I had the fortunate chance to chat with Lori Loughlin recently. Loughlin is best known to audiences as Aunt Becky from “Full House.” She also starred and produced “Summerland” on the WB. She currently stars as Abigail on “When Calls the Heart” on Hallmark and as junior sleuth Jennifer Shannon on “Garage Sale Mysteries” on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Her next “Garage Sale Mystery” – “All That Glitters” – premieres Sunday, October 26, 9/8c.
Tell me more about “Garage Sale Mysteries” and your character in it.
“Garage Sale Mystery” is a series of mystery movies that we’re going to be doing for the Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel. It reminds me of “Murder, She Wrote,” “McMillan & Wife” – those kind of old mystery shows from the late 70s, 80s. I’d say it’s more like “Murder, She Wrote” in the sense that I’m not a detective. Just like Angela Lansbury was a novelist, I’m a mother, a wife, I own an antique store, but I fancy myself somewhat of a sleuth.
Every movie, I end up stumbling upon some kind of a murder and a mystery. I’m very intrigued and I try to help the police solve it. Often they don’t want my help. I’m more of a nuisance, but I just have that mind that can put the pieces of the puzzle together and solve crimes, even though I’m not a detective.
They’re fun. They’re not super scary movies. There’s no blood. It’s not like some of the shows that are now that are little more graphic. You won’t see that, it has a different feel. It feels like a throwback to old television.
How many are slated?
We’re starting our third one. I think we’re going to do another one at some point – it won’t be this year. So it’ll be after January – maybe in the spring, we’ll do another one. I’m not really clear how many Hallmark wants – they said we could do three a year, possibly more. I don’t have a firm answer.
They’re trying to do a Mystery Movie Wheel on Hallmark. I’m a part of that Mystery Movie Wheel, Candace Cameron (Bure) is a part of it, Dylan Neal from “Cedar Cove” … The actual Wheel I think they’ll introduce that in the spring, like sometime in April.
NOTE: The Mystery Movie Wheel is a series of movie franchises now known as the “Original Mystery Movie Series” and will include “Garage Sale Mystery” with Loughlin, “The Gourmet Detective” with Dylan Neal, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” with Eric Mabius, and Candace Cameron Bure in “Aurora Teagarden,” based on Charlaine Harris’ (“True Blood”) popular series.
So will the characters cross over into each other’s movie?
Well, honestly, there’s been no talk yet, but I actually said to one of our producers on our show, “If these movie wheels are successful, and say, Candace’s movie does well and mine does well at some point down the line, after these movies are established, I think it would be a lot of fun for Candace and I, for our two characters, to cross over and do something. Of course, with Dylan, too, but given the “Full House” history for me and for Candace. I just think that would be fun and fun for the audience.
Right, and maybe throw John Stamos into the mix as well?
(She laughs.) If we could get him to do it, who knows?
Going to “When Calls the Heart” — what drew you to the original movie and eventually the series?
I thought it was a good story. I liked that it was about women, centered around women, I liked that it was a period piece. I liked the strength of my character. I liked that she found herself at a point in her life where her husband was no longer – he was deceased – and she had to stand on her own two feet and make her way in the world even though it’s 1910. Typically, women were married and had a man to take care of them.
I thought what was interesting too about it, even though it was a period piece, it felt to me you could tell contemporary storylines as far as “woman being single,” “woman starting her own career,” etc. And I liked all the characters, I liked the producers. I love Hallmark, and I like a lot of the projects they produce and it also felt like a nice family show. Even though it’s geared toward women, I think it’s something the whole family can enjoy. In fact, I had a gentleman come up to me not too long ago, really not the demographic for “When Calls the Heart,” but he walked up to me and he said, “I just want to tell you, I love ‘When Calls the Heart,’ and I bet you’re so surprised to hear that from a man!”
I said, “Yeah, kind of!”
“Oh yeah, I love it and I watch it with my wife all the time.” I like that it has that broad appeal.
I think the Hearties drag their husbands into it and then they find they like it just as much as they do!
See? Proving once again, women know what’s best!
Aside from the costumes, are there any significant differences between shooting a modern day mystery and a period piece drama?
Oh yeah, that’s what I love and am having so much fun. Like the characters are so different and the projects are so different, but I think again that they have wide appeal. I love the whole mystery-detective genre – I love all of that. So for me it’s been really fun to play that role. And then the role on “When Calls the Heart” is really different. It’s not so much solving mysteries, it’s a woman finding her inner strength, persevering in life after tragedy, so very different, different – conceptually the shows are so different.
There are actually a lot of Gowen and Abigail shippers out there. Do you think there’s a chance for love between these two?
Wait, what? What’s out there? I’m not aware of this!
(I briefly explain to Lori that the slang term “ship” means “relationship.”)
Oh! Well, you know, it’s so funny. I love Martin Cummings (who plays Henry Gowen on “When Calls the Heart”). I think he’s phenomenal. I love working with him. I think … I don’t want Abigail to be with anybody right now. I think it’s much more interesting to tell the story of a woman who’s unattached, but I think it would be fun to have these little flirtations … Potentially, who knows? Maybe there could be something with Gowen. I like their relationship now. I like that they’re at odds with each other. Again, there’s definitely room to have flirtation and that and maybe potentially something down the line, who knows?
