From heartache to joy: Ellen Travolta crosses Hallmark Christmas movie off her to-do list

By | November 25, 2022

Within the fall of 2017, Ellen Travolta was unhappy.

Her husband of 34 years, Jack Bannon, died Oct. 25 after a brief sickness, and Travolta sat of their dwelling above Lake Coeur d’Alene in deep mourning. Looking for balm for her wounded coronary heart, she turned on the Hallmark Channel. Then she heard a meow on the door.

She appeared up and noticed one of many feral cats prowling their dwelling sitting within the doorway, one thing he had by no means accomplished earlier than. It was the orange that Bannon had named “O” – he named all wildcats, Travolta stated.

“For half a minute I believed, ‘Has Jack change into a cat once more? I am unable to ignore that,’ she stated. ‘So I let him in. He got here up on the sofa and we watched Hallmark. And that was the beginning of the remainder of this yr. From October 25, O and I watched Hallmark films and I fell in love with them.

Not solely did the Hallmark escape assist soothe his grief, it impressed him with a powerful want: to seem in a Hallmark Christmas film.

“I wished to be in it as a result of they’re hopeful, and typically not so sensible, however I did not care,” the longtime theater and movie actor stated.

This weekend, that want involves fruition when “Haul Out the Holly” debuts on the Hallmark Channel at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Saturday.

Filmed in Salt Lake Metropolis final summer season, “Haul Out the Holly” stars Lacey Chabert (“Social gathering of 5”) as Emily, who finds herself spending the vacations alone at her mother and father’ home, the place the owners affiliation has strict guidelines relating to Christmas. , and insists that she take part within the many neighborhood events. Travolta performs a neighbor, Mary Louise, who actually loves Christmas. The forged additionally consists of Wes Brown (“True Blood”), Melissa Peterman (“Younger Sheldon”) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson of “Groundhog Day”).

“It was a contented, glad set,” she stated. “Hallmark is beneficiant, they’re thoughtful and it was only a pleasure.”

They filmed this Christmas extravaganza in August on location in a cul-de-sac of gorgeous properties.

“It was winter coats, scarves, hats and gloves, and snowballs, in 100 diploma warmth,” she stated.

Between takes, quite than going to their dressing rooms, situated quarter-hour from the manufacturing base camp, the actors frolicked in one of many lovely homes. It was certainly one of her favourite issues throughout her three weeks on set.

“We’d sit in the lounge, or within the den, or down within the sport room, and we’d have great conversations,” Travolta stated. “And we actually acquired to know one another, we laughed and we cried, and it was a beautiful, great expertise.”

To get a Hallmark gig, she first requested everybody she knew learn how to go about it, together with her agent and buddies who had appeared in Hallmark films. Lastly, her brother John helped her make a connection.

“I used to be away with John in Austria and all I did was discuss being on Hallmark. So once we acquired again he known as his agent and stated, ‘What do we have to do? do to get Ellen in a Hallmark film? All she desires is one line,'” she laughed.

Her brother’s agent known as Hallmark, defined that showing in a Hallmark film was an merchandise on Travolta’s to-do listing, and “There they known as,” she stated.

It was in 2020. She had an interview with Hallmark, she stated, and so they informed her they want to have her in a film.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed issues a bit, however two years later they known as again and provided her a small position in “Haul Out the Holly.”

Quickly, Maclain Nelson, the director, known as Travolta and informed her he’d been a fan of her since he was a child, when he watched her on the sitcom “Charles in Cost.”

“I used to be so excited to do it. After I arrived, everybody included me. Folks had been so good and respectful, and so they knew every thing I had accomplished,” she stated. “They weren’t even born after I was doing TV!”

She had such a good time that she would like to do extra Hallmark films.

“I actually imagine that in our time we’re in search of that hope extra. The hallmark is hope. I cherished each second of it,” she stated.

As for the film itself? “I heard it was humorous.”

She hasn’t seen it but and will not be capable to see it when it premieres Saturday evening, as it is going to be on the Coeur d’Alene Resort in its annual cabaret, “The Better of Christmas.” She plans to observe it in reruns.

His fellow viewer from 5 years in the past, O the Orange Cat, will not see him both. Travolta stated he wandered off shortly after Christmas in 2017 and he or she by no means noticed him once more.

Maybe he was a messenger from her late husband, despatched as a companion throughout these early days of mourning. Or perhaps he was only a cat looking for respite from the chilly.

Both means, it sounds just like the plot of a Hallmark Christmas film.