Liliana Tandon joins Chelsie Overocker from the House of Hallmark to discuss her new movie A Ring For Christmas premiering Sunday, Nov 8th on UPtv.
A Ring For Christmas follows Angie Moore [Tandon], a spoiled single girl who gets cut off from her family money 25 days before Christmas. But when she discovers the existence of a sizable trust fund that she will inherit when she gets married. Angie’s plan is to find a husband before Christmas.
Check out the trailer:
What makes this project so special is not only is Liliana the lead actress in this movie but this is her first feature that she wrote. We talk about what it was like working on and off screen.
Before discussing the movie we checked in with Liliana to see how she was doing.
“I’ve been pretty good. I’m in New York City. I’ve been here pretty much the whole time and quarantined with my fiance Jon. We were supposed to get married this summer in June but we decided early on in April to postpone. We were able to get our venue. We were able to get our photographer. Everything was able to move till next year.”
Even though her wedding got postponed Liliana is keeping a positive attitude. She’s grateful that her and her family members are healthy.
“We’re just so thankful that we have our health and everyone in our family is healthy. Moving a wedding was sad but there are worse things at this time…but I’ve been writing a lot and auditioning. ”
That is the plus side of being quarantined. It gives us the opportunity to create more content and write for upcoming projects. In A Ring For Christmas what did you love the most about your character?
“This character was so much fun to write and to play. It’s always really fun to play someone who has a lot of growing to do. She starts in one place and really ends up in a different place. You get to see her grow and go through that transformation. You do understand her a little bit. She does have some things in her past that has happened in her life that have made her the way she is today. But going back home and reconnecting with her past and reconnecting with her hometown and family helps her see more clearly what’s really important.”
Here is a clip of Liliana’s character [Angie] learning she has a sizable trust fund she is able to access as soon as she gets married.
That’s great. We always enjoy watching movies where the character learns to grow and wants to become the best version of themselves. Angie has a lot of different elements that the audience is going to see. How long did it take you to write this movie?
“It took me probably about nine months to a year to write it. I think that is pretty quick to take less than a year to write a movie. But I was really lucky to have some amazing support in my life who were able to read the script and give me advice. Laura Boersma who is the producer at Granfalloon and produced A Ring For Christmas. She’s been a mentor of mine for years. So she was definitely very crucial in helping me get the script ready to shoot.”
That’s so nice that your mentor helped you produce your first feature. We bet her advice helped make the script stand out from other Christmas movies.
“What’s fun about our script that’s different from a lot of Christmas movies is we filmed in Massachusetts in the winter. So we really wanted to get the script done for the winter season so we can use all of the real snow…it was nice to get the production value of the real snow that helped us production wise.”
Wow you filmed in the snow? We give you kudos. Was it hard filming when the weather was cold? Especially in Massachusetts.
“It was definitely tough. It is funny because if you watch any of these movies the way they style a lot of these actors is in open coats. No hats. They want everyone to look really cute and stylish. So it was difficult at certain times to be like okay do we try really hard to keep looking cute in this scene or do we break down and put on some hats.” [laughs]
Do you have any memories you can share with us that you remember when you are on set and it was freezing?
“One day we were filming in Newburyport Massachusetts and in the movie there is a big town tree lighting ceremony. It was 12 degrees outside before the windshield. We had to have everyone bundle up. Wear your coats. Wear your hats. It was pretty tough filming it but looking at the scenes now it adds so much production value to the movie. You see our breath and you see the snow. It really does look like we’re cold and it’s Christmas.”
You definitely get in the Christmas spirit when it’s only 12 degrees outside. But we agree it adds more to the scene when we can see your breath when you’re talking and adds more of an authentic feel to the movie.
“Yeah and I’’l just say to any crew that is watching thank you again so much to the whole crew for A Ring For Christmas. We know it was brutal sometimes but we really appreciate everything you’ve done.”
That’s a sweet shoutout. In order to make a great movie you need to have awesome crew and cast members. How was it working with Dean Geyer who is your co-star?
“He is so so nice. He was really fun to work with. We got to meet before filming started so we had a couple of days to get to know each other. He is so sweet and it’s so funny too because he is South African so has a very strong accent. But if you see him in most of his things like Glee and stuff he puts on a very good American accent.”
We are fans of him from Glee and we didn’t realize his accent was strong. His American accent is impressive. It’s great that he was easy to work with and you two had the opportunity to get to know each other before filming.
Liliana also shares that it was surreal to have Michael Gross and Lorriane Bracco who play her parents be a part of this film.
