A romance writer stranded in Upstate New York during a freak snowstorm finds herself torn between two hunky guys in the heartwarming seasonal movie, Must Love Christmas. Sounds like a juicy plot torn from one of the protagonist’s popular books! It’s true, writer Mark Amato says, “fiction and real life collide” in this story studded with furtive glances and delightful Yuletide decorations.
“She’s basically the Danielle Steel of the holiday genre,” says Liza Lapira, who plays famed novelist Natalie Wolfe — a departure from the butt-kicking Air Force sniper turned vigilante justice seeker she plays on The Equalizer. “The wizard behind the curtain of all these cute Christmas novels is this neurotic New Yorker who’s sadly all alone in her Brooklyn brownstone.”
While she’s beloved by fans, Natalie has lost her fire after being humiliated by an unflattering article and become something of a hermit (“Two cats shy of being a total recluse,” jokes her editor). “She’s still reeling,” Lapira says. Worse, she is struggling with writer’s block and the ending of her new book. Her editor urges her to get out and experience the world again.
When Natalie takes the tip and attends a fan event in Buffalo, she winds up in bucolic Cranberry Falls, snowed in and with a pair of love prospects. One is the author’s high school crush, Caleb (Nathan Witte), now a volunteer firefighter, who rescues her roadside. The other, a reporter named Nick (Neal Bledsoe), pursues an exclusive cover-story interview for his troubled magazine. Sparks abound, and both guys help Natalie “come out of her shell and step back into her life,” Lapira says.
With the love triangle tinkling, Natalie finds a way to work through her creative struggles and bounce back from the pain in her past. Looking forward, she painstakingly creates a list of must-have traits she wants in a partner, zeroing in on the qualities she values most. “It’s through getting to know these guys and her [budding] friendships with them,” Lapira says, “that she fills the list.” In the end, Natalie finds her heart full too.
“It was fun to play someone who’s emotionally flawed — someone who makes mistakes,” Lapira says. Isn’t that the stuff of all great romance characters? Get a sneak peek at the action in an exclusive clip, above.
Must Love Christmas, Movie Premiere, Sunday, December 11, 9/8c, CBS