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Taylor Cole

Wingman Wednesday

Jack Turner

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Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Steven Ackerman

Yes, we’re counting the days until wind chills are no longer a factor in our daily clothing choices and Nor’easters are Nor’more, but until then we’re embracing the sentimental glow of the season – warming ourselves at the foot of the fireplace, indulging in home-cooked comfort foods, and of course, settling in under a heavy blanket and watching Hallmark Channel’s Winterfest programming event.

Premiering Saturday on the network, “One Winter Weekend” tells the story of a surprise romance that develops between two unlikely people, played by Taylor Cole and Jack Turner, who find themselves double-booked and snowed in together while on their own individual weekend away in the mountains.

We recently sat down with Turner to discuss reuniting with his “My Summer Prince” costar, why he would hang out with his character Ben in the real world, and the reason he left his job at Google after five years.

TrunkSpace: This isn’t your first time working with Taylor. Was coming together on this movie by design or was it a bit of a surprise for you?
Turner: Taylor was working with the production team a little bit and was able to suggest some names and it ended up coming my way. I was really happy to get it and it was great to have the chance to work with Taylor again – she’s brilliant to work with. It was also fun to get the team together after “My Summer Prince,” which is probably one of my favorite times on set.

TrunkSpace: On-screen chemistry is so important to the success and believability of Hallmark Channel movies. Because you two have worked together in the past, did that allow you and Taylor to jump right into the material and hit the ground running?
Turner: Yeah, totally. I think that chemistry comes from really good listening. I think that that’s the majority of what chemistry is on camera. When you trust that someone’s going to be there and be prepared and be ready to listen to you just as much as you’re ready to listen to them, then it takes a lot of the pressure off and no one’s just thinking about their side of things. It becomes a very interactive acting experience. I think that definitely having worked before and trusting each other the way we do, we could sink very quickly into daily routines of running lines on the way to set, running lines on the way home, and then, “See you tomorrow morning.” It was all very straightforward.

TrunkSpace: And in that, it must give you a sense of comfort off-camera as well – a sense of ease within the job itself?
Turner: Definitely. Simple stuff that makes things really easy. There wasn’t a grocery store nearby and Taylor had a car and I didn’t, and so when she was on set, she’d let me use her car so I could go and get groceries. It’s simple stuff – some surprising teamwork that makes those kinds of experiences even more enjoyable.

TrunkSpace: From our understanding, working on Hallmark Channel productions is an extremely efficient process, which makes sense given how many new movies the network airs each year. From an acting standpoint, how does that efficiency impact what you’re doing as a performer?
Turner: I personally like it. There’s not too much time to overthink things and so you trust your instincts and maybe get some direction to try some different options in takes, leave it behind and move on to the next thing. This film was a 15-day shoot, but my days were condensed into 10. I shot my side of things, the scenes that I was in, in 10 days, which is a very quick shoot for a film. I like that a lot because you just get in that rhythm and it’s very focused.

TrunkSpace: That also must allow you to pursue more projects throughout the course of a year when you’re not committing yourself to a six week or longer shoot?
Turner: Totally. I’ve been quite lucky with the shoots I’ve done. I’ve done more condensed shoots in terms of the amount of time that I’ve been on them. I’d love to do an extended TV show, but it’s also great for me to… I only came to this five or six years ago, so I’m getting loads of varied experiences through lots of different sets and lots of different roles and that’s very enriching.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to your character Ben in “One Winter Weekend,” is he someone who you could see yourself hanging out with in the real world? Was it easy for you to connect with him?
Turner: It definitely was easy to connect with him. He’s a CEO of a company but almost reluctantly so. He started the company, it went public, and he’s beholden to the board of directors and the shareholders. He has a bit more of an entrepreneurial mentality, combined with an easygoing nature, and isn’t strictly business. I think he’s become a bit jaded that his baby isn’t his. His vision isn’t really being fulfilled anymore and the company’s products aren’t being innovative and he needs a weekend away to get some perspective on some of the issues he’s been having in the company and also in the press, and then of course, he meets Cara.

