Friday, April 21, 2017

INTERVIEW: Nikki DeLoach on Taking Risks

Nikki DeLoach, left
Photo courtesy Hallmark Channel
Ever since the brilliant and groundbreaking MTV comedy series “Awkward” ended in 2016, series star Nikki DeLoach has been hard at work on the silver screen, forming quite a relationship with the Hallmark Channel. Next up for Nikki is Hallmark’s “The Perfect Catch,” which premieres Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. EST/PST. Nikki stars as Jessica Parker, a local diner owner who is a single parent to an 8-year-old son. When Jessica’s former high school boyfriend, superstar baseball player Chase Tanner (played by Andrew Walker), returns to town, Jessica finds the inspiration to reinvent her struggling diner and revisits the past to find something even better for the future. I spoke with her recently about this role, as well as her burgeoning relationship with Hallmark.

Celebrity Extra: Can you tell me in your own words what “The Perfect Catch” is about?

Nikki DeLoach: It’s really interesting because this movie was really a two-hander, wherein a lot of Hallmark’s movies are just about the woman with the male playing a secondary role. What I really loved about this particular movie was the fact that it’s a bit of a two-hander for me and Andrew Walker, who plays my love interest, Chase. He gets to have a really great storyline as well as my character, Jessica. Essentially, Jessica is a girl who never left her small town, and her life hasn’t turned out as she thought it would. She’s a dreamer whose dreams never really happened. She’s now a single mother who is struggling to make life work and struggling to run her grandfather’s diner, which has become a dream of hers to make it a success and keep it going.

CE: Enter her ex-boyfriend …

ND: Yes, Chase had a very different life from Jessica. He left town right out of high school, and he went to the big leagues and became a professional baseball player. He has since experienced a fall from grace after a bad game in the World Series. He was cut from his team, and all the fans are angry with him. He comes back to his hometown to lick his wounds and to regroup, and also to wait on a new contract, for another team to pick him up. So he comes back to town, ego a little bruised, and Chase and Jessica run into each other. They were high school sweethearts, and when he went away, she decided not to go with him because she didn’t want to hold him back, and that was the last time she ever saw him.

CE: Now that they are adults, having lived their lives away from each other, how does his return affect Jessica?

ND: He inspires her to dream bigger, to take some risks in her life and go after the dreams that she always wanted to have. And she in turn reminds him of what’s really important in life and that sometimes maybe you can come home. I won’t totally give away the ending, but it is Hallmark, so they do end up together, but with some twists and turns along the way.

CE: How does Jessica’s son fit into all this?

ND: Well, her son’s father left town to pursue his musical dreams. He gave her son the baseball bug, but he never gave him the training. And here Jessica is, the single mom who is terrible at baseball, trying to pitch to him and practice with him. The other kids make fun of him because everyone else has their dads around to help them, and here he has just a sad mom. But she’s doing her best, and then in comes Chase, who’s a professional ballplayer, and her son brazenly asks him, “Can you help me practice for this game I have this weekend?” Through her son, Chase and Jessica reconnect.

CE: In what ways could you relate to and empathize with your character, Jessica?

ND: I’m not a single mom because I have a husband, but he’s an entertainment attorney who leaves in the morning and gets home after my son goes to bed. His job is a lot — it’s a lot of work — and so a lot of times it feels like I’m raising my son on my own, and it’s really hard. Granted, it’s not half as hard as real single moms out there, but I felt like I could really relate to her because I’m taking my son to soccer practice and doing all these things with him that of course my husband would want to be a part of, and it’s hard to do that on your own.

I also related to her in terms of your dreams coming to fruition. I’ve been in this business for 30 years; I started out as a child actor, and there have been several times in my career where I lost everything and had to start all over again. And every single time you have to start all over, it gets harder and harder to take those risks because your heart has been broken and you’ve been disappointed so many times. So I really related to the dreamer in her whose dreams never really came to fruition. In the script, she takes that one last risk to make everything happen for her, and I feel like I did that in my own career and in my own way. And it’s paying off, but I really loved that about her story because I think there are a lot of women out there where it’s hard to make the time to make their dreams come true, and it’s hard to also find the courage. They have been disillusioned and their hearts have been broken. It’s never too late to go for what you want in life.

