Say what you will about the Twilight series with its pretty faces and never-ending drama — Peter Facinelli won’t knock it. It’s given him the gift of opportunity. This month, the first of several screenplays penned by the 37-year-old actor premieres on Hallmark Channel. Featuring his wife, Jennie Garth, in the lead, Accidentally in Love (premiering Feb. 12) tells the story of two quite opposite people — one an aspiring actor and bachelor (Ethan Erickson) whose gig as a bunny in a children’s show isn’t quite the steppingstone he’d like it to be; the other a struggling single mom with an adorable daughter who’s going blind — who are repeatedly forced together by ugly circumstance and who start to find in each other an unexpected potential for happiness.
“Originally, I thought of doing this with my wife, you know,” Facinelli laughs. “And I think she was worried, because sometimes when you do movies as a couple, people don’t buy into the characters as much because they see the real-life couple, and it gets distracting. She was a little worried about that and she says, ‘You know, I don’t think you’re right for it.’ I just laughed and I said, ‘How can I not be right for it? I wrote it for myself!'”
Laughs are an integral part of the plot of Accidentally in Love. (With Fred Willard costarring, they’d better be.) According to Facinelli, they were the impetus for the entire project from the start. “I wrote it about seven or eight years ago,” he recalls. “I dressed up as the Easter Bunny one year. I was hopping around the yard — my kids were younger then — my oldest was looking out of the window, and I was hiding eggs, and at the time she was into Barney. I was so hot and sweaty, and I thought, ‘This really sucks.’ I started thinking what it would be like to be the guy in the Barney suit, and if you had to do that every day. And what if you hated kids? So I had this idea and I kind of started writing it.”
As the film was poised for premiere, Facinelli was in the middle of shooting the two final sequels in the Twilight saga, and we had to ask how that phenomenon has changed his life. “You know, I’ve lived in such a bubble lately, where I’ve been working so much that I haven’t really been outside the bubble to see what kind of effects it’s actually had. But I feel fortunate to be able to continue to be able to work on things that I love, and if anything, maybe Twilight‘s given me the opportunity to have some of these projects that I’ve written made, now, and I’m excited to start the journey where I’ve become not just an actor but a filmmaker.”