What if “Beverly Hills, 90210″ Kelly Taylor and “All My Children’s” Ryan Lavery met? Unless SoapNET’s final weeks include a mash up of the two staples of its schedule, we will never know the answer to that question. But ABC Family’s comedic movie “Holidaze,” premiering Sunday, December 8 at 8/7c, is the next best thing. Jennie Garth plays Melody, an executive who returns to her small hometown and ends up in an alternate reality in which she is married to her high-school sweetheart, Carter (Cameron Mathison).
In this exclusive interview with xfinityTV, the two stars shared why they enjoyed working together, behind-the-scenes pranks and why Carter’s bed and breakfast inn should probably be condemned.
Melody begins the film as the prototypical type A business woman. “It starts out with my character being in the corporate world and having her eyes set in the prize. She doesn’t have any time for anybody else but herself and she’s very focused on being successful in her career,” says Garth. She returns home to get the town behind her company’s plan to open up a branch of a big box store and soon encounters her ex, Carter. “[he's a] really down to earth, genuine small town guy with good values,” describes Mathison.
It’s not a happy reunion. “Their reconnect is butting heads a little bit,” admits Mathison. “They were prom king and queen or whatever … the couple everyone was envious of … and then they ended up breaking up and going their separate ways and once they reconnect they have fun jabbing at each other for a while,” Garth explained.
However, everything changes when Melody suffers a minor head injury and wakes up in a universe in which she married Carter and lived happily ever after. “Melody is like, ‘Whoa. This is not my life. Get me out of here.’ But the whole story gets played out. She sees the other side and what that would have been like and then at the end of the movie she slip and hits her head again and it snaps her back into reality and she has a memory of what it would have been like what she missed out on and so the movie kind of plays out after that,” previews Mathison.
The film leaves it open whether Melody is hallucinating or she has actually traveled to an alternate dimension. “That’s not a question I can even answer after playing the character because we weren’t even sure when we were making the movies. There were times when I was confused, like what universe am I in right now? Am I happy or is the universe where I don’t want to be? It’s confusing. I think it’s up to the viewer to decide where it all came from.”
The duo livened up the shoot with practical jokes. “Once I had my dog with me and I had a dog bone,” shared Garth. “We would play hide the dog bone and every day the dog bone would show up in a different place and whoever had it, it’s her turn to hide it so the giant dog biscuit ended up being our entertainment for the shoot. One time I snuck into his trailer and put it in the toilet so when he opened the toilet there was the dog bone and when he returned that he returned it being with my dinner, like when they brought the food from the caterer back it was in a container.”
Mathison also found humor in the awkward process of filming a love scene. “I’m literally lying on top of Jenny and we’re getting prepared for this intimate romantic connection scene and Jennie’s on her phone sending emails so I’m like literally lying on her. She’s like reaching around over my back returning emails and sending Twitter and I’m this position ready to kiss her and completely ignored me. It cracked me up. It made me realize how mesmerizing I must be in the sack.”
Though its premise is fanciful, the film takes on a serious subject, the impact of big-box stores on communities. It’s a topic close to Garth’s heart. “I live in a small town up north where my ranch is and that’s a big deal for the people that live there and for the locals. People don’t want big, huge companies coming in and ruining their small town atmosphere. So I could definitely relate to that in the movie. Hopefully, it will make people stop and consider that process.”
“Holidaze” premieres Sunday, December 8, airing from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.