CE: What other messages would you say this movie has for its viewers?

ND: The message for Chase’s character is that sometimes it’s not too late to come home and essentially start your life all over again. For Jessica, it’s sometimes it’s not too late to start your life over again and to have the life you’ve always wanted. Both of them are parallel in similar yet different ways.

CE: What was the shoot like? I hear it was pretty cold while you were filming.

ND: Yes, we filmed in Vancouver, and it’s a spring movie, but it was freezing outside. They were having a winter that all the locals said they had not had in 30 years. It seriously rained every single day of production, and it snowed and rained for the first two weeks, and it even hailed for two of the days. We were up against a lot — when half of your movie is supposed to be exteriors and then rain is pouring down every single day, it makes it difficult. On any given day, if we caught a break in the rain for an hour or so, we would book it outside and try to get what we could outside. You had to be prepared for that because they would say, “Let’s just go to scene 36,” and you have to wrap your head around 36 and learn the lines for 36, and get out there and be ready to do it. And sometimes you would get only one take in before the rain came back.

CE: Were you guys able to make the most of a tricky filming situation?

ND: On any other set, those circumstances would have made it a very difficult shoot and a very unhappy shoot, but this was quite the opposite. Everything we were up against with the weather, our director was sensational; he had a great attitude. Our crew was wonderful. The cast — we were always in such good spirits. We were just happy to be there and filming this movie.

Nikki DeLoach (center) on the set of
The Perfect CatchPhoto courtesy Hallmark Channel
CE: You’ve worked with Hallmark before — tell me what they are like as a boss.

ND: It seems so sterile to call them an employer because what they are is family. I get to belong to this wonderful family that is making really great programming. An entire family can sit down and watch, and you can never find that on network television. I so appreciate that, and everything they say that they stand for, they really do. From the president, Bill Abbott, to his top executives Randy Po and Michelle Vicary — they all stand for the values that they say they maintain. And they treat you so well; I’m treated so well by them, my family is treated so well by them. They take care of us, and honestly, I have an amazing time every time I get to do a project with them. It’s really brought a lot of happiness into my life.

CE: Since you like working with Hallmark so much, and you previously made a Christmas movie with Andrew Walker and now this spring-fling movie, I think you two should make a Hallmark movie for each season. Next up, the Fourth of July.

ND: Yes! Hallmark needs to see us as the seasonal couple, where we’re in four movies together and, honestly, that would be Andrew’s and my dream come true. We love working together. I have a family; he has a family. We both have a lot going on in our lives, and actually he loves my husband more than he loves me. We did a movie together in Winnipeg, and my husband came up to visit for a week. The boys went out — they went out every night — and I’d be at home, studying my lines and having to get up at 6 the next morning. And the boys would be out watching hockey games and football games, just having a blast. The two of them became really great friends. I absolutely love his wife. You meet good people sometimes, and you feel like you’ve known them your entire life. Andrew feels like the older brother I never had, and he’s become family to me and vice versa, so we really love working together. I have said to Hallmark, “Put us together as much as you want because that really works for us.”

CE: One of my all-time favorite shows was MTV’s “Awkward.” The writing was brilliant, the casting absolutely wonderful. Do you all ever discuss doing a reunion movie?

ND: We do! We have a lot of people who tuned in, and they really want more. There have been ideas bounced around of doing a movie for MTV that would bring everyone back together over a summer, and I really hope that happens. I’m like, “Maybe I’ll pitch the idea; I’ll come up with a concept and pitch it.” And thank you for saying that. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life, getting to work on that show and do that material every day and to play the character of Lacey, who will go down in history as one of my favorite people that I’ve ever gotten to play. I just love her, and I miss her every day. I miss that whole cast, just being with them. We talk all the time and we see each other all the time, but it’s different when you’re used to seeing them every day.

No comments:

Post a Comment