A chat with Andie MacDowell.

By Nellah Bailey McGough
April 06, 2018

On April 28th, join Andie MacDowell in the premier of Hallmark Hall of Fame's latest original film, The Beach House. Co-Executive Producer and star of the movie, MacDowell has firmly made her mark in Hollywood and on Hallmark. Her first Hallmark Hall of Fame movie was Rachel Simon's Riding the Bus with My Sister which aired in 2005. Since then, she has gone on to star in the very popular series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, which aired for three seasons on the Hallmark Channel. In 2017 she starred in At Home in Mitford adapted from the beloved Mitford series by Jan Karon.

On her career path and early influencers:

AM: I was interested in (acting) as a child. My mother took me to a play at Limestone (College) in Gaffney, South Carolina, (editor's note: that's MacDowell's hometown) when I realized adults could play make believe. From that moment I wanted to act. I was 8 years old. I didn't have any influences around me or really have anyone encouraging that part of me. I studied at Winthrop College, went to New York, and got my first acting role at 23. (I) worked hard on my craft (and) studied with a lot of great teachers in New York.

On the Hallmark Channel and their fans:

AM: Their fans are dedicated, enthusiastic and warm, good people. Always fun to meet Hallmark fans. The world has enough stress and people can decompress and feel safe (watching The Hallmark Channel). It's happy and joyful. Hallmark is the only channel they can go to and get this type of programming.

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On how she learned about Mary Alice Monroe's novel, The Beach House:

AM: When I was in the 2nd or 3rd season of Cedar Cove, I serendipitously met Mary Alice Monroe getting off a plane in the Charleston airport. She came up to me and was very exuberant and told me that she had written a book called The Beach House, and she was thinking of me when she created the character of Cara. As we walked through the airport, we looked in the bookstore and she goes, "that's the book." It was a big poster propped up in the window of The Beach House and I thought, ‘well, I'm gonna get it.' I read it and originally was going to play Cara. But in the book, Cara is around 40 so we were going to make her around 50. Time kept going by and I was just starting to feel uncomfortable about doing that to the story, and thought, let's make Cara younger. Let me play Lovie.

On her character, Lovie, and the relationship between mother and daughter:

AM: To tell you the truth, I kinda liked Lovie from the beginning. I wanted to play that particular character. I liked her vulnerability; I liked the journey that she goes on. In the beginning she's got her weaknesses. She's not a perfect person. She was not a perfect mother. She did the best she could with the tools that she had. She was raised in a different generation. She was raised in a generation where women were beneath men. They didn't have a voice. It was really hard to stand up for yourself. You played your role. You played it well. I liked the mother and the journey that she went on and how she finally becomes a strong woman. I ended up playing Lovie and we got Minka Kelly to play Cara and it turned out beautiful. (The movie) is little bit more powerful than romantic. I really feel like we did a beautiful job on the movie and the settings are gorgeous. You can feel the beach. It's beautifully shot.

On her passion for conservation:

AM: One of the things I love about all of Mary Alice's books is she always pulls in something to do with conservation and nature. That was one of the beautiful things about The Beach House was the nature component and the turtles and the connection of what our story is; the story about these people and nature and how it's just a part of life. I love that. I love protecting wildlife and protecting the areas, the homes where wildlife live. Because if we don't; there won't be any wildlife. For me, that's where I see God, when I walk in nature. I feel connected to the earth. Nature makes me feel very calm. It soothes my soul. I really like that component and being able to pull that into the story. That is another reason I love Lovie because that's who she was. She was extremely earthy; very connected to the earth.

On what she learned from making this movie:

AM:This is still fresh in my mind so I will say that I lost my mom at 23 and Minka (who plays Cara) lost her mother in her 20's as well. So we both had that in common–understanding loss. My mother has always stayed with me in small things. For Cara, I think it's through the turtles and her becoming much more like Lovie in that way. The character of Cara is very tough. She did not want to be in the South. She did not want to be like Southern women. She cut that piece off from herself. And it made her harder. She forgave her mother for the imperfections and started to be able to see her for all her good qualities that she might have been blind to before. And because her mother died, doesn't mean she completely lost her and that's how I like to feel about my mother. So many things even in my everyday life remind me of my mother and that way I get to keep her with me forever. My sisters and I read all the time and we got that trait from our mother. So with every book I read, I think of my mother. This (movie) reminded me of that and brought it to the forefront of my life and made me remember that again. To think about how much my mother is in my life.

We really enjoyed spending time with this beautiful South Carolina native. So grab a bowl of popcorn, get in your comfy pajamas, and watch The Beach House along with us.