On January 1, Hallmark Channel gives its sweet and signature kind of love to the New Year. For the first time in network history, they present a film that takes a peek inside the Tournament of Roses and The Rose Parade (You can find more info about the unique twist to the 2017 Rose Parade here, and you can — as always — catch the floral float fun on Hallmark Channel). In A Rose for Christmas, Rachel Boston stars as a young woman in charge of building a float for the Rose Parade. She clashes with the executive (Marc Bendavid) whose company is sponsoring the float, but with a lot at stake for both of them, and only a ragtag team of volunteers, they’ll have to learn to play nice if they have any chance of making the New Year’s deadline. We chatted with Boston about the charming New Year’s film and she shared insight into the film and what goes into building the world’s most gorgeous floats.
Channel Guide Magazine: Hi Rachel, how are you?
Rachel Boston: I’m so good, how are you?
CGM: Wonderful! Thanks so much for taking time to speak with us.
RB: Of course, this film was really fun! When I read the script, I didn’t know anything about the behind-the-scenes happenings of at The Rose Parade. To get to go through this entire experience that leads to the New Year and the parade, was really fun.
CGM: What did you learn about the behind-the-scenes world of The Rose Parade?
RB: Most of it was, honestly, the film’s phenomenal art department. We would film during the day, and they would stay all night and prepare the float for the next day. We shot the film in order, once we got to the building of the float. In the open of the film, where I meet the guy that I end up working with on this float, I’m welding! To learn about the building of even the base of the float and the artistry that goes into that, was really interesting.
CGM: In A Rose for Christmas, you play Andy Lindry. Tell us about her.
RB: I play a woman who’s from a family of float builders. My father, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather even, built floats for The Rose Parade. This year, my father gets sick so he’s not able to bring everything together and get a whole team organized so he can build the float, so he puts me in charge. It’s my first time doing it. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’ve watched him do it for years, so I’m just flying by the best I can.
I am put together with a man who is in charge of the float’s finances, and we do not get along. He is not creative, and we don’t see eye to eye. Throughout the process of The Rose Parade and just spending so much time together, we discover a little spark. We start to understand that we can really help each other.
CGM: Tell us about working with Marc Bendavid.
RB: He’s really funny. We were doing a scene outside — we were shooting New Year’s Eve — which was really fun. It was this big party out on what’s going to be, looks like the Pasadena lawn. We were getting this big New Year’s speech, and he started going off with stand-up comedy, and I started laughing so hard I started crying. Nobody who was watching the monitors knew what was going on!
It was also a really fun experience to understand the craft that goes into The Rose Parade. I’m amazed by just how much work and how many hands are involved in creating something so beautiful.
CGM: One thing that charming about the film is Andy’s family’s long-standing involvement in The Rose Parade. The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl are filled with wonderful traditions and A Rose for Christmas pays homage to that.
RB: I loved that exact same thing! I’m not from California, but my friend who’s from California used to go every year. They were so excited, they’re like “They’re making a movie about The Rose Parade?” It means a lot to a big group of people, not only those who sit in the stands but those who watch it every year on TV.
CGM: I’ve heard that the movie’s float, it’s very similar to an actual float from The Rose Parade.
RB: It’s identical. They took one from last year, Hallmark was at the Rose Parade, and they picked the City of South Pasadena’s float. We recreated that float because we used footage from the actual parade. So the one we’re building in the warehouse is an exact replica.
The opening of the film is really special. We explore all the different parades, and so you see all the old, black and white footage from earlier parades. That really brought it home for me, to know how long The Rose Parade has been going on and how many people have been involved over the years.
CGM: I’m betting that you get to handle a lot of flowers in this film. What were some of the flowers that you got to work with?
RB: There were buckets of roses, I mean buckets, that came in towards the end of shooting. The roses come in on the last three days, the same as when the real floats are being made for the parade. It was the same schedule, and you have to keep the temperature really low so the flowers are healthy. It was incredible to show up to work, and find the warehouse where we were shooting, just covered head-to-toe in flowers.
CGM: Now that you’ve got this little bit of experience in The Rose Parade, do you imagine that you’ll become a part of the tradition?
RB: I’m going this year! The Tournament of Roses invited me to come out with them for the day, so I will be there this year.
And Mark Steines, who hosts The Rose Parade for Hallmark Channel, is in the film as well. He was so much fun to work with. I’ve been on his show being interviewed, for years and years. I adore him. When he came up to film, it was really fun, and we got to improv a lot, and just, we had a really good time.
CGM: It’s fun that you got to turn the tables on him…
RB: I know! Instead of him welcoming me to Home & Family, I got to welcome him to the set!
And we actually shot a few cute stunts with Mark. In the film, he shows up when everything is going completely wrong. I don’t completely know what I’m doing yet, but I’m getting there. I think most people can relate to that, when you’re starting a new endeavor and you’re a little bit over your head, you just gotta keep working.
And when you’re working with stunts, sometimes the stunt doesn’t work, and sometimes it does.
CGM: What is something that you can’t wait for viewers to see?
RB: The romance. It’s really sweet to see. I love exploring a romance that develops in a work environment. You see how someone is under stress, how they treat everyone, how they’re evolving through struggles. And, it’s really fun to have a love story in the midst of the parade.
CGM: Thank you again for your time, Rachel. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
RB: Oh my gosh, of course! Thank you, and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.
A Rose for Christmas > Hallmark Channel > Sunday, Jan. 1 at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT