Zap2it: Sunday’s (Dec. 6) Lifetime movie “Last Chance for Christmas” maintains your tradition of doing holiday movies that have realism while also being somewhat fantastical. Do you look for that combination when you read seasonal scripts?
Hilarie Burton: I’ve been very lucky in that the ones I’ve gotten to do have all had a spark of something that really interests me. The very first one I did, “Naughty or Nice,” I did on a dare from the Rudds [actor friend Paul Rudd and his wife]. We were all out at dinner and I got the offer, and they were like, “Dude, you have to do it!” and I was like, “Yeah, all right, whatever.” And then, I loved it!
I’d always done jobs where I played such sad people with so much gloom and doom and drama, and here was this Christmas movie, and my kid got to see Santa and I got to wear an elf costume … and it was funny, and the people I worked with were awesome. Then, the next one took place in Louisiana, which is a place I love — and I got to work with Tyler Hilton, who’s one of my best friends. And with this one, Jeff [Burton’s significant other, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan] and I are obsessed with Alaska, and I asked him, “Should I go play an Alaskan reindeer farmer?” He said, “One-hundred percent.”
Zap2it: Had you ever dealt with live reindeer before making this new movie?
Hilarie Burton: No, and they’re so neat! Here’s my favorite thing about reindeer: They’re constantly clicking. Apparently, the tendons in their joints click, so in a whiteout, they can hear each other and find one another. The whole time I was working with them, there was this snapping sound, and it was just the strangest thing.
Zap2it: How has it been around your household since the news broke that Jeffrey will be joining “The Walking Dead” as villain Negan?
Hilarie Burton: Our son knows that his dad is a bad man [on screen]! We all think it’s real cool.