“Anything with Michael Gross and Lorraine Bracco was also amazing. They played my parents and obviously Michael Gross is such a legend in the industry from Family Ties. Lorraine Bracco Academy Award nominee for Goodfellas and she was in The Sopranos. Pretty much anything with them felt like a masterclass in acting. I felt like I was just learning from them. They were both so wonderful to work with.”
Wow! That’s amazing that they both were in the movie. It’s awesome that you got to learn from them and not only does your character grow in the movie but your co-starts also helped you grow as an actress.
Here is a clip with Liliana and Lorraine.
“I had to pinch myself sometimes because you know when things are tough and shooting a movie is tough. My fiance John is really cute he says, ‘if you ever feel down just remember an Academy Award nominee read your movie and wanted to be in.’ [laughs] that is his way of cheering me up.”
Your fiance sounds wonderful and he is right! Not many writers can say that an Academy Award nominee loved your script.
The talent that was part of this movie is amazing. What was a fun scene that you enjoyed filming and can’t wait for the audience to see.
“The opening of the movie is really fun. It’s like a montage of my character in New York City going through the Bryant park Christmas stores there. That was so much fun to shoot because I felt like a kid again. Seeing all the shops and it was Christmasy. The ice skating rink and everything was so cute.” Liliana explains, “people were curious about what we were doing when we were ice skating. So people came over and we were like do you want to be in this movie? You can shoot a little thing with me so we had a couple of shots of me high fiving people. Hopefully they are able to catch the movie when it comes out. So that was really fun.”
That does sound like fun! Yes they are going to have to watch the movie and the ice skating scene sounds like a great scene to watch. We really like when you talk about this movie how excited you are when you are deceiving a scene or talking about the storyline. This must have been a fun script to write.
“I’ve always loved these kind of Christmas movies. They are so much fun and they make you feel so good and cozy. This was my first feature film that I ever wrote. So I wanted to write something that I know well. I know the genre and I can do this. I can write this and it would be so fun to make. I started writing the script and the folks at Granfalloon were really helpful in that…they helped me get the script ready and they introduced us to story works. So we got our producers that way and those guys have worked on a ton of Christmas movies. So they really knew what they were doing. They helped us make the movie independently and then it found a home on Uptv which is so amazing. Such a great feeling.”
That is a good feeling when you have people who are interested in your script and want to turn your work into a movie.
“Yeah definitely. I was lucky that I was the writer because I knew the script so well. It is interesting because normally when you are an actress you can just finish your scenes, go home for the day and prepare for the next day. You don’t have to think about anything else. But as the writer I was kind of involved in everything after the shoot was over. Making sure the pages are ready and everything is ready to go for the next day. It was tough but a great learning experience.”
Was it easy to play Angie since you created the character?
“I have similarities to her. Definitely I think when I write. Maybe more than I care to admit [laughs] but when I write characters I tend to draw from what I feel and what I know. Obviously I’m not exactly like her but some of her emotions and things she goes through I feel connected to”
Liliana didn’t take all of the credit on how everything looked on screen She was very thankful to work with Don E. Flauntle Roy who directed the movie.
“We had a great director. Don E. Flauntle Roy was wonderful to work with. He was so nice because he knew I was the writer and the lead and it was my baby. He met with me before and we kind of went through the script. He said if there was anything he should know. Is there anything you feel really strongly about when you wrote these characters. So he was really generous. I don’t think most of the time when you are a writer you get that opportunity. He was so kind and allowed me to provide some input.”
That is awesome that Don wanted to get your input about the movie before filming. We are glad that you had an amazing experience with your first big project as the lead actress and writer. We all are looking forward to watching the movie.
“Thank you, what I love about the film is if you are someone who does watch a lot of these Christmas movies I think you will be excited to find something a little different in A Ring For Christmas. As you heard from my previous work I am female focused about empowerment so I felt like I wanted to write a character and write a movie where at the beginning the woman is dealing with some real stuff. She has some growth to do and some changes to make..but there is no sacrifice..so it’s rewarding for me to watch it and I hope people like it. I think it does have something different to say.”
Click here for the full interview
Everyone make sure you watch A Ring For Christmas premiering this Sunday November 8th on Uptv.
Thank you Liliana for joining us on House of Hallmark and to keep up with her latest projects you can follow Liliana on IG @ltandon and Twitter @lilanatandon
For more Hallmark related content as well as interviews with different artists that inspire and elevate be sure to follow The House of Hallmark on Instagram @homeofhallmark and Twitter @houseofhallmark.
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