Plus, she shares her secret on where to get the best snack for a Hallmark movie marathon.

By Rebecca Angel Baer
November 07, 2019
Tyler Hynes, Kellie Pickler, and Patrick Duffy
Credit: Ryan Plummer

Kellie Pickler returns to Hallmark in The Mistletoe Secret, her third film with our favorite TV Network. She has left Graceland and this time, in a brand-new story, the American Idol alum plays Aria Eubank, a Southerner who has made the tiny Utah town of Midway her home. Much like in real life, Midway and its small businesses are struggling and the tourism the holiday season brings is a much-needed boost. Pickler's character is leading the charge to put the spotlight on Midway. "I'm trying to save my small town and bring business and revenue there and tourism and put our little city on the map," Pickler explained in a recent phone call with Southern Living.

Aria Eubank enters Midway into a contest to bring celebrity travel guru Sterling Masters to town to experience Christmas in Midway. The whole town goes all out for their holiday celebrations and Eubank gets help from her friends, neighbors, and her dad, played by the one and only Patrick Duffy.

"Patrick Duffy plays my father, which is amazing! He's one of the most incredible human beings I've ever met in my life. He is so funny. He's so kind. He has this beautiful energy about him, and he just brings this light to set. He's such a bright light," Pickler said.

This wouldn't be a Hallmark movie without a love interest and this one has two possibilities. Will Aria fall for flashy Sterling Masters, or the other writer who comes to town, Alex Barlett, played by Hallmark regular, Tyler Hynes? "He was so wonderful to work with too. He was great. He was a lot of fun," Pickler said of Hynes.

Her first two Hallmark movies were filmed in Memphis at Graceland with the same director and nearly all of the same crew members. This movie had the displaced Southerner up with our neighbors to the north in Vancouver, Canada.

"It was funny because I was the only one on the set that had an accent, a southern accent. It was so funny. I was like, gosh I'm gonna start apologizing for no reason now. Everyone's going ‘woa so sorry,'" she said with a laugh. She then shared how she told the crew that instead of a swear jar, she was going to put out an "oh sorry" jar. "Everybody that's apologizing for no reasons gonna have to put a dollar in the oh sorry jar," she recalled with another chuckle.

The Mistletoe Secret is one of the 40 new films Hallmark is releasing this season as a part of the 10th anniversary of Countdown to Christmas. Each year the non-stop marathon of feel-good, holiday films has gotten bigger, started earlier, and included more and more of our favorite stars. It's become its own pop-culture phenomenon. We know that many fans have Hallmark movie watching parties. We've done it ourselves. So, we asked Pickler what her go-to movie watching snack is.

"I mean honestly, I'm a popcorn girl. And I'm real bad about, even if there's a movie that's out in movie theaters that I want to see, I love to watch movies at home…I will wait until movies come out on demand or I can order them. And the thing I love about the movie theater though, is the popcorn. That's my jam. So, I like to go to the movie theater, get those big tubs of popcorn, and then I come home. ‘Cause the movie theater is not far from my house so I can swing by the theater, grab that big ol' tub of popcorn, come back home and watch whatever I want to… their popcorn is better than that store bought stuff that you put in the microwave." We think this is a genius idea!

WATCH: Hey Y'all Hallmark Movie Marathon

If you want more Kellie Pickler in the Christmas spirit, head to Nashville December 5-7 where she will be performing with the Nashville Symphony, which Pickler admits is bigger than her wildest dreams. "When I got in line for Idol I'd never performed with a band before."

The Mistletoe Secret premieres on Hallmark Channel, Sunday, November 10th. Don't miss it!