The holidays are all about bringing families together, and Hallmark Channel’s A Merry Scottish Christmas is doing that in a big way by reuniting former Party of Five siblings Scott Wolf and Lacey Chabert for their first on-screen project in 23 years.
Premiering this Saturday at 8/7c, the movie follows estranged brother and sister, Brad (Wolf) and Lindsay (Chabert), as they venture to Scotland, where their mother drops a big bombshell on them. Along the way, the duo work to find their way back to each other as siblings, while navigating familial secrets and dropping delightful Party of Five references (which you can catch in the above sneak peek).
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All of that makes for a Hallmark Christmas flick that’s a little outside the box and features a “really complex,” non-romantic relationship, Chabert and Wolf preview below.
TVLINE | How did A Merry Scottish Christmas and this reunion come together?
LACEY CHABERT | Scott and I have been wanting to work together since Party of Five ended 23 years ago, and he worked for Hallmark a few years ago on a wonderful movie [A Christmas Love Story], and a lot of people started asking, “Are you guys going to work together?” We were just trying to find the right story, and Hallmark helped us with this idea, and we were a part of the development, and it just seemed right, and I love it. It’s a Christmas movie that’s really a brother and sister story. There are love stories and romantic stories in the movie that are very important and wonderful, but it’s really about these siblings who have kind of lost their way with each other finding their way back to one another.
TVLINE | What was it like working together again at this point in your lives, after so much time, playing completely new characters?
CHABERT | There was a time or two where I almost called him Bae, Bailey. But it was really surreal in the most wonderful way. It was a true gift.
SCOTT WOLF | It was just an absolute dream. I have loved Lacey since I met her. I don’t want to say aloud how many years ago it was. She’s just as kind, talented, committed and generous as anyone walking the planet… She’s just forever family. I feel like she’s my sister. She is my sister, and so it felt incredibly comfortable because of how close we are. But also, the new dynamics of just seeing her as the real leader and the heart and soul of these productions, and so I’m really proud of what she’s done. It was just such an amazing experience, and to step back into it after all this time, we didn’t have to talk about a thing. We didn’t have to, like, figure out a dynamic. We just dropped into it, and it felt natural, even though it’s a complicated relationship at the beginning, which is something we were really invested in, and proud of the fact that Hallmark really embraced what felt like a really complex story that was a little outside the box, because the central characters are siblings and not romantic love interests, which we knew from day one was never going to be.
TVLINE | You would not believe how many people were tweeting at me after the casting announcement, like, “Please don’t tell me they’re playing love interests.”
CHABERT | I know, but we didn’t realize until we started to publicize it just how much the feedback would be about making sure that we were not playing love interests, which we are not, and that was never an interest to us. We are brother and sister for life, but Scott is just the best person. He’s forever family to me, and I’m so thankful that we had this chance to bring this story to life.
WOLF | I don’t know if we could’ve ever known the horror that would strike the core audience of Party of Five. Like, somebody even here [at the Hallmark Christmas party] was like, “You should’ve put it in the title, like Brother or Sister,” but we couldn’t do that. But the reaction has been humorous and the relief amongst the Party of Five nation has been felt deeply.
TVLINE | How would you say this sibling dynamic compares to the one you had on Party of Five?
CHABERT | When we find Lindsay and Brad at the beginning of the story, they’re kind of at odds with each other. They feel a little distant from one another, and the story really is about the arc of them remembering how much they really do mean to one another, but they really have to make time for each other, and remembering the magic of Christmas through their childhood is something that brings them closer.
WOLF | The big difference is that these characters have drifted apart for one reason or another. And so, the story has this wonderful complex dynamic when we meet the two characters. Lacey and I were really pretty clear that we loved the idea of people tuning in and not just immediately getting what they wanted, which was, “Yay! They’re back together, and they love each other, and we’re all happy!” It was like, “Oh no, it’s a complicated relationship now, and we had to kind of earn our way back to each other,” and the audience kind of has to take that journey with us. So that all feels really satisfying. But ultimately, we have this connection. That what’s great about it is even in the scenes where there’s some distance and they’re kind of pushing each other a little away, you can’t help but feel the love between them, because we have that [in real life]. That’s what we knew and hoped we could bring to this story all these years later, and hopefully, the audience will enjoy seeing it all play out.
TVLINE | It’s so delightful to see all the Party of Five references in the movie. Were those all in the script or did you put them in as you were shooting?
WOLF | No, those were put in the script. We talked about it during the development that it would be great fun to have Easter eggs throughout it. And we worked out a balance so it didn’t get sort of over the top or obnoxious. I think some are a little overt. Some, you got to really be paying attention and have to have been a real fan of Party of Five. But obviously, reuniting after all these years was like the most meaningful thing ever, and so it felt like fans of the show deserved to have little Easter eggs here and there.
TVLINE | Which one would you say would be for hardcore fans?
WOLF | The biggest one would probably be at the end, which was a dialogue moment. And I can’t give it away… You would really have to be paying attention, but other ones with like, obviously, the name of the pub and some of the servers.
TVLINE | And your wife’s name.
WOLF | Yes, that’s right. Very early on in the movie, there’s a couple of people who have nametags on, so if you pay attention to that…
TVLINE | Are you going to do any more movies together?
WOLF | If it’s up to me, we’re going to do 100. We were talking about, who knows, maybe finding a different holiday, but it will always be brother and sister.
TVLINE | Lacey, you have another Hallmark Christmas movie this year, Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up, that also has a Party of Five reunion. Was that just pure coincidence or did you plan that?
CHABERT | No, when I read the script, I thought Jennifer [Aspen, who played Daphne on Party of Five] was the absolute perfect person for that role, and I was thrilled that it worked out. Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up is such a beautiful reunion of the cast, the funniest people around. Being around them is just super joyful, and it was an absolute treat that we all got to be together again.
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