Katherine Barrell on Her Sisterly Bond with Amy Acker in A Nutcracker Christmas

Credit: David Lopez
Credit: David Lopez

Count actress Katherine Barrell as one of many whose holiday traditions will involve seeing a production of the Nutcracker this year. The Wynonna Earp actress will be co-starring in the television movie A Nutcracker Christmas premiering on Hallmark Channel this Saturday, December 10 at 8/7c. The movie follows Lilly James, played by Amy Acker (Person of Interest, Angel), a jaded ex-ballerina who is forced to come to terms with the life and love she left behind after her niece is cast in The Philadelphia Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker

Barrell says the movie will follow Acker’s Lilly and is about “her journey from when she was a little girl through growing up and pursuing that dream as a young woman and young adult.” Lilly soon discovers that her journey includes “all the challenges of doing a job that’s so incredibly demanding, and such a big dream for so many people, and balancing that with family and real life challenges,” Barrell adds. Lilly works through these challenges to chase her dreams in what Barrell calls “a beautiful family movie,” that is sure to “get you in the mood for the holidays.”

While Barrell says she “always really wanted to be a dancer and loved it” growing up, she’ll be playing Beth, Lilly’s older sister, who was “a huge part of Lilly’s life growing up as a young girl.” Barrell says even now the sisters have a very strong relationship because “Beth is someone that Lilly looks up to growing up and ballet is something that her mother doesn’t approve of her doing. So Beth is really the one that is there and goes to all her recitals and competitions helping her stay focused.”

The close sisterly relationship between their characters translated off screen for Barrell and Acker as well. “She’s amazing and I love Amy,” Barrell enthuses before adding that Acker is “such a kind, sweet, genuine, nice person.” Acker also impressed Barrell because “she’s had such an amazing career and opportunities as an actor so far, and she’s so humble that you’d never know she’s at the level of success she is because she’s so down to earth. I was so lucky to have met her.”

Sista sista ???? !! @hallmarkmovie #anutcrackerchristmas with one of the most gracious women I’ve ever met #amyacker

A photo posted by Katherine Barrell (@katbarrell) on

In fact the two actresses hit it off so well while filming that Barrell says “we’re now brainstorming ideas of how we can work together again.” She doesn’t know quite yet what project that may entail because “Amy and I are talking about a few ideas,” but Barrell jokes that she’s “putting it into the world because I really hope that it actually happens.”

Regardless of whether or not future projects with Acker happen, Barrell is grateful for the experience of filming A Nutcracker Christmas with the actress. “I feel very lucky that I got to play her sister and work with her,” says Barrell. Fans will have to tune in for themselves on Saturday night to the Hallmark Channel in order to see the close-knit relationship between the two up close and personal.


Are you looking forward to seeing Barrell and Acker together on screen? Sound off in the comments below!

A Nutcracker Christmas premieres on Hallmark Channel Saturday, December 10 at 8/7c.