Andrew Walker leads a charmed life. He and his wife have two beautiful children and spend time working in the yard and taking their boys to the beach.
But Andrew is also a super busy actor, and he’s learned to maximize his time in quarantine while shuttling back and forth to Canada to take roles in our favorite Hallmark rom-coms.
That means that he’s fully connected with his character, Jack, in The 27-Hour Day, where he costars with Autumn Reeser as an owner of a wellness retreat helping folks unplug, unwind, and relax.
We had the chance to chat with Andrew, and he shared a lot with us about supporting his leading ladies and making the most of his personal time, among other things.
Given how well he’s learned to manage his time (he’s an on-the-fly guy at heart) and the pleasure he gets being with his family and tooling around the house, he really doesn’t need to go on a retreat to unwind.
Andrew said, “No, I mean, if anything, I would love to own a retreat, and it’d be great, as my character did. I love being around people. I’m definitely a people person, but I love working in teams.”
For example, Andrew and his wife have started a small business together, and they’ve hired well and put their faith into the people they brought on board.
“We’ve hired people that are smarter than us at their jobs just to learn from them and to be around them and to be around the community of people working with and to hear people’s stories of customers we work with.”
In fact, he thinks that going the retreat route might be something they would take on down the road, so I asked him how he might do things differently than Jack.
“I’m not saying that I’m not as much of the animal person as Jack is, but Jack has a whole collection of animals that he tends to and he takes in,” Andrew laughed.
In The 27-Hour Day, there’s a little pig that gets a lot of attention after Jack accepts the responsibility to foster the little guy back to health. It’s something that Jack is as passionate about as his retreat.
Andrew, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t go that route, but not because he doesn’t love animals. Just the opposite. “It’s tough to foster an animal for a few weeks or a couple of months and be able to bond with them and then have to say goodbye.”
What Andrew would do if he were so inclined to take ownership of a retreat is to do more of the manual labor. “More landscaping, more maintaining the grounds and also … guest services and stuff. I would like to be around guests.”
Andrew has other things in common with his character, too. “What I do love is that Jack, which is parallel to Andrew, is he takes these guests for hiking trips and camping trips, and they’re staying at the retreat.
“And that’s something I grew up doing with my father. My dad’s a big outdoorsman, and he used to take me whitewater canoeing for a few days on end in Northern Canada when I was younger. And we would do this two trips a year, at least.
“My dad was an elementary school principal, so he would take the kids at his school for four big trips every year, either ski trips, or canoe trips, or hiking. It’s very much a part of who I am today, and I love going hiking. And when my kids are a little older, I’ll definitely take them on canoe trips and camping trips, as much as I possibly can.”
And Andrew is just thrilled to be working with Autumn, something they’ve been trying to do for a while now, as a mutual friend wrote a script with them in mind.
“We met throughout the year, throughout the pandemic, basically, at outside coffee shops and discussed with the director and our writer friend, trying to piece together financing for this movie that we were going to hopefully shoot.
“We’re still working on it, so work-in-progress. But Autumn and I got the chance to work on this one first. So it was nice to already understand the type of person she is and already have the ice broken and have that rapport with her.”
It always amazes me that these faces we know so well through our love of Hallmark movies haven’t yet worked together. But Andrew has had repeat leading ladies.
“I’ve been married to Nikki DeLoach now twice, and I’ve worked with Bethany Joy Lenz a couple of times, one in a Lifetime movie in another one in a Hallmark movie. But the Hallmark family? It’s really great.”
He continued, “It’s really exciting from my standpoint, as an actor and as the male lead in these movies to build that chemistry and find that journey with these actresses that I kind of feel like I already because I’ve seen them.
“It’s like one big family. I see them at parties. I’ve seen them on TV. I’ve watched enough of these movies with these girls I’m working with.”
Sometimes, though, the casting experiments don’t work out, and the chemistry is off. “But usually, I feel like Hallmark just has had such a great group of actors that they’ve chosen to work for the network, that it’s always pretty much a 10 on 10, in building the relationship, on-camera relationship and off.”
Andrew believes successful on-screen chemistry is the result of all the prep work that costars do in advance of shooting. “We all just want to turn out the best, highest quality project we possibly can,” he said.
“Actually, quarantine has been great for this, where I get two weeks of Zoom calls with the people I’m working with and time alone to focus on the material. And so, it’s really just a testament to the work that we’re trying to put in, to make the story the best it can possibly be. And every girl that I’ve worked with is up for putting time into doing that with me. So it’s great.”
