Marlo Thomas and Alison Sweeney Talk About Playing Mother And Daughter In Hallmark’s "A Magical Christmas Village"

Plus, Marlo Thomas shares what Memphis means to her.

Marlo Thomas is an entertainment legend and as the daughter of Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she’s an honorary Southerner. “Memphis is a big city in our lives. We love it. You know my parents are buried there. They were born in Chicago and Detroit and we live in Los Angeles but when they died, that’s the city they chose to be in eternally. So that says a lot about what we feel about Memphis,” she recently told Southern Living. So we were thrilled to see that this season she has paired up with veteran Hallmark star, Alison Sweeney for A Magical Christmas Village.

A Magical Christmas

©2022 Hallmark Media/ Kailey Schwerman

The pair play Summer, a no nonsense, busy, single mom and her mother, Vivian who they both  described to be the complete opposite. Sweeney told us about how she and writer Melissa Salmons “Loved the idea of tackling this issue of moms and daughters being so different. Being completely different people and they love each other, but putting them together in one house is a struggle. Especially at the holidays. So we really wanted to embrace that idea.” 

Thomas said of the dynamic between this pair, “she’s [Sweeney’s character] kind of uptight, practical, list making single mom and in comes this flamboyant [grandmother]...I so related to that because my mom was like that. A very conservative mom, let’s get it done, don’t drown in the water, don’t get hit by a car. That kind of mom. But my grandmother was just a nutcase. She was fabulous. She played the drums in a biergarten when she was 70 years old. She was just a wild woman. And I take after her.” 

Summer is a busy single mom, juggling work as an architect and raising her daughter Chloe. Her mother Vivian suddenly needs to move in with her daughter and granddaughter, and this sends Summer’s very organized life into chaos. Vivian, ever the magical Fairy Godmother type grandmother, sets up the family heirloom miniature Christmas village. She shares this tradition with Chloe and tells her that the magical village grants Christmas wishes. As Chloe begins to engage with the village, real life events appear to mimic the scenes she creates. Summer meets handsome newcomer to town, Ryan, and slowly trust and love begin to blossom. 

Sweeney said of this love story, “she [Summer] is so set in her ways that she doesn’t leave room for falling in love or meeting someone new. She really doesn’t think about it. So as an audience you believe that the magic of this Christmas village is what she would need to push herself in that direction. Because otherwise she’s fine with the way things are and she would never have taken a chance.”

Both Thomas and Sweeney agree that the story they tell about creating a multi-generational home isn’t “sugar-coated” but rather they hope to paint an optimistic picture of what is possible. “For me the idea for a Christmas movie of bringing these women together and seeing the struggle, you know, it is not sugar coating it. It is telling the story of it’s frustrating, and it’s hard. And we’re gonna disagree. And because we love each other, we’re gonna work it out. That’s the journey and I think people really relate to that,” Sweeney said. 

A Magical Christmas Village airs on Hallmark Channel beginning November 4 and will be one you will want to watch all season long.

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