‘Tis the season to get married. And, if you’re a fan of the Hallmark Channel, then you can watch hopeless romantics get married all month long.
The wedding bells were ringing for Kellie Pickler
and Wes Brown
in “Wedding at Graceland,”
a sequel to their holiday hit “Christmas at Graceland.” When Laurel and Clay decide to tie the knot at Graceland Chapel, they only have 3 weeks to make it all happen.
Actress Nicole Stanton
jumps into the planning phase as the traditional, pearl-wearing Isabel Couper. She arrives just in time to offer up some well-intentioned step-motherly advice, which happens to be the complete opposite of the groom's parents.
With lots to do and the in-laws opinions flying, will Laurel and Clay be able to pull off their dream wedding? Of course, they will – this is Hallmark.
Before this made-for-TV movie, Nicole earned ‘Best Actress’ at the COM Film Festival for The Visit. She also appeared in Possibility, the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ winner at New York Int’l Indie Film and TV Festival, and In the Shadows, the ‘Best Film’ winner at Reel Women Film Festival. She starred in the indie pilot project, Bourbon Street and produced, co-wrote and starred in the web series Spinster!, a semi-autobiographical tale about a still single 40-something.
Nicole Stanton recently took some time to answer a few questions:
Tell us about your role in “Wedding at Graceland.”
NICOLE: Happy to! I had the pleasure of playing Kellie Pickler’s stepmom, Isabel. Laurel, Kellie’s character, and Isabel are still kind of getting to know each other and Isabel really wants to jump in and help her with the wedding - what a great way to bond, right? But her ideas for a more classic. sophisticated wedding clash with Clay’s parents, who want to throw, basically, a huge, "go big or go home" kind of party. So how do you bond with your new stepdaughter when you are busy disagreeing with her mother-in-law to be? Hard to do...
What would you consider your characters ‘best’ quality? And their ‘worst’?
NICOLE: I think Isabel has a great heart. She is a more “internal” type of character, thoughtful and a bit more reserved, which sometimes can be mistaken for not caring as much or being snobbish, but I think she really loves this new family that she now has and wants to become more of a part of that. I do think she can be stubborn in her ideas, thinking that her way is “the way” - but I think we can all fall into that at times.
How was it to work alongside Kellie Pickler and Wes Brown?
NICOLE: It was wonderful to meet and work with both Kellie and Wes. Kellie brings so much to the table overall and in such a humble way. She was really open to work with as an actor. And Wes is a wonderful actor and storyteller and was very welcoming to us newbies, as was the entire rest of the returning cast. And they both have a great sense of humor which helped to keep things light and fun on the set while shooting. Kellie also has been known to break out into a song while in between takes too, which just always put a smile on my face!
Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?
NICOLE: We did have a real-life wedding happen during the filming of the wedding scene for the movie, which was kind of amazing. Trey Fox and Julie Lighty who work on the production side of things, actually got married in the Graceland chapel, as it was beautifully decorated and ready to go, during our “lunch break.” It was a shorter, but beautiful ceremony, performed by Julie's uncle, and we all were invited! And as we were all decked out in our wedding gear, we fit right in with their family and friends. Afterwards, they went off to their own reception, while we finished up our lunch break and got back to work, filming our own wedding reception. "Life imitates art!"
Did you feel any pressure since this is a sequel to Hallmark’s hit movie “Christmas as Graceland”?
NICOLE: Well, only in the sense that we all wanted to bring our best, of course, to make this movie just as much fun, if not more so, than the first one. As I said before. everyone who was involved with the first movie, made all of us just joining, feel so welcomed. It was one of the nicest sets I have ever worked on! The whole production crew was awesome to work with. I also very much enjoyed working with the director, Eric Close and how his sensibilities as an actor fed into his directing. He was always open to listen to the actors’ ideas for their characters. It’s great when you have that common language from the get go.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from working on this project?
NICOLE: I learned just how important it feels for me to be of service to a project. That what feels the best for me, is when you’re working together to make something as good as you possibly can, in that moment. And things happen, unexpected rain, changes in location, or even trying out new ideas on the fly, on set, you’ve got to be open and flexible and go with the flow. And it’s great when everyone involved can do that together.
And, now just for fun:
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
NICOLE: Oh my goodness - so many wonderful people - it’s hard to choose! Of course, I have to say Meryl Streep, but I also love Patricia Clarkson and Bryan Cranston’s journey on “Breaking Bad" is a favorite.
What role from the past do you wish you could have played?
NICOLE: That is so hard to answer too because part of why we end up loving a role so much, I think, is because of the actor that portrayed the character- well, for fun, how about all the female clones from “Orphan Black” (portrayed by the awesome Tatiana Maslany) or a female version of the Walter White character in “Breaking Bad” - those particular roles had so much for the actor to dive into!
Favorite movie or TV show from your childhood.
NICOLE: One of my all-time favorites is the “Wizard of Oz” - I had to watch it every time it came on TV. I loved the splendor of it as well as the message reminding us “there’s no place like home."
Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
NICOLE: I came to acting later in life. I was going to be a sign language interpreter, but then fell in love with photography and went to art school and worked commercially for a number of years, until I realized I wanted to try being in front of the camera instead! I took an acting class and that was that…! So, it’s never too late to start!
How can fans keep up with you?
NICOLE: I can be found on Instagram: @nicolebstanton link
and Twitter: @NicoleStanton link
Thanks so much!!
Thank you, Nicole – we think you’re off to a great “late” start!
Nicole Stanton and David Keith in "Wedding At Graceland" (credit: Hallmark)
Kellie Pickler (center) with Nicole Stanton (right) in "Wedding at Graceland" (credit: Hallmark)