The new holiday movie BEAUS OF HOLLY premieres Saturday, December 12, 7/6c pm on ION Television. The Christmas movie is set mostly in the charming small town of Winterland, Colorado. It is here that Holly (Jennifer Freeman) proposes to her boyfriend Phil (Michael Copon), only to have Phil nervously go back to his former girlfriend Tiffany, played by Nikki Leigh. Meanwhile, Holly falls for her carriage driver Jake (Johnny Pacar).
However, once Phil meets up with Tiffany at her parents’ holiday cabin, he discovers he’s a Christmas traditionalist, while Tiffany has a much more laid-back view of the holiday. This may turn out to be a deal breaker.
Leigh, a California native, had previously worked with BEAUS OF HOLLY costar Copon in the 2016 feature FEARLESS. Some of her other credits include OPEN MARRIAGE, SNAKE & MONGOOSE, TWO AND A HALF MEN, THE SAND, SILENCER, and THE BINGE. Additionally, Leigh had a daily show on Sirius XM, and now has her own weekday show on Instagram.
Speaking by phone, Leigh talks about her work as Tiffany in BEAUS OF HOLLY, as well as her other current projects.
ASSIGNMENT X: How did you get involved in BEAUS OF HOLLY?
NIKKI LEIGH: It was through my agency, and then I had a conversation with the director [Anthony C. Ferrante], and it just fell from there. The director and I really vibed, and he liked the tape that I got to send in through my agency.
AX: How do you see your character, Tiffany?
LEIGH: It was interesting, because the way that she was written was a little bit different than what we ended up deciding on. Michael and I really wanted to be creative with our dynamic and the relationship, and Michael and I stayed up really late the night before, and were just trying to create a really amazing and fun dynamic that people would want to see more of, which I think we totally nailed. And we ended up bringing this idea of, we want them to really get along and have this be a hopeful relationship within the movie, and we brought the dynamic, and the funkiness [laughs]. We just had more personality, or a lot more spiciness and pizzazz. You can tell why we kind of get back together.
We brought it to the director, and he was like, “I love it.” We [Leigh and Copon] went shot by shot together [through the script] the night before we were going to meet on set, and worked with the director to really make it fun, and full of life, and a total contrast, I should say, to sum it up, against the other couple [when Phil is with Holly] that Michael and Jennifer play.
AX: You’d worked with Michael Copon before on FEARLESS. How was it working with him again?
LEIGH: Yeah. We did a movie, but this was years and years ago, in San Diego, and we hadn’t really seen each other [since then]. We kept in touch, and he’s a great guy, and I love working with him. It’s always fun to get creative with people you get along with. I didn’t even know he was on it until probably a couple days before I actually got to Colorado, which is where we filmed. So it was quite a surprise.
AX: Tiffany is very firm about not changing what she’s going to do, just because Phil wants her to do it. Was that part of the original conception, or was that what you brought to it?
LEIGH: I feel like that’s more of what I brought to it. She just really knows what she wants. I feel like she’s trying to make this work. It’s a new start, hopefully, to this relationship that we’re trying to rekindle and make work again, even though it says [in the dialogue that Tiffany] was the one that broke it off with him in the beginning. So, she’s a very stern person that knows what she wants, which is really refreshing. He was the one that was unsure. You can tell that they really have great chemistry, and you can tell that she loves him in her life, but she’s also strong enough to say when something obviously isn’t working.
AX: How is Tiffany’s relationship with her parents? They spend the entire film cheerfully sitting on the couch, looking at their tablets.
LEIGH: [laughs] I feel like, honestly, there’s probably such a relation to so many families across the United States, and probably the world, with this family. Because I swear, there are even moments in my household, or if I’m visiting other people, where I see literally everyone on their phones. Or if I go to a restaurant, everyone’s on their phones, and I’m like, what the heck are they doing? They’re out to dinner, with what looks like a family, and there’s no communication, and no interaction. It’s that whole two people are on the phone – you go, “Are you guys talking to each other?” I feel like there’s a lot of disconnect due to our devices nowadays, which kind of shares that understanding with the relationship. They were really fun, however, to be on set with.
AX: What is your own attitude towards Christmas in real life?
LEIGH: Oh, I love Christmas. Christmas is wonderful. I think it’s a magical time of year, and a time to look forward to throughout the year. Christmas just brings out such a uniqueness in people, and brings out people’s joyous side. It’s really hard to be upset on Christmas, to be that Scrooge, and that’s what I so appreciate, because especially during times right now, it’s like, “Oh, can Christmas come already?” Because I feel like the mood lightens up, and people are very hopeful. I really love looking forward to seeing my family. Christmas excitement starts at Thanksgiving for me, and Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because I love food [laughs]. It really starts this end of the year excitement. So, Christmas is really something that I look forward to all year. And I listen to Christmas music all year long [laughs].