TrunkSpace: And the conflict then arises because she is essentially the press, right?
Turner: Exactly right. Good research.

At the beginning of the film they both book the same chalet and neither of them are happy about it. To ease the tension, their friends that they’re with suggest that no one talks about work for the weekend because we’re all going to be sharing space together and it should just be a fun time.

Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Steven Ackerman

TrunkSpace: Hallmark Channel programming continues to grow in popularity. Why do you think that is?
Turner: I think it’s really family friendly, simple entertainment. Simple is the wrong word, but in contrast, simplicity can be elegant in that you have characters who are dealing with very relatable problems, and over the course of the film and the obstacles that they go through, they learn something that is universal about themselves and come out the other side. It can be a very clear learning experience for the audience as well as the characters. I think they’re quite elegant in the ease that the scripts and the films have.

TrunkSpace: You have one of the more interesting journeys in becoming an actor that we’ve read about. Firstly, you studied psychology and we have to imagine that having that knowledge must be pretty beneficial in an industry where there are so many different types of personalities?
Turner: Definitely. Both in terms of the characters you play and also on-set dynamics. That’s where professionalism really comes into play and I was fortunate that I worked at Google for five years and had a heavy dose of professionalism there. I feel like I have good training, if you like, for working in film and TV. The funny thing about the psychology degree is that the way psychology has gone for the last 15 or 20 years, it’s become very scientific. The degree was almost closer to neuroscience or neuropsychology rather than observable human behavior. In a way I feel like acting school, which I did at night while I was working at Google, and then working in film and TV, is the education in psychology I always wanted and also the expression of what I’m interested in.

TrunkSpace: Like you mentioned, you worked at Google for five years, which is a company that a lot of people are running towards, not from.
Turner: (Laughter) I know. Google is a great job, so I like to joke that it was a series of unforgivable mistakes leaving that place.

TrunkSpace: And it was while you were there that you planted the seed for what would ultimately become your acting career?
Turner: Yeah, it was. I thought I’d go to an acting class for a couple reasons. Partly because of the psychology background and because a few really close friends and family said it could be a good fit as a hobby. I also thought it might help me at work. A lot of the executives do actually use acting coaches in order to help them dealing with different personalities or in helping themselves. Maybe some people need to be more assertive, some people need to listen better, some people need to present with more authority, or maybe even less authority. Acting can be really helpful for executives.

So I went to a class and just instantly fell in love with the rooted but spiritual nature of it. I just fell in love with it and became hooked and did a two-year class while I was in San Francisco at night, two or three nights a week. Then came a time where I was prepared and ready to leave the fold of Google. There’s no regrets, but it was a very difficult decision.

One Winter Weekend” premieres Saturday, January 20 (9 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel.

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Wingman Wednesday

Taylor Cole

TaylorCole_Wingwoman_wednesday

Even though our slowly-shrinking jack-o’-lanterns are still sitting on our stoops and our various Halloween costumes are slung over the backs of chairs, the changing of the calendar from October to November means only one thing for those particularly festive people like us… it’s the unofficial start of the holiday season!

Thanks to Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, our inner inflatable, oversized, holiday-themed lawn decoration is being filled with seasonal wonder from now through December as a magical series of Christmas movies pump our holiday spirit to maximum capacity. Premiering this Saturday on Hallmark Channel is “Christmas Festival of Ice” starring Taylor Cole and Damon Runyan.

 


We recently sat down with Cole to discuss the draw of Christmas content, why she so easily connected with her character Emma, and her own favorite holiday memory.

TrunkSpace: Your new holiday Hallmark Channel film “Christmas Festival of Ice” premieres just a few days after Halloween. For all of us who are still nursing candy corn hangovers, how do we jump start our brains to transition from spooky spirits to finding our holiday spirit?
Cole: The crisp air and new latte flavors, of course. Also, I’ve already started planning my family get-together and there’s nothing like family to bring in the holiday spirit.

