ASHEVILLE – Christmas is coming twice to Asheville this winter season.
Hallmark Channel has announced that one of its new original movies, “Countdown to Christmas,” will begin filming at the historic Biltmore Estate in January.
“A Biltmore Christmas” will be played by Bethany Joy Lenz (“Good Sam”, “An Unexpected Christmas”) and Kristoffer Polaha (“Wish you a Married Christmas”, “Jurassic World: Dominion”).
The film is scheduled to premiere as part of Hallmark Channel’s 2023 “Countdown to Christmas” program.
Since 1895, classic holiday traditions of George W. Vanderbilt and his family, such as raising a 35-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree in the banquet hall, continue to draw guests to the family home each year.
While other productions have filmed at the property, the Hallmark production will be the first time a National Historic Landmark will serve as a setting like the Biltmore Estate.
More:Christmas at the Biltmore 2022 begins with the erection of the 35-foot Fraser fir
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“Every year, we look for ways to create exciting, new holiday viewing experiences for our audiences,” Samantha DiPippo, senior vice president of development, programming at Hallmark Media, said in a press release. “We know fans will love being transported back in time, and the iconic, beautiful Biltmore Estate is the perfect setting to help fans get into the holiday spirit.”
The film begins when screenwriter Lucy Collins (Lenz) gets a job writing the script for the remake of “His Merry Bride!”, the beloved Christmas classic first filmed at the Biltmore House in 1947. Lucy travels to the estate and joins to the guide. tour of the historic house. She is drawn to a fascinating hourglass, which she accidentally knocks over, and is then transported back in time to 1946 – the golden age of Hollywood – and filming with the cast and crew of “His Merry Bride!” at the Biltmore.
As Lucy tries to blend in and navigate an unfamiliar place and time, she catches the eye of the film’s lead actor, Jack Huston (Polaha). Lucy rejects his advances, but the duo share a connection that cannot be denied.
The chain of events that occur after Lucy’s sudden appearance also cannot be ignored and threatens the production. Lucy must put things right before she can return to the present, or risk changing the future forever.
Lucy gets one chance to go home, even though it means saying goodbye to her potential soulmate. Or will the magic of Christmas prevent the curtain from being drawn on their love story?
“A Biltmore Christmas” will be directed by John Putch from a screenplay by Marcy Holland. Dustin Rikert is the executive producer and Andrew Gernhard is the producer.
The film is to be contained within the more than 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, which included gardens designed by the “father of American landscape architecture,” Frederick Law Olmsted. Biltmore House is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau designed by Richard Morris Hunt.
Learn more about Biltmore at biltmore.com.
For more on Hallmark Channel, visit hallmarkchannel.com.
Tiana Kennell is a food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this type of journalism and subscription to the Citizen Times.