The past couple of years, and it would be the same this year if it wasn’t for COVID, I’ve been spending Christmas in Italy and Paris. This year has been quite different. Even in Paris and Italy, we would set up a little tree, and decorate with lights all around in the places that we would stay, so we definitely try and keep it festive. I got that from my mom. My mom is very militant about the next day after Thanksgiving. Even the night of Thanksgiving, after everyone’s eaten, and everyone’s already on the couch, napping, basically, she breaks out the Christmas gear. It’s hilarious, and she goes to town decorating the house so beautifully, and she really has it down to a science. She knows where everything goes, and it looks absolutely beautiful. She’s gotten really creative, and loves her trips to Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s, just to create more [laughs].
AX: Coming from that perspective, do you see Tiffany’s attitude towards Christmas as bewildering, sad, or relaxing-looking?
LEIGH: Well, she clearly doesn’t put a lot of pressure on herself for the holidays [laughs], so, in a way, it could be relaxing. I can see that angle. But yes, she did the minimal amount. To give her credit, she has the aesthetics down. It’s like a lot of people celebrate Christmas, and they dream of a white Christmas, and they dream of a cabin, and things like that, and being by a fireplace. People dream about that. So being that she was in the aesthetic of Christmas, I was like, “I can take credit for that, at least. You actually went to the most Christmas-y place that you could.” So, there was effort there. You have to give her credit.
AX: How was working with director Anthony C. Ferrante?
LEIGH: Oh, Anthony Ferrante was wonderful. I really enjoyed being able to bring ideas to him, and him being open-minded enough to really hear me out, and even be a team player. Because each department, they can be either side of the coin. It’s really refreshing when you have a director that really wants to listen and create with the actors. So, it was lovely. He did have a vision, which was great. We found each other on the same page a lot. Obviously, we wanted to keep the storyline, but we really wanted to bring a lot of color to the film, and with my ideas, and him being open-minded, and him being able to meet me on the same page, we really were able to create an even more dynamic relationship between Michael and I, and in contrast to Michael and Jennifer’s relationship and characters.
AX: Do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?
LEIGH: There’s a movie that was supposed to come out this summer. It’s called HOT WATER, and it was put on the back burner, but I think for a better reason, because I feel like there’s going to be a lot of needed content next year, and it might cause even more of a stir coming out next year. So that is something we have. But I’m always on social [media], I’m always creating.
I make a calendar every year, so for the past six years, I have been doing a calendar. And so, I was able to produce and get that all shot and created, and now I have those up on my website, MissNikkiLeigh.com. So that was really nice, to be able to get creative in another field. This year, I was asking everybody what kind of theme they might want. “Theme” is something that kind of goes on and off on the calendar. And everyone started to give me all these great themes, and I love car wash themes. So, it’s a car wash-themed calendar.
I also did some research on positive motivating quotes. So, each month has a quote. We have one from Abe Lincoln, we have one from Mother Teresa, we have one from Aristotle, so we have a lot of beautiful, positive messages in there. Because this year has been a really tough year for most, and it’s something that we’ve needed a lot of refresher on, how much love there really is in the world, that positivity really needs to be more in our diet.
And so, in early March, when we were shutting down, I started an Instagram Live called POSITIVITY TIME, where there’s about an hour every Monday through Friday, and it starts with gratitude, and random acts of kindness, and then goes into a positive reading that usually centers around how the individual can be stronger within themselves, and find more worth within themselves, and understand that they deserve better. We talk to all of our friends and say, “It’s going to be okay,” and we always give them advice. You always give them better advice than you give yourself, and you always give them more credit than you give yourself. And so, it’s really centers around being able to find the strength within, and then we go into a discussion to finish out the hour. And it’s usually pretty powerful. So, that’s where I was like, “I have to have some positive quotes to make the calendar,” because it’s been a theme throughout this year within my following.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about BEAUS OF HOLLY?
LEIGH: Oh. I just want them to know that there’s a great new Christmas movie out, that should bring a lot of laughter and love and joy in the holidays. I haven’t seen it yet – I can just go off of what the script is, and what I shot, and the people that I worked with, and the people were amazing. I just think it’s really awesome to find new and great Christmas movies out, and I’m so excited to be able to have one in 2020. So, I feel like we all can use a little Christmas cheer, so I hope everyone enjoys BEAUS OF HOLLY.
BEAUS OF HOLLY airs on December 12, 2020 at 7/6c PM on ION TELEVISION.
Related: OFFICIAL BEAUS OF HOLLY TRAILER
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with BEAUS OF HOLLY star Nikki Leigh on her new ION Television Holiday movie