TrunkSpace: The film is a part of the network’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming event. People love the holidays and they love Hallmark Channel original programming. The marriage of the two seems like a no-brainer. In your opinion, why does this particular type of seasonal content resonate with so many viewers?
Cole: I think Hallmark Christmas movies evoke a sense of nostalgia that people are yearning for during the holidays.

TrunkSpace: In the film you’re playing fresh-out-of-law-school Emma Parkers who returns to her small town only to discover that an ice sculpting competition that means a lot to her has been cancelled. The two elements that are most often discussed as relating to holiday Hallmark Channel movies are relationships and the holidays themselves, but a big part of their allure is the environment of a community that they establish. In terms of “Christmas Festival of Ice,” how important is that element of community and the town itself to the overall story and to who Emma is?
Cole: Emma really discovers herself through fundraising for her favorite childhood pastime with the help of her community. Giving back and creating memories for the town again makes her realize her passion in life might be different from what others expect her to be.

TrunkSpace: Was it an easy journey for you to discover just who Emma was? It is our understanding that things move pretty quickly from the moment you land the part to the first day of photography. Did you have time to absorb the material and connect with the character?
Cole: I connected with Emma immediately because of her connection with her father and the activities they bonded over. My favorite memories as a child were camping with my father and road tripping to volleyball games. I recently bought a trailer and spent the last year and a half traveling the US driving from job to job for that very reason.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, what was your favorite moment in your journey as Emma? Is there a particular scene or aspect of the story that you’re most excited for viewers to see?
Cole: The last scene with my father was hands-down my favorite scene. I’m a daddy’s girl and that bond is beautiful and unbreakable.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of viewers, Hallmark Channel has a very passionate fandom. Coined Hallmarkies online, they love all things Hallmark Channel, especially seasonal content. As an actress, is it rewarding to be working on a project that not only has a built-in fan base where you know people will show up for the premiere, but is also something that the entire family can share in?
Cole: The fans are so great because they are so genuine and loyal. What more can you ask for? My favorite part of Hallmark is the family bond it has created for so many families, including mine.

Photo: Taylor Cole, Damon Runyan Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Petr Maur

TrunkSpace: We here at TrunkSpace are admittedly a bit obsessed with all things “Supernatural.” We know that you appeared in two episodes with a large gap in between, so we’re curious, how much of a surprise was it when you received the call to reprise the role of Sarah Blake in season 8?
Cole: I always thought it would be an interesting storyline to continue considering she was Sam’s first love interest after his great loss, but it was so early in the show I wasn’t sure there’d be room for a love interest. So getting a call seven seasons later was definitely a surprise.

TrunkSpace: As someone who was on set in the inaugural first season and then again in season 8, does it come as a surprise that the show is currently still going strong in its 13th season?
Cole: The blend of the boys charm and the humor and adventure in the writing are a winning combination. And you can’t beat their fans. Their passion reminds me of Hallmark fans. They are the reason Sarah Blake returned to the show. That episode was used to kill off everyone that the fans begged to have back, which I think is kind of genius. They’ve done it all and the fans can’t get enough.

TrunkSpace: You’ve starred and guested in a lot of great, memorable shows over the years. Is there a particular character that you wished you got more time with to explore further and why?
Cole: I really enjoyed playing Sofya Voronova on “The Originals.” It was fun to have the challenge of playing two characters in season 4. Working and growing with such gifted talent inspired me everyday.

TrunkSpace: Again, “Christmas Festival of Ice” is part of the Countdown to Christmas programming event. What is one of your favorite holiday memories and what do you most look forward to each year as the season kicks off?
Cole: My arts and craft skills are not up to par so my favorite thing to do is attempt any cute holiday idea and see how poorly I can execute it. My favorite holiday memory was asking my dad to dress up as Santa so I could catch him leaving gifts under the tree.

“Christmas Festival of Ice” premieres Saturday on Hallmark Channel.

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