Mystery 101 scribe John Christian Plummer is back in another TV Shows Ace Exclusive Interview. This time, Sleuthers will learn more about his upcoming new Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie Mystery Island.
Firstly, this movie stars Elizabeth Henstridge and Charlie Weber in a mystery movie unlike anything ever seen on Hallmark before. Next, this Hallmark movie promises to be a phenomenal experience, especially for Sleuthers who love all elements of a good mystery. This is a smart, and fun movie.
In this interview, JCP talks about the main characters of Mystery Island, why an island is the perfect location for a mystery, and why Mystery 101 fans will enjoy this beautifully produced mystery movie. Most of all, Hallmark viewers will have a lot of fun!
Are you ready to head out to Mystery Island?
John Christian Plummer’s Mystery Island Inspiration
What is your inspiration behind Mystery Island?
My wonderful Hallmark producer/executive Emily Merlin said they were looking for something that was really fun and fully embraced the whodunnit paradigm, and with that in mind, the premise for Mystery Island bubbled itself into existence in my mind one morning when I was chanting as a story for people who love murder mysteries the was about characters who love murder mysteries, set on a place devoted to that love of murder mysteries.
It was only after I started writing it up that I realized I was being inspired by Agatha Christie’s great island-set mysteries, And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun, as well as my own love of islands and my time spent working on Martha’s Vineyard one summer between freshman and sophomore years of university.
Why Is An Island Is A Perfect Location For A Mystery?
What is it about an island that provides the perfect setting for a murder mystery?
Islands cut people off from the mainland in ways that are optimal for mysteries. Islands give killers an edge by limiting the detectives’ access to resources (like technology) and forcing detectives to rely on their intelligence and the evidence in front of them. Islands are often a bit more treacherous which can raise the stakes (storms, power outages, etc…). And they’re frequently beautiful, as in our movie, which makes them a delight to behold for viewers.
John Christian Plummer Talks About Hallmark’s Mystery Island Lead Character Dr. Emilia Priestly
Can you tell us a bit more about Dr. Emilia Priestly?
Emilia’s an Oxford-educated psychiatrist who works with the police helping to identify murderers. Her best friend is Baroness Jane Alcott, one of the original investors in Mystery Island, and Emilia is single. There is more to her backstory that I shouldn’t reveal at the risk of spoiling some fun moments of the film. Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Emilia, brings her to brilliant life, as does Kezia Burrows, who plays Baroness Alcott, AKA Janey.
John Christian Plummer’s Inspiration For His Lead Emilia Priestly
Emilia has the most interesting career as a London Police psychiatrist. You seem to love to write psychological mysteries. Do you have an inspiration for her?
I have a dear friend and college classmate who is a brilliant therapist who lives in London, and while she doesn’t work with the police, she absolutely could, as her insights into motive and behavior are phenomenal.
More About Detective Jason Trent
Is there anything you would like to reveal about Detective Jason Trent? Is he by the books, or was he sent to the island as a sort of punishment?
Like Emilia, I don’t want to say why he’s down there at risk of spoiling some of the fun reveals in the film itself. I can say that he’s American and that he doesn’t work on Mystery Island but rather on the mainland, where he’s one of a small handful of detectives. He has some history with Mystery Island that makes him a questionable person to investigate the murder that takes place.
I have nothing but praise for Charlie Weber, who is phenomenal in the role of Jason.
Did John Christian Plummer Create A Mystery In A Mystery?
There seems to be a mystery in a mystery in this new Hallmark mystery. Will Sleuthers be challenged over what is real and what is the game?
Well, as always with my writing, I’d suggest you wait to fold your laundry until the film is over, as attention should be paid to all the details. That said, there’s nothing confusing about what is real and what is a game, meaning we aren’t playing with reality or perspective in any significant way.
Where Was Hallmark’s Mystery Island Filmed?
Also, where was Mystery Island filmed?
Could Hallmark’s Mystery Island Become Another John Christian Plummer-Written Series?
Subsequently, does this mystery offer the opportunity for more in a series?
Absolutely! If people enjoy this, I urge them to let Hallmark know by sharing on social media and asking for more. We could do countless episodes.
What Are the Comparisons Between Mystery Island And Fantasy Island?
Earlier, I read a few snide remarks that Mystery Island is like Fantasy Island. Therefore, do you care to share why this is not a good comparison?
Ha-ha! First of all, if that is meant as a diss, it’s falling on deaf ears, as I watched every episode of that Aaron Spelling classic and would be flattered by the comparison were it accurate. But other than both being destination vacation spots on islands, the comparison falls short.
Mystery Island is a place where people go to solve a mystery, not have their specific and unique fantasies catered to. There is no analogue for Mr. Rourke–no on-site host who is granting the fantasies–or my beloved Tattoo. And speaking of Tattoo, patrons reach Mystery Island by boat, not by “the plane, the plane!”
Also, those who watched the ABC series will recall that it was an anthology each episode, with three sets of guests having different fantasies played out. Mystery Island is one comprehensive story that involves all the guests, and none of their fantasies.
JCP Addresses Mystery 101 Fans Boycotting Mysteries
Do you want to address anything to those Mystery 101 fans who may be boycotting Hallmark Mysteries due to the cancelation of that series?
My goodness, that brings to mind the aphorism about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, the moral of which being: you’re only hurting yourself.
If you love Mystery 101, then you would hopefully recognize that a large part of why you loved it was due to the dialogue, the characters, the storylines, the themes, all of which flowed from my pen. So it would therefore only make sense that you seek out other things I’ve written or will write and at least give them a go.
Having seen Mystery Island myself as a fished cut (Due to the WGA strike, I wasn’t part of the casting or shooting this time), I think it shares much with Mystery 101–smart sleuths with terrific chemistry, a love of whodunnit fiction, puzzle-solving, action, romance–while also being different in fun ways.
We’ve circled back to that word, “fun,” again, and it’s fitting to end with my encouragement that boycotting mysteries–or at least this mystery–means you’ll be missing out on a lot of fun.
Lastly, John Christian Plummer was recently interviewed on the Hallmark Mysteries & More podcast, John’s script for a Kristoffer Polaha-led mystery is completed. Above all, Mystery 101 fans should be thrilled to learn this news. Once the actor’s strike is resolved, Sleuthers should get more information on when they start production and more story details.
Subsequently, don’t miss the premiere of Mystery Island on Friday, September 29, at 9 p.m., Eastern, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Also, this new John Christian Plummer-written mystery is available on Peacock up to 72 hours after the premiere.
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