Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor to Be a TV Movie

sean_faris_1296940989Lisa Kleypas has finally made the announcement, which means I am free to reveal the news I’ve been sitting on for months.  Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor will be an ABC and a Hallmark channel movie this year called Christmas with Holly.  Better still, unlike some other past “movie deals,” we know it’s the real thing because the movie is already shooting up in Canada for airing this holiday season.

Here’s the Hallmark press release:

Filming begins this week in and around Halifax, Nova Scotia on the newest Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Christmas with Holly.  It will premiere on ABC in December, 2012, with encore presentations on the Hallmark Channel.

“I’ve been holding on to my old dreams.  But I realize I need to make room for new ones.”  So says Maggie Conway, played by Eloise Mumford (The River, Lone Star), in the film.  She’s decided to move on in life after being left at the altar months earlier.

Maggie relocates from Seattle to a smaller, calmer place – specifically, Friday Harbor, Washington State.  It’s the kind of town where everybody knows everybody – but not in a nosy way.  Everybody cares for everybody, too.  She opens a toy story that’s dedicated to kids, encouraging them to explore their imaginations.  As Maggie says, “Kids need to play make believe.  Imagination helps to make their dreams come true.”

The “Holly” in Christmas with Holly is six years old.  Her single mom died a few months earlier.  In accordance with her wishes, her 25-year-old brother Mark, played by Sean Faris (Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Lost Valentine, Leverage) now has full responsibility for raising Holly.  Mark – who runs the town’s coffee shop — has help from his two older brothers.

All three uncles have their hearts in the right place.  But they’re charmingly inept in their new roles – and they’re not helped by the fact that Holly hasn’t uttered a word since her mom died.  That’s where Maggie comes in.  Despite the approach of the busy Christmas retail season, she gives extra attention to Holly every time the young girl comes into Maggie’s welcoming shop.

eloise-mumfordMaggie assumes Mark is “spoken for” during the whole getting-to-know-you dance, because Mark is in a relationship with Shelby, played by Alex Paxton-Beesley.  But that relationship is floundering, and by Christmas Eve Mark and Maggie discover they’ve fallen in love.  All three of them – Mark, Maggie, Holly – are starting to think of a life together as a loving family.

The teleplay for Christmas with Holly is by P’Nenah Goldstein (Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Loving Leah and November Christmas); it is based on the book Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas.  It is directed by Emmy Award winner Alan Arkush (The Temptations, Caddyshack II).  Brent Shields (Firelight, A Smile as Big as the Moon) is Executive Producer; Andrew Gottlieb (Beyond the Blackboard, The Lost Valentine) is producer.

Well, what do you think of the leads?  I can’t say I am familiar with either actor, but they both certainly look the part to me.

So, what do you think?  Are you as excited as I am?

- Sandy AAR

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23 Responses to Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor to Be a TV Movie

  1. barbie says:

    Tv movies and books usually dont work well together they change alot of details and add or subtract from the book information so i hope lisa kleypas has the last call on it ..

  2. Carol says:

    I’m excited to see what they will do with it but the man cast be Mark looks too young to me. I’m interested to see who they cast as Sam and Alex as well. But the casting of Holly looks perfect.

  3. Ann says:

    Mark in the book was the oldest & he owned a coffee roasting business. I am sure there will be more changes. The leads look great!!

  4. Leslie says:

    I am happy for Lisa Kleypas but it looks dreadful to me. The leads look about sixteen and why would they film it in Nova Scotia? Nova Scotia looks nothing like the San Juan Islands. The water alone is completely different we’re talking Puget Sound verses the North Atlantic. There are plenty of islands off the coast of BC if they want to keep the costs down by filming in Canada. Sheesh!

    I remember the Lifetime movies of Nora Roberts books, they were miscast chopped to bits with only a little resemblance to the original stories.

    Ann is right. Mark is the older successful brother who owns a coffee roasting company.

    I’ll stick to the books!

  5. kathy says:

    Is he double jointed or am I looking at the picture wrong?

  6. Carole says:

    The movies of NR’s books were painful to watch – I only made it through a couple. I am a longtime LK fan but didn’t like this book, much to my surprise. So I can’t get excited about a movie version.

  7. CindyS says:

    I have a soft spot for made for TV movies at Christmas time and I hope they show this one up here in Canada. I will definitely tune in to see how it all plays out.


  8. Leigh says:

    Whether you are excited or not about the movies, it is good news for Ms. Kleypas. It means more name recognition for her and allows her to use another median to showcase her storytelling.

    Like many of you I rarely watch a movie of a book I have read. However there is a large population that either never reads or wouldn’t be caught dead reading a romance novel that Ms. Kleypas will have the opportunity to reach.

    I am happy for her. I imagine the vetting process of actually being in the running for a movie is extensive but to actually reach the top and have the movie made is quite an accomplishment. So congratulations Ms. Kleypas.

    • LouiseAAR says:

      The problem is that it won’t be Ms. Kleypas reaching them – it will be the screen writer that massacres the story. I always get excited when they turn books to movies, but then they always ruin the books for me. I still haven’t forgiven Hallmark for what they did to Julie Garwood’s For the Roses and probably never will….

      • Leigh says:

        Yes, but you read the actual book. Many people didn’t so they don’t have a comparison to make.

        Whether you like the idea of a movie or not it is a professional accomplishment for Ms. Kleypas. It means something to her.

        If she is happy then I am happy for her (grin).

  9. LeeAnn says:

    You’re looking at this wrong. Don’t think of it as a book made into a movie. Think of it as a romance movie being filmed that is not (thank GOD!) another reality tv show. Enjoy the book as the book and the movie as a movie. Unrelated.

    • Leigh says:

      Ditto on the glad it is not an reality show. I hang on to the hope that some day the Kardashians will be a thing of the past.

  10. AAR Sandy says:

    I stand corrected. Mark was the oldest brother.

    I choose to view this more optimistically than many of you. The NR movies weren’t all great, but a few weren’t bad. This is a different production company altogether and unlike the NR movies will be on a major network. I love LK and am very excited at this exciting opportunity for her. I’m not thinking of massacred scripts right now, but am hopeful and excited. I think the book is a great basis for a holiday movie.

  11. Leslie says:

    I guess the point is that Kleypas will probably gain more readers and that is a very good thing. She deserves the best and Sandy is right we should all be hopeful and excited about a holiday movie inspired by one of our favorite authors.

  12. PatH AAR says:

    Hope springs eternal as far as I’m concerned. Despite watching too many really badly made TV movies, I’m hopeful that this one will be wonderful. Hurrah for Kleypas! I also hope that TV pays better than publishing. I’ll be watching for this in December.

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  14. Donna says:

    SO excited, loved all three of those books, looking forward to the next & hoping they make movies out of all of them!!!

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  16. trish b says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic on this one. I’m not familiar with the actors here, either, but I’m going to be open minded – and warily excited. I think the fact that Friday Harbor was a shorter book/novella may also work in it’s favor. Here’s hoping it’s really good!

  17. lisa g says:

    Sean Faris is 30 years old and Eloise Mumford is 26, so they’re plenty old and mature enough for the roles of Mark and Maggie, respectively. They’ve both cut their acting chops elsewhere, so let’s give htem a chance and hope that Hallmark does a good job with Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful story.

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