Interview with Carly Hughes of “The Christmas Edition” on Lifetime by Suzanne 10/27/20
This was a very entertaining call. Carly has an amazing personality as well as so much acting and singing talent. Don’t miss this fun Christmas movie she’s appearing in. It was really interesting to hear how they got it moving, even during the pandemic.
Suzanne: So, tell us how this part came about for you.
Carly: I was offered the job through Lifetime. They were like, “Can you be in Utah by tomorrow?” And I was quarantined, sitting on my couch, like, “What?”
They drove from Utah, picked me up, and I was in Utah the next day, ready for the rollercoaster ride of filming a Christmas movie in the heat of summer and Utah during the height of a pandemic.
Suzanne: So, this was a quick thing.
Carly: Yeah. It was like, “Be here. Let’s do it. Bye.”
Suzanne: So, did they give you any background information about who Jackie is, besides what’s in the script?
Carly: Oh, no, not really. I mean, it was all fast and furious. I got in the trailer; they drove me 13 hours. I got there and got acclimated, and we started filming. I was able to read the script the night before, but I just was like, “Well, I’m gonna go with my gut, and they’ll tell me if I’m wrong,” and hopefully I was spot on.
Suzanne: So, they have the whole thing set up safely for the pandemic; you have to take tests?
Carly: Yeah, we had to all get tested prior to leaving. I mean, they were all there before me. So, I had to get tested before I left and then tested soon as I landed there. Then, every 72 hours thereafter, everyone did, which actually took away some anxiety for me, because, you know, I had been quarantined alone that whole time and just fine. You know what I mean? I didn’t miss people enough to risk my life. So, it was a big thing for me to go and be amongst strangers, because I knew no one there, but the protocols they followed made it a lot easier.
Suzanne: Good, good. I keep hearing that from people who are filming. They’re doing all these protocols. The daytime soaps were the first ones to start that, and then everybody said, “Oh, okay, well, they’re doing it.”
Carly: Yeah. I know they did. I think the first one was like The Bold and the Beautiful, but they all tested positive right away, so they had to shut it down. I think they were actually one of the first, and then they were able to come back. But now, there’s a good protocol to follow and the testing and all of that. So, it can be done.
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s good. And had you worked with any of the casting crew before?
Carly: No, no, I knew no one, and also, the funny thing is that I still don’t really know the crew, because they had to wear masks for the entire time. So, I never saw their faces. That was the first time in doing any show in the history of doing shows that I could not tell you what our crew looked like. It’s funny. Let them be outside of their masks. Like I knew them by their masks. I think I saw maybe two one day while they were eating lunch, and I was like, “Who are you?”
Suzanne: That’s funny. So, in the future, they’ll be like, “Hey, you remember me?” “Oh, no.”
Carly: I know, I will one hundred percent be like, “What?” “We did The Christmas Edition together.” I’ll be like, “Okay.”
Suzanne: So it was filmed in Utah. How long did it take?
Carly: We actually shot this in 14 days. Isn’t that insane?
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s crazy. That’s the first thing I’ve heard of this before, because whenever I usually interview somebody from like a Lifetime movie or whatever, they say, “Oh, yeah, we shot this last year. It took us two months.”
Carly: Yeah, I know. Normally that is the case, but then all of the year it was shut down until things got a protocol and things to follow. So, everything was pushed back. So, we had to really crank these out. I mean, Lifetime did great. They did, I think, thirty new movies during the pandemic, all fast and furious but artfully done.
Suzanne: Yeah, I watched it, and it was good. You couldn’t tell that it was rushed at all.
Carly: Thank you.
Suzanne: Yeah, I enjoyed it.
Carly: I mean, the timing is rushed, because who wants to do anything in that short amount of time? But in terms of being on set and filming it, we didn’t feel rushed at all. We got to actually create moments and make make some, you know, authentic moments, even in that short timeframe. So, that was nice.
