Actress Elizabeth Bennett appears in the new television movie “Matchmaker Santa” as part of The Hallmark Channel’s original holiday movie marathon spreading Christmas cheer to all…with a side of romance, of course.
The new TV movie will premiere on the network on November 17th and gave Elizabeth the opportunity to work with director David Cass, along with actors Lacy Chabert and Thad Luckinbill.
Elizabeth first gained fans in Barry Levinson’s classic “Liberty Heights.” Since then she’s been popping up on TV and film with appearances in “Castle,” “CSI:NY,” “Heroes,” “NCIS,” the film “Soul’s Midnight” opposite Armand Assante, the TNT pilot “Bird Dog” and the daytime drama “One Life to Live.”
And, she is most proud of her biggest success, adding a new baby to her home life along with hubby and Hollywood writer Jeremy Shipp.
We recently caught up with this busy working actress to find out more about this new holiday movie, getting back into the game after having a baby and comparing her experiences on the big and small screens.
HOLLY: Tell us about your role in the new Hallmark Channel holiday TV movie “Matchmaker Santa”.
ELIZABETH: I play Blaire, Justin’s ex-girlfriend from high school. He and I were the perfect couple back in the day but I went off to New York to chase dreams. Disillusioned, I’ve come back home to work for my father. Santa uses some magical north-pole magic to throw Justin and me together until we finally admit that the old feelings are still burning bright.
HOLLY: What was your favorite part about working on this project? What was not to love about working on this project?!
ELIZABETH: If I had to pick one thing, it’d be the Christmas decorations. No matter what time of year, Christmas decorations make me ridiculously happy. If I could, I’d keep a Christmas tree up year round! That wouldn’t be strange at all, right?
HOLLY: We understand this is your first role back to work after having a baby. What was that like for you? Were you nervous or just ready to get back to business?
ELIZABETH: Getting back to work was tough, not gonna lie. First, I missed my little guy so much. We got the most snuggly baby ever invented and those snuggles are addicting. Luckily the cast and crew let me talk about him constantly. If they got tired of hearing how cute he is, they never let on!
Second… Baby Weight! Argh! Who are those women who are in amazing shape a month after giving birth? I’d just had our sweetpea and it was hard to feel super attractive when my body had gone through so many changes. But, you just have to look in the mirror and say, “Yes, I got two hours of sleep last night, and there’s a foreign substance in my hair, and I’m wearing nine layers of Spanx, but I just grew a whole person! I sure as heck can get out there and be proud of myself! Extra curves and all!”
HOLLY: You got your start working with director Barry Levinson in his classic film “Liberty Heights.” What was it like working on that project with such a master?
ELIZABETH: Wow. Master is definitely the right word. How lucky was I to start off with such a wonderful experience? What struck me about Barry was how calm and gentle he was. He also had an easy laugh, which I think encouraged the cast to be creative and daring. It’s hard to act in a bubble and having that positive feedback from him made us feel like it was safe to play.
HOLLY: You’ve worked in television and film…do you have a preference or is it like comparing apples & oranges?
ELIZABETH: For me the big difference is preparation time. In film, I usually get tons of advance notice and then lots of takes on set to really explore. As a result, I know my character so well before I even start shooting and then I get lots of chances to try new things. TV, however, moves super-fast. I end up using the bag of tricks I already have in place and am comfortable with. As for preference, they’re both fun! I can’t pick!
HOLLY: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
ELIZABETH: When you’re curled up on the couch with your hot cocoa watching Matchmaker Santa, just take a small moment (preferably during a commercial break) to remember the hard-working crew you don’t see on screen! They were the sweetest bunch of people I’ve worked with. Cheerful every morning- even those super early, chilly, rainy mornings. They were kind and generous. Always ready to laugh or volunteer to help. Hallmark has created a little family with its crew. We should all be so lucky! Merry Christmas!
Thanks, Elizabeth! And, Merry Christmas to you...and baby, too!