Exclusive Interview: Alison Sweeney On ‘Hannah Swensen,’ New Hallmark
Sleuthers have been gleefully anticipating Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery starring Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison, and Barbara Niven. In this TV Shows Ace exclusive interview, the Days Of Our Lives returns to answer our cornucopia of questions.
The Good Morning Christmas! star reveals what it is like portraying the sleuthing baker, acting with Cameron Mathison, what sorts of decisions an executive producer makes, and whether she will be in a 2023 Hallmark Christmas movie.
We thank Alison Sweeney for her many wonderful roles, and for taking time out to talk about her upcoming movie.
What Is It Like Playing Hannah Swensen Again?
Alison, this is the seventh time you have portrayed Hannah Swensen. What is it like putting on the apron and playing this fan-favorite sleuther again?
I love playing Hannah. She’s such a fun character-from the delicious cookies, to her wonderfully complex relationship with her mother, to her dangerous habit of finding herself in the middle of a murder investigation. These stories are really are fun to make.
What Is Working With Cameron Mathison Like?
The scenes with you and Cameron Mathison are full of explosive chemistry. The two of you never miss a beat when you work together in this Hallmark series. What is it like working with him? Do your Hannah and Mike characters instantly click when you work together, despite time away?
I love working with Cameron. He’s fantastic. Such a great actor, but also such a lovely guy. There’s something about that fact that we both come from daytime that really helps too. We have the same work ethic from the rigorous daytime schedule, and a kind of shorthand that helps us totally be in sync when we work together. Even if it’s been a year since we’ve worked together, the second Cameron steps on set, I immediately know it’s going to be fantastic. He just brings it!
What Is It Like Playing Same Character?
Unlike other Hallmark movies, (save the Wedding Veil trilogies, and of course, Chronicle Mysteries) you don’t get this sort of opportunity to flesh out your character. Do you consider this a challenge or opportunity?
Right, you don’t normally get to play the same characters in movies. But playing Hannah in so many movies has been a fun, different kind of challenge. I think it is an opportunity for us to stretch out the romantic story, the family dynamics, the relationships have to grow and develop. It is definitely an opportunity, because I think one of the things the fans like most about these movies is the dynamics between the family, the romance between Hannah & Mike, and the fun complication Norman brings into the mix.
Why Alison Sweeney Has To Watch What She Says While Grocery Shopping
Ali, do you and your writing partner/collaborator Melissa Salmons discuss Hannah’s character development? I am curious to know how much input you may put into her character that could end up in the script.
Oh yes. Melissa is a fantastic writer and we’ve worked together for so long now. I really enjoy being part of the process with her. Sometimes it’s just a brainstorming session and sometimes we really talk through the nitty gritty details of the murderer’s intent, to make sure we have the clues laid out correctly – I try not to have those conversations at the grocery store. Lol. Wouldn’t want to get the wrong idea!
What Does An Executive Producer Do?
I also want to know if you had some input on the Jane Austin costumes in the last movie, Sweet Revenge.
As executive producer, I’m involved in all the decisions that are made on each movie. From which cell phone case each character has, to locations and everything in between. It’s really important to me to be a part of all the decisions. When we start pre-production I always say to the director and the heads of each department, there is no question, or detail too small. They are all significant to the fans! So yes, I chose a novel of Joann Fluke’s which had that Regency-themed party in the story because I was so excited to wear the costume!
The Great Lengths Alison Sweeney Goes To Play Hannah Swensen
The scenes with Moishe were quite hysterical. What is it like working with a cat? That cannot be easy. Any fun stories?
I thought Moishe was hilarious too! It’s hard working with the cat – any cat – because I am very allergic to cats. So, there’s that. I went to an allergist and worked on a regiment of antihistamines I could take and eye drops and stuff so I can shoot for one day with the cat and not break out. So actually, I really enjoy that one day of filming when I get to hold the cat, and pet him, and act like a cat owner. They’re such fun animals. I wish I could have one!
Alison Sweeney Talks About Barbara Niven’s Humor In Mystery Series
Speaking of hysterical, I think Barbara Niven was absolutely delightful as Hannah’s co-sleuther in this new mystery. Comedy is ok in the new Hallmark. Is it fun for the two of you to have fun in the movie?
I agree, Barbara really is such a delight in this role, she just makes me laugh every day. I can hear her voice in character when I read the Hannah scripts – she’s brilliant! I have so much fun doing the scenes with her, but even more, when we are developing the mystery and laying out the story, we are always discussing ‘oh wouldn’t it be just perfect if Delores does this?’ or ‘Delores can be the one that happens to because Barbara will perform it so perfectly.
Alison Sweeney On Performance With Marlo Thomas In A Magical Christmas Village
In the past, there was no crying in Hallmark movies. Your beautiful performance in A Magical Christmas Village was so moving and beautiful. Your scenes with Marlo Thomas were phenomenal.
Oh thank you. What a lovely compliment. I was very nervous to do those emotional scenes, especially with such a gifted actress like Marlo. but she was so real, and deep, and committed to the performance that she just drew me in each take. It was really brilliant.
Does Alison Sweeney Have A Role She Wants To Play?
Do you have an acting role that you have been itching to play that may not have been possible in the past?
After having played Sami for so many years on Days, in some ways I feel she was all the characters all rolled into one. So, I can’t think of anything I haven’t done.
Will Alison Sweeney Star In A 2023 Hallmark Christmas Movie?
Also, will you be in a 2023 Christmas movie?
We are developing A Christmas movie for this season. I hope it all works out!
What It Was Like Watching Son In First Stage Performance
You just shared your experience watching your son Ben in his first stage performance. What is it like watching your child on stage?
Oh, it was so incredible to watch Ben shine onstage! He was so great in the play. And -wow- what a tough role. I can’t complain to him about having to learn my lines again – ever. To be honest, I was very nervous for him through the whole show. I couldn’t relax and enjoy it because I just wanted it to go well. But slowly but surely, as the story unfolded and the performances were so good from Ben and all the kids, I did find myself getting sucked into the characters and the story. And by the end, I was just crying and clapping and so so proud.
Don’t miss the premiere of Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery on Friday, May 19, at 9 p.m., Eastern, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
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