Richard Gere had Jennifer Lopez as his dance instructor in “Shall We Dance.” Now, Andrew McCarthy is learning some smooth moves from Michelle Nolden in the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas-themed movie, “Come Dance With Me,” premiering Saturday, Dec. 3, with an encore airing on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
McCarthy plays Jack, a rising financial executive who is dating the boss’ daughter (Stephanie Mills). To prove he has all the right stuff — especially to her judgmental parents — he plans out the perfect proposal, which includes proposing to her at her father’s annual Christmas dance where he will be required to waltz. The only hitch in the plan is he can’t dance! And even as Jack lands the big account which will prove himself to his boss, he realizes it is more important to follow his heart than to follow the money.
In this exclusive interview with XfinityTV, McCarthy talks about “Come Dance With Me,” his favorite Christmas movies and whether he’d consider parlaying this film into a stint on “Dancing With the Stars.”
How long did you take dance classes to prepare for this movie?
We did it in two weekends, so we took four classes.
Did you already know how to dance?
I had no idea how to dance. Michelle knew how to dance so she did everything and I pretended to lead but she really did. It was really quite fun. It was much more fun than I thought it would be. I had no idea how to dance and I suppose I had that typical male inhibition about dancing, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. But don’t ask me to foxtrot. The waltz is the only dance I can do.
Do you have any interest in learning more and maybe going on “Dancing with the Stars”?
They have asked me to go on “Dancing with the Stars” several times and I have always said no. I would love the dancing but I don’t think I could take the outfits.
What do you see as the theme of the “Come Dance With Me”? Mother knows best? Follow your heart’s desire?
I think it is that notion of follow your heart and not the cash.
Are you a big Christmas person? Was that the appeal of this movie?
I love Christmas. I have previously done a couple of Hallmark Christmas movies. I really enjoy them. I find them to be uncynical and unjaded and the unabashed storytelling refreshing to act in. I think the older I get — and I have kids — so it is nice to do a straight ahead, heartwarming story.
I think for Christmas movies, you can’t be hip and cool and jaded. That just doesn’t work. Christmas is about the opposite of that. Christmas is about emotion and love. I think that works perfectly in the Hallmark Channel’s wheelhouse. I think their Christmas movies are quite successful because they capture that. Everybody’s willing to hear that story at Christmas. They may not be willing to hear it in July, but at Christmas, people want something that is “that feels good.”
What are your two favorite Christmas movies — other than your own — and what do you like about them?
I suppose “It’s A Wonderful Life” would be my favorite Christmas movie, like it is everybody’s. Jimmy Stewart is so good and it has that uncynical [sic] urgency to follow your heart against all odds and in the end it will win. It has that magical quality without it being sentimental at all, but it is wonderfully emotional. I find that a hard line to tow. For the second movie, the other day, my son and I just watched the animated movie with Tom Hanks doing all the parts — “The Polar Express.” I read him the book. He grew up with the book so to see the movie took it to another whole dimension.
Do you have any holiday traditions in your family?
My wife is Irish so we end up going to Dublin most Christmases, so that seems to be our tradition. We get everybody together and go off to Dublin.
Do you decorate before you go?
We do the tree and whatnot. We are supposed to get our tree tomorrow. I think that is when I was told I am getting the tree.
“Come Dance With Me” premieres Saturday, December 8 at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel with an encore airing on Tuesday, Dec. 11.