Suzanne: Yeah, and you did a good job as Jackie, because she’s kind of uptight at the beginning, and then she slowly relaxed.
Carly: Thank you. You know, I tried to give her some levels.
Suzanne: I really enjoyed that song you sang. That was in the script, right?
Carly: Yeah, well, it was a different song originally, and I think it was just a snippet. Once I came on, I was like, “Okay, how about we maybe do this one?” It gets tricky with public domains and deciding on a song. Then, we got to work to see what part of the song, because they didn’t know me prior; they didn’t really know what I what he did for a living. So, they had no idea until I got there. They’re like, “Oh, wait, you do this for a living?” I’m like, “Yeah.” So, we made a cute little moment out of it.
Suzanne: Yeah, that was cool. I wish there had been more singing actually.
Carly: Me too! I was like, “All right, that just means you guys have to hire me for another Christmas movie where I sing the whole movie.”
Suzanne: That’s right. I see there are a lot of clips on YouTube of you singing. Are there any albums that we can hear you sing on?
Carly: Just all the cast albums of all the Broadway shows. It’s so funny. I was I was going to do a Christmas album this year, because I was supposed to be in New York for two months, but all my New York gigs got canceled on Friday, March 13th, when we got locked down. So, there went everything I had planned for New York, but it’s fine. So, now I can spend this time getting it all together for when I am with my band again in New York, but I think, fingers crossed, given this pandemic and the limited space and availability, I’m gonna try to do a few Christmas songs like an EP this year. If I can get my band together virtually.
Suzanne: Yeah, things have changed quite a bit; haven’t they?
Carly: Oh, my gosh.
Suzanne: I was happy to see Aloma Wright in the movie. She’s amazing.
Carly: Oh, she amazing. It was such an honor to work with her. I mean, she’s the definition of those that have come before you. Watching her and getting to work with her up close and personal and seeing how – you know, I always find it interesting in every project, TV and film and Broadway, getting to see how your scene partners work and how their brains tick and how they maneuver their roles, because everyone’s different. I find it so interesting. She’s just a joy.
Suzanne: Yeah, I love how when they do these movies, they try to bring in all different generations. Then, there’s always somebody that – like, I’m older, so there’s somebody I grew up with, and I didn’t grow with her, but I know her from a lot of different stuff. She’s done Suits. She was great in Suits. If you ever get chance to see –
Carly: Scrubs. Suits and Scrubs. I mean, she’s done everything.
Suzanne: Yeah. Grey’s Anatomy, Days of Our Lives. She was on Days of Our Lives for a long time.
Carly: Oh my gosh, really?
Carly: I mean, she’s done everything. I love when you have those people that you’re like, “Okay, there’s always a surprise.” Like, no matter what, there’s gonna always be like, “She did that?” Aloma’s one of those people.
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s fun. And how much did you know about Marie Osmond before working with her?
Carly: I mean, tons, because she’s in this business. I kind of know most things about [her], because I find it interesting, and we had two degrees of separation. I knew some producers at The Talk when she was hosting The Talk, but it was great to work with her too, and surreal. Like, “My mom, my parents, grew up watching you; that’s how long you’ve been around, and now I’m actually working with you.“ It’s so crazy, the turn of events.
Suzanne: Yeah, I bet. When I was in high school, she had a variety show with her brother, The Donnie and Marie Show.
Carly: Yeah, I know, and I saw reruns whenever they were on TV Land when they play like The Brady Bunch, and then it’d be like The Donnie and Marie Show.
Suzanne: That’s great. So, what was the most challenging thing about playing this role?
Carly: Honestly, one of the most challenging things about playing this role was wearing 18 layers of wool in 100 degree weather in August. Honestly, that was probably the most challenging, that and it being shot in 14 days, but but the weather and the layers were the most challenging, because you’re supposed to be looking like you’re shivering in Alaska, but really, you have a cable-knit sweater, a ski suit, fur-lined boots, a scarf, a puffy coat, a wool hat, and gloves on.
