John Kiesewetter reports:
How can you make a TV movie in three weeks?
By working very long days.
“To shoot a movie in 15 days, that’s just off the charts,” said Nicollette Sheridan during a break late Thursday from “The Christmas Spirit.” It premieres in six weeks, at 8 p.m. Dec. 1, on the Hallmark Channel.
“We’re shooting nine pages (of script) a day. That is record time. It really puts pressure on everyone, including the editing and laying in the music,” said Sheridan while relaxing in her trailer with Oliver, her golden retriever also in the film.
- Photos: Christmas comes early to Lebanon
The three-week shoot ended late Friday – or early Saturday – inside a Mechanic Street home. Most of the movie about the journalist’s ghost (Sheridan) trying to stop a developer (Bart Johnson, “High School Musical”) from ruining her picturesque hometown was filmed in or near the Warren County seat.
“We’ve been so welcomed by everybody here, especially on the side street with the houses where we’ve been shooting until 3 in the morning,” she said.
Why wait until two months before December? “The Christmas Spirit” has “happened quite quickly” since she pitched the concept last December to the Hallmark Channel, said the former “Desperate Housewives” and “Knots Landing” star.
Sheridan, also an executive producer, hooked up in January with the Motion Picture Corporation of America (“Dumb and Dumber,” “Christmas at Castlebury Hall,” “Beverly Hills Ninja”) and director Jack Angelo, who wrote the script. They didn’t start searching for locations until August.
“The Christmas Spirit” landed in Lebanon, thanks to photos and a tour by Kristen Erwin Scholtman, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission executive director.
“When I saw the pictures (from various locations), this one was my favorite,” she said. “After Jack arrived here, he told me he found everything he needed in this wonderful town of Lebanon. It really is as I imagined it would be.”
The local crew, cast and extras were “wonderful,” she said. “The shop owners actually put up their own Christmas decorations for us. Everything just fell in place. There is something magical in the air here.”
Scholtman also provided the star with weekend diversions from her exhausting movie schedule. She attended the Bengals-Patriots game, rode motorcycles around Indian Hill and toured the haunted Dent Schoolhouse.
Sheridan, who stayed at a Downtown hotel, jogged with Oliver in the mornings or “late at night, and we felt safe anywhere we went.” She also enjoyed eating at Boca, Sotto and the Golden Lamb.
The national TV audience for “The Christmas Spirit” will see many Mulberry Street and Broadway businesses, Berry Intermediate School, the old Warren County Courthouse and several homes – as the New England town of Laurel Springs.
“You should see the outside of the Golden Lamb,” said said, “but I believe they changed the name.”