It’s that time of year again when families gather around to watch all kinds of feel-good holiday movies being offered by various networks. Watching Hallmark holiday movies together has become a staple tradition for many families and you can count actress Kat Barrell (Wynonna Earp, Workin’ Moms) as a fan as well. Barrell, who also starred for two seasons on Hallmark’s Good Witch, is back in another movie this holiday season as she returns with A Tale of Two Christmases.
In the film, Barrell stars as Emma, whose Christmas plans get split into two possibilities. In one, she goes home to reconnect with an old friend, and in the other, she explores a new crush in the city. Chandler Massey (Days of our Lives) and Evan Roderick (Arrow) costar with Barrell in the film, premiering Saturday, November 26 at 6 p.m. ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel and W Network. Viewers can also stream all 2022 holidays premieres live and on-demand on STACKTV.
Barrell recently took some time to speak with The TV Junkies about A Tale of Two Christmases and why she loves doing these holiday movies. She also shared how excited she gets for the holidays since having her young son and what traditions her family does each year. Finally, Barrell spoke about how much the support she receives from Wynonna Earp fans, who are already actively planning live tweets for this movie, means to her.
The TV Junkies: You’ve now done several Hallmark Channel movies. What do you enjoy most about doing those types of projects?
Kat Barrell: I’ve really liked watching them evolve. I’ve done romances with other companies, but this is my third feature with Hallmark, in addition to my work on Good Witch for a couple of years. So it’s been interesting to watch the company evolve over the years, but with this particular movie, I love that we leaned into the rom-com of it all. I really got to play some interesting choices with the comedy. There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments and we got to really lean into the awkwardness of it all. That was super fun to play.
These movies are also just joyful. It’s really fun to go make a movie in the middle of summer and be surrounded by Christmas tree decorations. You know that it’s going to bring a lot of people a lot of happiness. It’s going to be a movie that families gather around to watch together and it’s going to be a part of some really special memories that people make. That’s one of the things I enjoy the most is that these movies, especially on Hallmark and at this time of year, become such iconic touchstones in people’s lives. It’s really amazing to get to be a part of that.
TTVJ: I know a lot of people have really enjoyed you doing comedy in some of your past roles so that’s fun to hear that this movie will have a lot of those moments.
KB: It was really fun to play and our director Jason [Bourque] comes from a comedy background. So it was really amazing to talk to him about the script and we were really on the same page as far as what we were getting for the tone. It was really cool that we got to play that through.
TTVJ: What can you share with us about the plot of the movie? From the short synopsis, I’ve seen it seems a little bit like the holiday version of Sliding Doors.
KB: It’s completely a holiday version of Sliding Doors. Our movie is the story of my character Emma’s Christmas. In one version she gets on a plane and makes it back to her hometown. In another version, she misses her flight and spends her holiday where she lives in Chicago. It’s two different realities comparing what could have been and what is. It was really fun to get to play because it was almost like we were doing two movies. So it was really cool to get to play the same character but in different situations. And working with Chandler and Evan was amazing as they were both super kind and just made for a great experience.
TTVJ: So like Sliding Doors, are there any short haircuts or crazy wigs involved in things?
KB: There totally were crazy wigs involved. Absolutely! [laughs] There were two different hairstyles involved and it was my brilliant idea to involve extensions in one of them. There was a hair gag to help our audience track what world we are in that was scripted in, but it was a ponytail or wearing hair down. But since my hair was short, I pitched putting in extensions and then of course cursed myself every morning at 4 a.m. when I had to get them put in.
TTVJ: Are you a big Christmas/holiday person in general? You’ve got a family at home now so are there any holiday traditions you’re especially looking forward to this year?
KB: Now that my son Ronin will be almost one and a half by Christmas, I’m really looking forward to him taking more in. I just ordered a Christmas tree, as I am a fake tree person even though I hate to admit it. My favorite holiday tradition is that every time we travel we get an ornament. Then every year when we put the tree up we reflect on all the trips we’ve taken and go through the memories. That’s really special because it’s not something you have sitting around and are looking at all year to where it loses its memory a bit. So every year we pull those out of the box and reminisce.
We’re not a big presents family and only do like one stocking gift and present for each person, but I really love eating holiday food. My mom will do a traditional Italian seafood dinner on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas, we’ll go to my partner Ray’s family. I really enjoy that and having a new batch of kids in the family makes everything more magical. I think the combo of having Ronin and doing more Christmas movies has made me more of a Christmas person.
TTVJ: I know I’ve already seen Wynonna Earp fans marking this movie on their calendars getting ready for a live tweet. What does it mean to you that Earpers continue to support you on all of your other projects?
KB: I think about it all the time. It means the world to me. I didn’t know quite what to expect once Wynonna Earp was done. I knew there’d be some fallout, but I’m shocked at the number of people that have continued to support all our projects and the things we do. We’d love to make more Wynonna Earp, but it’s completely outside of our control and it’s just so nice to have a little piece of Earp that stays with us with the fan support.
The fact that fans are engaging and live-tweeting along means that we get to keep working, and keep making movies, and doing what we love because we have that incredible fanbase and support. People will watch what we make and it’s a huge asset in such a competitive, crazy industry. It’s also really bolstering on the days where you’re like ‘this is hard’ or ‘I can’t book a job and want to quit.’ Then you know you have this incredible support system cheering you on.
It’s definitely been bittersweet to watch the Earp stuff wind down a bit, but I’m really looking forward to doing conventions a couple of times a year. This is the next chapter of what being an Earper looks like. We can still get together, do live tweets, and celebrate even though we don’t have new Wynonna Earp coming out. It’s nice that it’s a way that we can all still feel connected. That kind of support is something I’ve never experienced in anything else I’ve ever done and I’m so incredibly grateful. The word “grateful” doesn’t even really scratch the surface, but it’s phenomenal and I’m so lucky.
A Tale of Two Christmases airs Saturday, November 26 at 6 p.m. ET/P on the Hallmark Channel and the W Network. Viewers can also stream all 2022 holiday premieres live and on-demand on STACKTV.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.