Suzanne: And what was the most fun part of the movie?
Carly: The most fun part was – I don’t know. It’s so it’s so cliche to say the whole thing, but getting to actually live in a Christmas village, so to speak, a quarantined Christmas village, and make this magic at a time when the world is so crazy, it was a much needed stray from reality for me.
Suzanne: Yeah, I bet that was fun.
Carly: Yeah, it was amazing.
Suzanne: Yeah, I was watching another Christmas movie that they hadn’t finished yet, and a lot of it was special effects, and I’m watching the unfinished version, and it says, “FX here.”
Carly: “Snow here.”
Suzanne: Yeah, and I was thinking when I was watching your movie, I’m like, “Well, which which part of this is real?”
Carly: I heard that from someone else. I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard somebody else was like, “This looks cool.” Like, all right, I’ll take that.
Suzanne: Yeah, when you start seeing that thing, it makes you doubt everything you see.
Carly: I know. You’re like, “What’s real and what’s not?” because now I’ve seen the before and the after.
Suzanne: So, you’re still working on American Housewife as well?
Carly: I will be, yeah, in the first episode of season five, and then I will no longer be.
Suzanne: Okay, and it’s premiering tomorrow, right?
Carly: Yeah, it’s a fun one too.
Suzanne: Oh, good. Anything you can tell us about season five or the episode you’re in?
Carly: It’s so crazy, because we shot half of it before the pandemic, but then we got locked down, so we had to finish it after. My brain is like, “What? Christmas? Where are we again?” There’s a huge graduation that takes place and then a surprise that takes place after graduation with a principal and Maria. You know, the girls are up to their regular antics that breakfast. We haven’t tended to stray from that formula on Housewife. Yeah, so we’re kind of up to our old bag of tricks.
Suzanne: Cool, and they had all the same changes that you had in the movie as far as the pandemic, the safety things?
Carly: Yes, no production is allowed to go back to filming without testing every, I think, 72 hours and without protocols on set with hair and makeup and face shields and screenings and masks. I think they actually have to wear an N 95, and no one’s in one huge trailer anymore. A lot of productions makeup is split up, one person per room and [unintelligible]. They’ve really almost got it down to an art. I mean, every production is a little different, but the protocol is the same.
Suzanne: It must be interesting to have to completely do things differently all of a sudden after doing it for years.
Carly: Yeah, it’s insane, because, you get into a routine of doing anything that you’ve done forever. Even if it’s something small that changes, you know, like I go to hair and makeup, then I put on a costume, and then I go to set. Now it’s like, no, you wait to get your temperature, you probably get a swab up your nose, you go to one person for hair maybe, another for makeup maybe, and then you go sit by yourself until you’re directed to [go on set]. You know, it’s very interesting, but you have to just adopt these things as a new norm because they’re going to be around for a while.
Suzanne: Does that make for longer hours for you guys?
Carly: Yeah, I think for a while it will make it longer for everyone until you get into the swing of it, and then, like anything, it starts to speed up and you’re like, “Okay, we got this down to a science.” But now it’s just being optimistically cautious, because everyone has to be negative in order for production to stay up between the hair and makeup and actors and crew. Everyone has to test negative. So, if there’s one person positive, it ruins it.
Suzanne: Yeah. You said about The Bold and the Beautiful, they actually had the same thing happen on Days of Our Lives. They had to shut down for two weeks again after somebody was negative, but it didn’t affect their schedule that much, so it was good.
Carly: That’s good. I know [unintelligible].
Suzanne: So, do you have anything else you’re working on that you can tell us about?
Carly: I’m working on a cookbook based on all my cooking segments I’ve done this quarantine on my Instagram. So, that is actually exciting, and it’s nice to stray a little bit until I await the next big gig in terms of TV and film. It’s like I have other other, you know, irons in the fire.
