Hallmark is unveiling seven nights of new Christmas movies during the Thanksgiving week. That's a lot of glorious holiday entertainment to look forward to!
Tonight's movie is A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado, starring Rochelle Aytes as Erin Chambers, the mayor's daughter and a city organizer tapped to help reinvigorate the tourism industry for Brooklyn, Colorado.
Erin butts heads with Kevin (Mark Taylor) along the way, and their chemistry ignites some holiday sparks, resulting in a fiery liplock!
We had a chance to catch up with Rochelle, so before you tune into night, get to know her a little better.
You always have so many irons in the fire. What made you get on board with the Hallmark Christmas movie?
Thanks. Yeah, I mean, I love to work and this was one of those projects, and it doesn't always happen, where I was offered the role and I read the script.
I was here doing the stay at home quarantine. And I thought that it was a great opportunity to just kind of get out of what was going on in real life and just transport myself to a beautiful light hearted place. You know what I mean?
So it was a no-brainer for me. I loved the script. I love Vancouver, which is where we filmed and that's how I got on board.
So what did you think so far? Everybody who does one, or most people who do one often come back. So, what was your experience like?
Oh, it was a great experience. Everyone in the project was great to work with, from the crew to the director, to the other actors. We had a lot of fun.
I feel like this might've been my first Christmas holiday movie and Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. So I mean, why not? I loved it. I would love to do one again.
And from your perspective, can you tell us a little bit about Erin and her storyline in the movie?
Sure. So, yeah, I play Erin Chambers. She is the daughter of the mayor of Brooklyn, Colorado, and she works for City Hall. It's important to bring back tourism to the town because the economy hasn't been doing so well, and her main focus is to get a beautiful spruce for this tree lighting event.
There's a guy named Kevin Snyder who's a firefighter, and he happens to have the perfect tree, but it's on his property, and he doesn't want to let us have it. [laughs] So my character spends a great deal of time trying to convince him to let us have his tree.
So now that you've dipped your toes into the Hallmark waters, do you think you might have more Hallmark in your future?
Well, if Hallmark asked me to come back and work again, I'd definitely say yes.
Nice! And aside from Hallmark, you've been in shows that I've really enjoyed. I'm still rather sad that The Purge was canceled.
That show added depth to the movie franchise. Would you have stuck around if that show had continued?
If the show had continued and they asked me back, because I believe the way the series had gone, they were doing different storylines with different characters each year, but I actually created it in my own head, how great it would be to continue this because it ended on such a note where it could move on because there was rebellion going on, and I guess the government.
And I thought that could have been a great a third season. So I would have definitely gone back.
I'm glad that you also do that whenever something comes to an end, you imagine what could be next. That's what we all out here in the world do.
If it's possible. If the writing is there, then it's kind of like, well, this seems like it could go on.
Yeah. I think especially in this year's climate, that one has really struck, it's too bad that, that it was just like almost a year too early.
Oh, right, right. Unfortunately.
And I was thrilled to see you return to S.W.A.T. in the latest season, despite the way things with Nichelle and Hondo worked out. So what do you think it is about you and Shemar Moore that clicks so well on screen?
Well, he's really a great person and a great actor to work with. He gives us himself so much and he's just so sweet. And there's obviously chemistry that's unexplainable on screen.
I've worked with him before on Criminal Minds, and so we formed a friendship from there and I've just gotten to feel very comfortable around him.
And that's one of the major things, right? When you work with somebody, you want to feel comfortable. And I think that transitioned over to S.W.A.T. as well.
I know you don't want to spoil anything, but S.W.A.T. fans thought that Nichelle might've been protecting herself with her suggestion that things had gotten heavy with another man.
Should they hold out hope for her and Hondo, or should they just move on?
I think you should hold out. Hope. You know, I think that in time, this is just in my head, but that in time maybe they can come back together. Right?
First of all, they keep letting me in. So they're keeping the door open. But I think they both had some healing to do.
What else is on your plate and is coming up that you can talk about?
I don't have anything else, except that I'm going back to S.W.A.T.. I'm actually working next week or two. And other than that, I've just been reading scripts and looking for the next big thing. So hopefully something else will come up soon.
I was kind of bummed that your version of The Lost Boys got scrapped.
I know I was so hoping for that. And he got a down, we only filmed four days and the script was great. It was a really fun script too.
It really did bum me out. I still can't believe that didn't go. I think it would have been a fun show to be a part of.
Finally, let's get back to Christmas with this strange year. What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
Yeah, this year is tough. Usually I go back to New York, I see my family and friends, but this year, my husband and I are just going to stay home. We're probably going to do a zoom with a lot of family and New York.
But I am looking forward to at least decorating. And my part of town, my neighbors, they love to decorate. So I like to just walk by their houses and see their lights and Christmas tree up, and at least feel the holiday spirit.
Oh, but you know what I also am looking forward to, those Christmas movies. I watch A Christmas Story every year. I love that movie.
Join Rochelle tonight on Hallmark at 8/7c for a small-town Christmas celebration on A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.