Benjamin Hollingsworth Talks New Hallmark Movie, 'Virgin River', and His Unique Tie to the South

Turns out the origins of his film career can be traced back down to our neck of the woods.

Benjamin Hollingsworth
Photo: JB Lacroix / Contributor/Getty

Alert all Virgin River fans who are #TeamBrady! If you've already binged all of season four and are already hankering for your next Brady fix in season five, we have some good news for you. To hold you over, Benjamin Hollingsworth is starring opposite Grey's Anatomy's Jaicy Elliot in a brand new Hallmark movie, Romance in Style.

Elliot plays an aspiring clothing designer who is passionate about making fashion accessible for women of all shapes and sizes. While she takes on extra work as a freelance seamstress for a high-profile fashion magazine, she meets dashingly handsome Derek who is stepping in to take the reins of the magazine from his father. Ella and the "Prince of Publishing" quickly form an alliance to shake things up at The Look. Together, they help the well-established brand expand their definition of fashion and for the first time, make women of all sizes feel welcome. And of course, the sparks fly between them. This is a rom-com, after all.

Bringing body-positivity to this fictional world is something that Hollingsworth and the whole cast sees as an important mission. What this film really does is create the dialogue to help make this happen in the real world. Hollingsworth recently spoke with Southern Living and told us all about how the cast approached it.

"All of us really were behind the messaging of the movie which is body positivity and body inclusivity in the fashion industry and representation," he said. "So for us, there is a bit of a moral obligation to make this a good film so that anyone out there that was struggling with some of those issues would feel not just heard or seen. But maybe they will feel a bit better about themselves or be encouraged to look at the mirror and see their true beauty instead of what society has told them to believe."

Hollingsworth also talked about the transformation his character Derek makes throughout the story with the help of Ella. "When he first meets Ella, what he sees in her is not just her outward positivity but also her determination and what is missing in the fashion industry which is representation of what is the 'every woman.' And we learn in the film that the most common size for an American woman is size 16 and yet we only see size 0, 2, and 4 in magazines so she's fighting for this representation to make its way into the fashion world and into this particular fashion magazine." He goes on to explain how Derek feels that Ella's plan is not only the morally correct way to go, but that there is also good business sense in the bold choice to include plus size women in the magazine. But he clearly learns more about life itself in the way Ella steps outside the box.

"I think Derrick's inspired by that to kind of do the same. To step out from his father's shadow and do something that is different and support something that isn't just your typical business moves. So a lot of his choices in the movie are influenced actually through hers." Romance in Style premieres on Hallmark Channel on August 13.

But of course we couldn't talk to the man who plays Brady without trying to get some secrets out of him about Virgin River season five. "The fan response since the first season has been overwhelming, the success we've had which has just been crazy. So, very thankful for that. But we're back at it. We're shooting season 5 right now. And I can't tell you too much about season five just yet but I will tell you that it will be the best season yet. We do have a new show runner. There's gonna be a lot more Brady in season five. Things get really hot but not in the typical way that you would imagine with Brady. And yeah, it's gonna be a great season."

While Hollingsworth is Canadian, we found out that his cinematic roots can be traced back to our neck of the woods! "My first film that I shot in the United States was just north of Atlanta, Georgia, in a town called Alpharetta Georgia. It was this movie called The Joneses. David Duchovny played my father, Demi Moore played my mom, and Amber Heard played my sister," he said.

It was 2009 and Hollingsworth was in his early twenties at the time. He took full advantage of filming in Georgia as a chance to really experience the South. "On my weekend, they gave me this rental car and I would just go out on random road trips around Georgia. And I even went as far as Savannah. I really remember that time because I just got in the car and drove. Honestly I didn't know where I was going, I just went in one direction. Savannah was unique just because of the history. I love places with history and Savannah just felt like dripping with history and culture…I took my camera. I loved taking pictures."

Benjamin Hollingsworth in Savannah
Benjamin Hollingsworth

"I'll always remember that feeling of just being somewhere brand new, by yourself with no agenda, no places to go or people to see. It was really freeing and I got to meet a lot of really cool people in Savannah," he said.

He also had a true Southern right of passage moment during his time in the Atlanta area. He attended his first ever football game. "Demi took me because I told her I'd never seen a football game before and she said oh you have to see one live… She picked me up and we go and we drive underground and we get out and the owner of the Atlanta Falcons greets us and walks us through this tunnel and like directly out onto the field. So my first football game I watched on the sidelines with the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Demi Moore," Hollingsworth said with a chuckle.

Benjamin Hollingsworth and Demi Moore
Benjamin Hollingsworth

"Atlanta provided me with a lot of pinch myself moments of like I can't believe this is happening. Fun in the south."

Well Benjamin, we'd welcome you back down this way anytime.

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