By all accounts, Will Kemp and Lacey Chabert got along famously while filming their newest Hallmark movie together on the island of Malta. But while promoting the upcoming premiere of “The Dancing Detective: A Deadly Tango” together, the longtime Hallmark stars publicly disagreed over one thing: how gifted Chabert is as a dancer.
During a series of TV interviews on May 31, 2023, Kemp — who was classically trained in ballet — gently mocked Chabert for continually saying she’s not a dancer. He insists that she nailed the physically demanding role and kept urging her to stop claiming during their interviews that she was a novice. But the duo did agree on one thing: that there’s probably a blooper reel full of proof they both had their fair share of missteps along the way.
Will Kemp Urges Lacey Chabert to Stop Downplaying Her Dancing Skills
In “The Dancing Detective: A Deadly Tango,” which premieres June 2 at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Chabert plays Constance Bailey, “a no-nonsense detective, who insists on doing things her way, which usually means doing everything alone,” per Hallmark. When she is sent to investigate a murder at a luxurious resort in Malta, Detective Bailey must blend in at a big ballroom dance competition held there, but she doesn’t know how to dance. Enter Kemp’s character, Sebastian Moore, a professional, British dancer hired to pose as her husband — and teach her how to dance.
As Kemp and Chabert appeared via satellite for interviews with news stations across the U.S. on May 31, the pair were often asked about their dancing skills, given that dancing is a focal point of their new movie. While Chabert had no formal training growing up, Kemp was classically trained at The Royal Ballet Senior Associates and The Royal Ballet Upper School in England.
“I was basically put into the army wearing tights, is what it felt like — the army in tights,” he told WUSA9 in Washington D.C. “And then I was a contemporary dancer for many years with choreographer Matthew Bourne.”
Before teaming up for “The Dancing Detective” movie, Kemp and Chabert had danced together before when they co-starred in Hallmark’s 2020 flick, “Christmas Waltz.” They both had to learn how to waltz for that movie since Kemp hadn’t been trained in it either. And for the new movie, he had to learn new skills again.
“Ballroom has never been a thing that I trained in or performed in, so there’s always a new challenge,” he said, adding that they brought in the same choreographer they worked with on the last movie to work with them again on learning how to tango.
“We have a couple of other styles in this,” Kemp hinted, not wanting to give too much away. “There’s a nod back to the 1940s, possibly even Fred Astaire. I was able to give a nod to Gene Kelly in the previous (movie) so there’s lots of surprises in this for the audience, too.”
During the WUSA interview, Chabert chimed in, “Well, I am not a dancer!”
As Kemp tried to disagree, she continued, “But you know what, I learned a lot. It was something that was always a fear of mine and I have actually had so much fun learning to dance, and Will is a very patient partner.”
In another interview with Nashville’s News Channel 5, Kemp figured Chabert was going to downplay her dancing skills again, so he called her out before she could even start, telling the hosts, “Lacey is phenomenal.”
He then gently mocked Chabert as she laughed, saying, “She will tell you ‘Dance was never my thing’ and ‘I never really…’ (but) this lady can dance and there were days when she dragged me around the dance floor because I lost my counts and the dialogue and everything. This lady can now dance!”
Still giggling, Chabert said, “You’re very kind and very patient. But, yes, I was very fearful of the dancing when we did ‘Christmas Waltz.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this but I love this story and I want to tell it so much!’ And you know what? Yeah, we just kind of threw ourselves into it and I learned that it was really fun to face a fear and a challenge and to accept that, you know, when you give it your all, sometimes that really is enough.”
Will Kemp & Lacey Chabert Say They Must Have a Long Blooper Reel After Filming ‘The Dancing Detective’
When the duo spoke with PIX11 News in New York, Chabert again told those hosts, “I was not a professional dancer” and Kemp quickly interrupted to say, “She is now. She is now.”
Chabert continued, “It’s fun and it’s a huge challenge, especially when you’re adding dialogue to those scenes where you’re also trying to count and remember dance steps.”
When the hosts asked whether they had lots of bloopers and do-overs while filming, Chabert smiled and said, “That is the one thing about us working together. Because once I start laughing, that’s it. It’s over! I’m the worst — I can’t stop!”
Grinning widely, Kemp quipped, “It’s brilliant. It’s brilliant!”
“So, together, we ruined more takes than we didn’t probably,” Chabert admitted.
“The blooper reel is probably as long as the movie,” Kemp agreed.
As for whether “The Dancing Detective” is just the first in a series of mystery movies, as Hallmark is prone to do? During their interview with WUSA9, Kemp alluded to that likelihood when the hosts encouraged Chabert to keep dancing.
He quipped, “She’s gonna be a professional dancer by the time we finish this series.”
And in an interview with Digital Journal on June 1, he said, “I want the audience to fall in love with these characters, and I hope they want more, so they can enjoy solving crime one step at a time.”