But I have specifically asked the producers right now to please leave her unattached. I don’t know that they will listen to me, but in my opinion, especially when it comes to a period piece, the minute you hook people up … I don’t know, I feel like there’s more fun in the romance and in the chase than there is in the actual having somebody settle down with somebody. And I think the way the Gowen-Abigail relationship is structured right now where they’re kind of … they have respect for each other, but they sort of are enemies a little bit. I think that’s fun. I think we can have of fun with that.
Do you have any scoop you can give the Hearties on Season 2?
Listen, I have not even read a script yet. I truly couldn’t tell you anything. In fact, I just asked somebody recently because we’re getting ready to shoot in a couple of weeks, and I was like, “Can we read anything?” and I think they’re still working on it and waiting for network approval before they show anything to us.
I know they had originally said they were going to start shooting late September and then it got pushed to October? What have you heard?
I’ve been told we’re going to start shooting in November … Well, actually, they’re trying to start October 27th. I’m finishing up the “Garage Sale Mystery,” so I would roll over and start working November 3rd. That’s what I’ve been told. Unless something goes awry, I think that’s when I start working – in the next few weeks.
Want to Go Back to Simpler Times? Check Out This Show http://t.co/B0NADUQRLm
This article makes me proud!
— Lori Loughlin (@LoriLoughlin) March 28, 2014
(I chat with Lori about a previous article I wrote about “When Calls the Heart” and the show harking back to simpler times to which she had tweeted, “This article makes me proud!”)
Why do you think there’s a lack of this kind of television today? It’s all reality shows and more gore than more of the family scene. Everybody seems to like the content that Hallmark provides. Why do you think there isn’t more of it on television?
You know, it’s a very good question. One I really don’t have an answer for. I scratch my head because I, too, would love to watch TV shows with my teenage daughters and have something in it for everybody – that’s how I grew up watching television. The answer is ‘I really don’t know!’ I really don’t know. I guess it would come down to ratings – I guess time and time again, reality television proves to bring in numbers. I mean, I thought reality television would go away a long time ago, but it seems to be pretty strong and has staying power. Which says there must be an audience for it.
But, to your point, I think that Hallmark has a very strong audience itself, and I think there are people who do want family TV shows or TV shows where maybe there’s a good mystery, but they’re not seeing cadavers and blood and horrific crime scenes. It’s left more to the imagination so when you go to sleep at night after watching a Hallmark show, you’re not having nightmares.
What’s your favorite scene so far from “When Calls the Heart”?
I love my scenes with Erin … There was a scene I did with Erin where she and I are looking out the café window at the new girl that comes to town — that’s Jack’s ex-fiancé (Rosemary) — and we have a cute little banter about her. I love the lightheartedness of all of that. But then I love some of the scenes earlier with Erin’s character where she first comes to live with me, and I’m standing on my own two feet again and trying to make my way in the world and it’s really emotional and she’s there for me. I like all that, too.
It’s hard to pick. It’s been such a nice journey doing “When Calls the Heart” from Episode 1 to Episode 12. It’s been a really, really nice journey. I love both Erin and Daniel. I love working with both of them. Then I love the scenes they do together. I think their chemistry is really so on fire and they’re so adorable together.
I found I like their chemistry over the two actors in the pilot (“Arrow’s” Stephen Amell and “Lost’s” Maggie Grace) movie.
Oh yes, yes. Yes … (pause) I have nothing else to say about that!
You have been on quite a few successful series. Do you have a favorite role and why?
Oh my goodness. Well, I will always love “Full House.” It’s become so iconic. It was such a long-running, successful show with people that I really love. I loved working with John and Bob and Dave and the kids. I think that will always be my Number One favorite job, and then I would say behind that would be a series I created called “Summerland.” Unfortunately, it only went for two seasons. That was an incredible cast, too.
I think had we not gotten caught in some political network crossfire … We started off very strong in the ratings. I believe if the show had been left alone – but it got mucked with – there was a transition from one network president to another and it really got very political. I think the show really had legs and could have been quite successful, but it sort of got caught up in network politics and got killed because of it. I did love that show and all those characters, and I loved my character too. I loved the premise of it.
Are your kids interested in acting? Do you want them to go into the industry?
I want them to do whatever makes them happy. I don’t think they’re really interested in acting. I think because my kids are younger, they’re more caught up in Youtubers and vloggers and Viners and Snapchat and all this sort of social media. They don’t really watch a lot of television. They download movies, but they never really ever say to me, “That’s what I want to do.”
My younger daughter really loves makeup. She’s quite good artistically. I could see her going into something possibly behind the camera – whether it’s in film or still camera for editorial stuff, but she’s very taken with makeup and she’s really quite talented for as young as she is.
My older daughter loves fashion. I could see her doing something in the world of fashion, which is really following more her father’s footsteps. (Loughlin is married to designer Mossimo Giannulli, who has an exclusive line with Target.)
I like to end my interviews with some random questions.
Coffee or tea?
First celebrity crush?
Scott Baio! (She laughs.)
Favorite all-time book or book you’re reading right now?
My favorite all time book – I’m going to sound like such a dork right now – but I love … “Charlotte’s Web” is one of my all time favorite books. I love “Charlotte’s Web.”
I just finished a book called “Brain on Fire.”
Favorite movie or TV show?
Favorite movie ever is “Tootsie,” and my favorite TV show? “Friends.” Hands down, “Friends.”
Cake or pie?
Pie … apple pie!