Suzanne: So, you were working on that during the pandemic. What else were you doing during the pandemic?
Carly: Yeah, I do cooking segments on Cooking with Carly on my Instagram, and so the recipes that I’ve just thought of either in the moment or the day before, I cook them step by step and then do our tasting. So, between March and now, I have a vast number of recipes that I’ve just made my own that are actually delicious. So, now I can hunker down and [be] thankful that that’s one thing the pandemic has given all of us, is time. So, there’s no excuse now. Like, I may not want to make my bed, which is fine, but now there’s no excuse not to write the recipes down, get it together, and make something out of it.
Suzanne: That’s cool. I started following you this morning Instagram, so I’ll have to look back at some of your recipes.
Carly: Oh, yeah, when you get a moment today, I just did a cooking segment yesterday. They’re always in my Insta Story, and so the most recent one I did last night is still in my Insta Stories. Then after that, I always put them in my highlights, so you can go to the highlights and see the other recipes.
Suzanne: Okay, good. I’ll check that out then. I like to cook.
Carly: Yeah, it’s so good.
Suzanne: Actually, I like to bake more than I like to cook but –
Carly: That’s my mom. My mom’s like, “I’ll cook if i have to, but I love to bake.”
Suzanne: Exactly. When you have to cook for other people, it’s more of a chore.
Carly: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Suzanne: All right. Well, thanks a lot. I really appreciate your talking to me today.
Carly: Thank you so much for taking the time.
Suzanne: And you have a good Halloween and everything.
Carly: Thank you. Happy Holidays. Happy Christmas.
Suzanne: Yes. You’re already in the Christmas mood, aren’t you?
Carly: I am. I’m starting decorating this week. I’m not even kidding.
Suzanne: Oh, wow. I have to take down all my Halloween decorations.
Carly: I’m leaving the Halloween outside, and I’m gonna start my winter wonderland inside, because, you know, I go in, so it takes me a moment to get my theme going and get inspired. All different stages.
Suzanne: Well, you have fun. I’ll look forward to seeing the pictures when you post them on Instagram.
Carly: I will, thank you.
Suzanne: All right, thank you.
Here is the audio version of it.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Video Clip #1 On her first morning in Lantern Grove, Jackie (Carly Hughes) meets several of the locals: including Finn (Rob Mayes), the Mayor (Rick Macy), and Teddy (Langi Tuifua).
Video Clip #2 Media tycoon Melanie (Marie Osmond) considers acquiring the small town Lantern Grove press, much to the surprise of its editor Jackie (Carly Hughes).
There’s nothing like bringing a little, much-needed holiday cheer to the viewing audience at the most tumultuous tine any of us have experienced. As one of our favorite journalists, we are coming to you first regarding one of the most anticipated new movies to air next month, Hybrid’s The Christmas Edition, starring Carly Hughes, Rob Mayes, Marie Osmond and Aloma Wright premiering November 15th, 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.
The Peter Sullivan-directed gem stars Carly Hughes (American Housewives) as ‘Jackie,’ an up-and-coming journalist, who finds that her life is at a crossroads until she finds an unexpected opportunity – to run a small-town newspaper in Alaska. Jackie decides to give it a try and relocates to the remote, picture-perfect small town. Using a series of Christmas articles, she’s able to quickly return the newspaper to profitability, and soon falls in love… both with her new home and the handsome son of the paper’s former owner. However, when her old boss announces plans to take over the paper for herself, Jackie will need a Christmas miracle to save it. No Christmas movie is complete without a consequential appearance by the likes of singular Marie Osmond who portrays the newspaper owner which puts Hughes’ character at the most important crossroads of her career.
The Christmas Edition is produced by Hybrid LLC with Jeff Schenck and Barry Barnholtz executive producing. Peter Sullivan, who has become one of the network’s favorite masters behind the lens, directed from a script by Anna White.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda