How a Watch Helped Andrew Walker Create His Character in Hallmark's 'My Family Christmas Tree'

Plus, could there be a musical in his future?

For years now, Andrew Walker has been a staple on our televisions, winning our hearts in 21 Hallmark movies so far. But ahead of the premiere of his latest, My Family Christmas Tree, Walker spoke with Southern Living and let us in on a little of his behind-the-scenes mechanics of how he creates a unique character for each film.

Andrew Walker Sipping Cocoa
©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/ Allister Foster

My Family Christmas Tree centers around Vanessa, played by Aimee Teegarden, who is preparing to spend yet another Christmas at home with her dog since she has no family to visit. But she learns through one of those now popular DNA test kits that she has a biological father out there she never knew. Vanessa reaches out and connects with her father Richard, played by James Tupper, and is soon invited to spend Christmas with his wife and children and family friend, Kris, played by Walker. Kris also lost both of his parents' and Richard and his wife have taken in Kris like he's one of their own. With Kris's guidance, Vanessa rediscovers what having the refuge of family means, especially during the holidays. It's a story Walker really enjoyed bringing to life, as he told us.

"I loved coming into this character from the exact place of sadness, in a way. You know, this place of grief. It's a Hallmark movie, we're not doing a melodramatic piece here. I like fractured characters and I love that Hallmark told this story about these kind of fractured people that were piecing their lives back together through this family. Through love, through support."

Walker's character lost both parents when he was just 22 in a tragic accident. He shared with us how he puts himself in Kris's shoes. "This is the way that I prepare for roles a lot of the time. You build this whole backstory and all these thoughts and ideas of who this person is and who they are at the time of when you get to play them… "I wanted a watch that had a lot of sentimental value to me. So I picked a watch that that could have been my dad's that he had passed along to me, to kind of carry him along with me through my life. And just have that weight of what it felt like to lose your parents."

In real life, and off screen, Walker comes from a large family with some powerhouse musical talent (his cousin is an opera singer in London) and says he married into an even larger one full of very skilled cooks. From the sound of things, their Christmas traditions could make for their very own Hallmark movie.

"My traditions have always been heavily influenced by music. My whole family, my aunt is a retired elementary school music teacher. She's got an incredible voice. She graduated from McGill University in Montreal in music, My uncle, the same. He was an unbelievable trumpet player growing up and vocalist. So, my aunt and him sing together every Christmas, Every Easter. Just every time we could get together growing up, it was just filled with music. My mom is a pianist so she would play the piano and my cousins would sing."

"On my wife's side now, they're all cooks. I've been with my wife almost 18 years now. And so just when we get together with them it's just about cooking. And then I incorporate my family with that and it's kind of the perfect Christmas. We have these amazing chefs between my wife and her sisters and their mother, and then my mom comes and plays piano and I'm singing. We have the music sheets that come out. We just sing. And that's what it's really about. Family, food, and music. And I think in that order. Family, food, and music, that's the holidays," he said with a laugh.

His wife's love of cooking may also be responsible for another family project. Walker and wife Cassandra own a growing fresh pressed juice business called Little West. But when asked if the musical influences from his own family could mean a musical Hallmark film is coming soon, Walker was unsure.

"I wish there was. Look, I come from a family of singers but I sang in a rock band when I was about 16 years old until 19-20 and I do need a band behind me to make me sound better or at least to give me the confidence so I would really have to be stepping out of my comfort zone to be doing a musical but I wouldn't be opposed to it if I was partnered with the right female lead who could really carry the show for me. I would be open to it. So maybe. Potentially there could be a musical in the future."

So you're saying, there's a chance? Hear that Hallmark? We're ready! Tune into My Family Christmas Tree, premiering on Hallmark Channel November 13.

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