Nashville Native James Denton Talks About Reuniting With Teri Hatcher for Hallmark's 'A Kiss Before Christmas'

"The chemistry was just the same.”

James Denton and Teri Hatcher in Formal Attire
Photo: Crown Media

We told you this was coming back in October. Hallmark announced that Teri Hatcher and James Denton would reunite on screen for the first time since Desperate Housewives ended back in 2012. Well, the time has finally come. A Kiss Before Christmas premieres Sunday, November 21 on Hallmark Channel and James Denton told Southern Living all about reuniting with his former TV wife.

When Denton, who also serves as an executive producer of the film, began planning this project he called on a few writer friends he'd worked with in the past. His first call was to Mark Amato and he explained what he was hoping to create.

"I've got to find a script that's age appropriate. All the Hallmark leads are in their 30s or so. And it's tricky to do that kind of a love story at my age in something that makes sense. So, we came up with this idea of this guy who is middle aged and maybe frustrated with his career and that's where it started," the Nashville native explained.

Then, with the help of Tracy Andreen, the script was finished, and we get the story of Ethan and Joyce, married for 20 years. Ethan is not satisfied with where he is in his career and what he's able to provide for his children and Joyce is the mother of two now teenage children wondering "what if" about a career as an attorney she gave up on earlier in her life. Things change in a magical instant when Ethan has an encounter with Santa, falls asleep waiting for his train, and wakes up in an alternate universe. With heavy nods to Jimmy Stewart and It's a Wonderful Life, A Kiss Before Christmas modernizes the familiar tale and helps us all pause to remember what's most important in life. Family.

"We loved how the story came through and then we realized we've got to have the right actress. I told them, if I can't get Teri, I don't want to do it. And we might have to do something else. But let's start with Teri and see what happens. And sure enough, she only read about 10 pages and she said yes," Denton said.

The wheels for this mini television reunion were set in motion and the two co-stars reunited for the first time since 2012 when Desperate Housewives ended. "We had to think about it to be sure, but yeah it's the first time that we'd been in same place physically. We've emailed and texted about different things over the years, but we realized we haven't been in the same place since I was standing in her front yard as a ghost as she drove out of the neighborhood," Denton said.

"Teri and I had a ball. The first scene in the bedroom was funny because it was just like Mike and Susan and yet Teri had on a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, silk pajamas. It's like, we are not on Wisteria Lane anymore. We are definitely on Hallmark," he said with a hearty laugh. But it was clear that their working relationship hadn't changed.

"The chemistry was just the same. The boom guy, after the scene said 'Gah, you guys seem like you've been married for 20 years.' I said well, we kinda have. It was really fun working with her."

"Teri says, that when we work together, and this is just the second time, the producers get a freebie. And that freebie is 20 years of history. You can't make it up and you can't fake it. You can have chemistry with an actor if you're both good enough, pretty quickly. But you don't get the camaraderie and banter you get with us."

The familiarity was definitely beneficial; Denton shared that when he was stuck on a particularly emotional scene, it was Hatcher who gave him a pep talk to help him overcome his hesitancy and deliver a very poignant performance in a pivotal moment in the movie. But that same familiarity presented a unique challenge.

"I realized I was falling right back into being Mike Delfino because we'd done it for almost 9 years. So that first scene when we started talking, even though Ethan is a very different character with much more personality and more animated, I fell back into this quiet Mike Delfino thing. And so, we really had to kind of stop on that first day and check ourselves. And make sure that we were being Joyce and Ethan. And not Mike and Susan."

WATCH: Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas Kicks Off With a Mini The Wonder Years Reunion

A Kiss Before Christmas is both a wonderful, endearing movie for the whole family to watch together, but for fans of Desperate Housewives, it's the pop of nostalgia we have all craved since that moment Susan cradled Mike on her front porch. And while it may have taken nearly a decade to see these two back together on screen, if Denton has his way, it won't be long before we see it again. "I'm hoping, it seems like somebody would find something for me and Teri to do," Denton told us. Maybe even a sequel.

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