this will really help us bring visitors to the ship at a time where a lot of people in the travel industry would like to see more people come to their attractions.”
The fighting lady! https://t.co/b4Dt8VPofU
— Patriots Point (@Patriots_Point) November 2, 2020
The Weather Was Still Hot, So Biodegradable Snow Created a Winter Feel
Lisa and David Nieves told WWAYTV3 that her family’s Wilmington home was one of the homes featured in the movie. Lisa said a location scout left a letter on their door, and the rest was history. They had to move out for about a week-and-a-half as Hallmark filmed. David is retired from the Navy, which made the movie perfect for them.
The weather was still pretty hot when they were filming, with temperatures reaching into the 90s during the first week, Donovan told WECT 6. He said: “There was snow all over the place and people walking around in sweaters and it was a strange sight but there’s something very nostalgic about Christmas decorations and snow on the ground and a white Christmas.”
U.S.S. CHRISTMAS filming now in Wilmington, N.C., starring Trevor Donovan and Jen Lilley, seen here enjoying a September "snow" day. pic.twitter.com/bqfeVmyxaq
— Ho! Ho! Holiday Viewing! (@SleepyKittyPaw) September 12, 2020
Despite the heat, they re-created a snowy Christmas beautifully.
Downtown Wilmington is all decked out for Christmas for Hallmark Channel's filming of USS CHRISTMAS, starring Trevor Donovan and Jen Lilley. (Again, in reality, Wilmington almost never has snow at Christmas.) pic.twitter.com/beKRUQaRya
— Ho! Ho! Holiday Viewing! (@SleepyKittyPaw) September 24, 2020
It really did feel like Christmas in Wilmington.
The snow they used was a biodegradable, paper product, WECT 6 reported. Water could dissolve it. Star News Online noted that some New York scenes were filmed in Wilmington, with biodegradable snow and huge ornaments used to give a New York feel.
Here Are Some Specific Filming Locations in Wilmington
- Local neighborhoods
- Locations along the Riverwalk
- A home on Borden Avenue in the Forest Hills neighborhood, and other homes in that area
- Colonial Drive and Brookwood Avenue
- Battleship North Carolina
- Claude Howell Park
- Lisa and David Nieves’ home in Wilmington
- Front Street (between Chestnut and Grace) – This also doubled for a taxi scene in New York City.
- Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center – This was where they met with a historian.
- Wilmington Railroad Museum: Doubles for a scene in New York City at the New York Model Train Museum, Star News Online noted.
- Cape Fear Club on Chestnut Street: This is the location of the Navy ball.
- Caprice Bistro: Where Maddie and Billy had dinner.
- The Pilot House restaurant is the Picasso Restaurant in the movie.
Here’s a photo from the Riverwalk in Wilmington:
And another behind-the-scenes picture:
Here’s another photo taken in Wilmington:
The cast and crew also had to follow strict COVID-19 protocols, WECT 6 reported. These included masks, shields, social distancing, and the like. The cast and crew were tested several times a week for COVID-19, to help everyone stay safe.
— Mrs Hallmark (@HallmarkWatcher) September 23, 2020
Lilley shared this post below, which includes a number of behind-the-scenes photos.
Here’s where the cast stayed during filming in Wilmington:
Donovan shared that they also filmed in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, after filming in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Really enjoyed filming in the beautiful city of Wilmington, NC. Off to Mount Pleasant, SC in a few day. I hear it's really pretty there as well. pic.twitter.com/nQjmwGDBLp
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) September 23, 2020
The movie’s synopsis reads: “Maddie, a reporter for a Norfolk newspaper, embarks on a Tiger Cruise during Christmastime where she meets a handsome naval officer and stumbles upon a mystery in the ship’s archive room.”
Jen Lilley stars in the movie as Maddie and Trevor Donovan stars as Billy. Barbara Niven stars as Elizabeth. Steven R. Monroe directed the movie.