Exclusive Interview: Benjamin Ayres On Playing Mr. Darcy In Hallmark’s ‘Love & Jane’

Photo: Alison Sweeney, Benjamin Ayres Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Benjamin Ayres may be nicknamed “The Chancellor,” but after Hallmark viewers see him in Love & Jane, they may decide to call him “Mr. Darcy” instead! That is because he portrays a very Darcy-like character in this delightful romcom.

TV Shows Ace sent Ben some questions about his Loveuary role with Alison Sweeney. In this performance, he portrays Tech Entrepreneur Billionaire Trevor Fitzsimmons, who manages to irk Sweeney’s Lilly Thorpe, who is getting advice on life and love from Jane Austen.

In addition, Ben manages to have another one of his infamous cameos, except this is his own movie! We ask about his homage to Pride & Prejudice, portraying Mr. Darcy, and the latest with Romance University.

Please note, that there are spoilers below. Be cautioned if you have not yet seen the wonderful Hallmark romcom Love & Jane. Most of all, thank you Ben for this Exclusive Interview, and taking the time from your busy filming schedule to answer these questions.

His answers are so much fun!

Photo: Benjamin AyresCredit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Astorga
Photo: Benjamin Ayres
Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Astorga

Benjamin Ayres Talks About His Homage To Pride & Prejudice and Cameo In His Own Movie

In Love & Jane, you do a Mr. Darcy impression complete with sideburns. It was the most wonderful and hysterical “cameo” ever! Who came up with this idea to have you dress up as Mr. Darcy? Did you know anything about Colin Firth’s character of Mr. Darcy? How did you prepare?

So, it was not in the script that I was supposed to appear as Colin Firth. I think the original plan was to actually have a clip of Colin Firth doing the scene that we’ve seen him do a billion times.

I think for that reason because it had been done so many times. Kind of in the last minute, they were like, ‘You know what would be amazing?’ since we are already playing in this magical realism world, why don’t we have Ben dress up as Firth’s Darcy?

We shot it, I remember, at this bar. And I came in only for that one little moment that day. And we had to do it where there was a four or five-day gap where I wasn’t filming again. I had to be clean-shaven. They had to put the sideburns on. They had a green screen scrim in the bar. They doused me in water, and I was walking up. They had to do it about four times. And then ‘Cut! That’s a wrap on Ben.’

And I was like, ‘See you guys in four days.’

It turned out really well, and cute. And it was one of those things. To do a cameo within one of my own movies, I actually forgot until you mentioned it. The fact I get to do these small cameos, one in my own movie and the one in Paging Mr. Darcy is really fun.

Really cute moment. I am glad you asked about that.

As for as I had to prepare for it, we actually watched that scene a few times, and I did my own variation on that.

Benjamin Ayres On Working With Alison Sweeney

Also, you and Alison Sweeney have incredible chemistry! The scene with all of the quotes was amazing. Any comments on filming this?

Ali and I have wonderful chemistry. It’s so nice for us to get to go from doing Chronicle Mysteries into this. In a way, getting to fan-fiction fantasy, these two characters sort of back – although they are way different. Seeing us on screen is a nice nod to Chronicle Mysteries.

As far as preparation goes, we had to run by that scene many times, because the quotes had to be perfect. And, there is a real sort of [he snaps his fingers] timing to it! We prepared by running those lines often, just back and forth, really getting into a fun groove.

Photo: Alison Sweeney, Benjamin AyresCredit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Bettina Strauss
Photo: Alison Sweeney, Benjamin Ayres
Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Benjamin Ayres Talk About Character Trevor

You played a billionaire Tech Guru…and you really rocked it from a faux hawk on. Any comments on your attire and swagger?

Let me circle back with the name of our wardrobe artist [Jeralin Detienne]. I liked it. We wanted to do something different. This is actually the first movie I used my curls in, and then I filmed multiple movies throughout that I used them in. But it was a big deal – as you know. They have flat-ironed my hair for years, and I have worn it straight.

There was something about this character that I wanted to try something a bit different. I wanted him to be more of a Rock Tech Guy. We had talked about the fact that he was a country club gold bro too, which is what the Darcy nod was. We played around with a rock n’ roll prep kind of vibe.

It was a lot of fun to build him out.

Photo: Benjamin AyresCredit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Pooya Nabei
Photo: Benjamin Ayres
Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Pooya Nabei

What Is The Professor’s Lounge?

You are having something new on Wednesday evenings at The Professor’s Lounge. Can you tell us something about this?

Romance University has been doing very well. And  for me, outside of being able to donate to all of these wonderful charities and make fun merch for everybody. I wanted to expand it. After having done many conventions, I wondered how can I offer new types of new experiences for the fans. That started last year with Martini Town in Vancouver. Doing the pop-up even in Toronto. I’ve got many more that will be coming up this year.

I wanted an extension of those that allow for people who are unable to travel. But, ultimately a backstage look into the process of making these movies. There are tons of great blogs that talk about the movies we make.

But, I felt that no one was making it from our perspective. I wanted to tap into educating. We are a university! I wanted to take it to the next level, and make it an educational process of ‘Come sit down with us, at the Professor’s Lounge, and come listen to us talk about the movies we made.’

Every week, I send out a link to a movie. You watch that specific movie. I then sit down with my co-lead, we will sit down and talk about the movie. Beforehand, everyone will send their questions.

It’s collaborative, it’s fun. We just completed our first one with Julie Gonzalo. I am in Vancouver shooting a movie right now. it turned out quite well. It happened quickly. Instead of doing it on Zoom, she and I got together. So, we were in person when we did this together. It was incredibly fun for us to get back together and talk about a movie we filmed years ago.

Latest Romance University Design

You have new crown attire at Romance University. Can you tell us something about that? It is a WONDERFUL design.

Thank you! I feel like I am very proud of the name Romance University. It did quite well this year. I almost wasn’t going to do anything, and I was like ‘How do I make a new type of crest with the words Romance University and maybe put different faces in the crest?’ I wanted something completely different. I wanted something almost like streetwear attire. I wanted men to be able to feel comfortable in it.

My dad has joked to me, which wasn’t a joke: ‘Benny, I don’t think I can wear something with the word “Romance” on it.’ That stuck in my mind a bit. I wanted to do something where everybody felt cool in. And it was a bit of ‘If you know you know.’

It’s the crown of hearts. I pulled the crown from another design, an alumni shirt that I wear, and just a little hand drawing of a heart inside of it. I thought it was simple and smart. It is simple in that it has clean lines. It is an extension that everybody is my Queen Bees. We’re all Kings and Queens. I just wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a different way this year. We have red, pink and black.

I am very proud of this design. Thank you for commenting on it. The great thing about the creativity of this project for me is that sometimes I have a plan, and sometimes I don’t. There’s a percolation up my spine and into my brain. It’s always on my mind in some capacity. And this just shot into my mind and it was ‘Ooooh! That’s a good idea.’

Sorta like the Mother’s Day idea that I really liked, which I’ll probably just revamp it a bit. It is an old-school tattoo with ‘Mom’ in it. That was the sort of vibe we wanted. A bit more of a rock n’ roll Romance University.

Don’t miss Benjamin Ayres and Alison Sweeney, and Kendra Anderson in Love & Jane, on the Hallmark Channel.

Georgia Makitalo

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