But what is that prep work that makes falling in love on-screen so believable? Andrew says it’s an ever-changing process and different with each new costar.
“There’s a formula now to how I like to go into it, where I like to meet the person face-to-face a few days before we start shooting, or as early as we possibly can. Then we go for a bite to eat, just something super casual, to talk about who they are and where they’re from, and their life stories, siblings, whatever.
“So just get to know them on more of a personal basis. And then do one more script-read with that person and work on our actual scenes and try to extrapolate some of the jokes or the comedy of the story and try to work on some of that.”
Between the interpersonal development and the technical work on the script, Andrew is usually able to find something unique with his acting partner to make their on-screen relationship seem realistic. Even his wife understands the process after 18 years of marriage.
“She knows that all these girls, they’re super attractive women who are talented actresses. They’ve obviously done a lot. So when you get there, it’s not that difficult to find some sort of chemistry or attraction to them on set.”
The next stage is for Andrew to give the women his support to make their experience of falling in love on-screen as comfortable as possible.
“It’s one thing for a guy to feel comfortable in a scene or throughout the journey of falling in love on-camera. But it’s another thing for the female leads to feel comfortable in what I’m doing to support them. So I think it’s about support, communication and not taking yourself too seriously at all.”
Working with a seasoned Hallmark actress and someone new to the genre finds Andrew working with his costars differently, especially after he’s done so many of these films and understands his creative freedom in the process.
“So, now I think that it’s just about supporting and really making them feel comfortable. Where an actress that’s done a bunch of these, she already knows, like a Danica or Lacey or Autumn. Being on set with those actresses, they’re already comfortable. They already know what they’re doing. So I don’t have to try to make them feel comfortable.
“It’s more just by nature, that’s what they feel. So I think differently if I were to work with an actress now that has never done one of these before, it would just be about, ‘Hey, we can have our creative input that we’re allowed to have, this not so much, but just like, just do what you normally do. And let’s just have fun, and let’s have a great time.’
“And I think that we should work on the material as much as possible before we hit the set.”
Andrew is pleased with how Hallmark has evolved, too. While they used to get the call for a new movie a handful of days before they were needed on set, now they’ve got a few weeks to prepare.
With that in mind, Andrew thinks it would be very exciting to work with someone new. “I would love to, every once in a while, shake it up and work with somebody brand new. But I do also enjoy working with the actresses that have obviously been tried, tested.”
According to Andrew, viewers are in for a treat when they tune into The 27-Hour Day. “Well, first off, The 27-Hour Day is an amazing story. It’s a kind of a unique story that is familiar to people, but it’s unique in that … it’s very current.”
When Lauren’s mentor questions how much time she’s saved with her life-hacks, the social media sensation is stumped before realizing that with her freed time, she’s jammed even more into her life without focusing on her well-being.
“I think it’s so timely because mental health is a big deal, especially after the pandemic. People are really struggling to find happiness in their life.
“And I think The 27-Hour Day will really remind people to go back to making sure that they’re their priority, that you are your priority. Before you can worry about anybody else or your career, [remember that] your happiness comes first, and you need time to reflect.”
Andrew got that time with his multiple 14-day quarantines, and he was reminded of the importance of me-time.
There was one life hack that he learned from the movie regarding a light bulb, but I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own by watching. One of Andrew’s own life hacks, though, is workout-related.
“When I’m traveling, or when I’m shooting a movie or whatnot, I like to be in and out of the gym as quickly as possible. So I have a couple hacks, where, for example, I go on the treadmill, and I take two 15-pound dumbbells.
“And I put the treadmill on a 15 incline. And I basically just walk for 30 minutes, and I do different exercises with the weights when I’m going uphill. And it’s cardiovascular. It’s incredible for cardiovascular work. And it’s also great for muscle tone, because you have those 15-pound weights.
“I’ll put them down every once in a while, but it gets your heart rate going so fast, so quickly. And it’s low impact, because you’re walking uphill, and you’re not running,” he shared.
He’s also a fan of drinking two glasses of water as soon as he wakes up and adds cider vinegar to his water, too.
Andrew laughed, realizing that I’d put him on the spot for life hacks, but he was a good sport.
To discover what he learned about changing light bulbs, you’ll need to watch The 27-Hour Day, where you’ll also find out how much his friendship with Autumn worked to their advantage, bringing an on-screen romance to life.
The 27-Hour Day premieres on Hallmark on Saturday, August 7 at 9/8c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.